Saturday, June 10, 2023


An international tribunal has found Iraq’s central bank was to blame for a contractual dispute with an engineering firm that led to the jailing of Australian engineer Robert Pether, prompting his family to make a renewed plea that he be freed from the Baghdad prison cell where he has spent two years.

Pether and his colleague Khalid Radwan were arrested and jailed in 2021 over a contractual dispute between their employer, Cardno ME (CME), and the Central Bank of Iraq, which had hired the firm to help build its new Baghdad headquarters.

[. . .]

A recently published decision reveals the contractual dispute at the heart of their arrest was taken to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)’s International Court of Arbitration, which ruled in February in favour of CME. The decision found the bank was in breach of its contract with CME and ordered that it pay the engineering firm US$13m, which covers the outstanding invoices, compensation, legal costs, and the release of a performance bond provided by CME.

The decision has only just been made public.

The above is from Christopher Knaus' "Iraq’s central bank to blame for dispute behind jailing of Australian Robert Pether, tribunal finds" (GUARDIAN).  Robert Pether has been held since 2021 but, hey, do another 'news' post on Roger Waters.

I've got nothing against entertainment news.  I just don't see the news value in tired Roger Waters and his now deleted Tweet/interview/Germany won't let him perform/Germany let him perform but now they're saying he did something Nazi on stage/Brazil will have the cops at his concert/blah blah blah.  It's interesting, isn't it, how it's always White people that are left and 'left' choose to elevate.  

A Tweet got deleted! An interview with a White person!  This is the end of the world!  Oh! Oh!


Give me a break.  In fact, "Gimmie A Break."

Give me a damn break.

The Roger Water obsession?  It goes straight to the crap of the whiners who hiss "Identity Politics!"  They could be noting anything in the world but it's a White guy and they're a White world.  And they wonder why they aren't received by communities of color.


Again, priorities.  

In other news, Radwan Mortada (THE CRADLE) writes:

Adil Abdul-Mahdi, prime minister of Iraq from October 2018 to May 2020, emerged as a significant figure during one of the most tumultuous periods in the country’s recent history.

Caught between navigating relations with Washington and Tehran, and a worsening economic crisis, he ultimately resigned in the face of popular protests and the state’s violent crackdown.

In a rare media interview with The Cradle, Abdul-Mahdi candidly discloses details of those harrowing days and the foreign interests – particularly American and British – that played a hand in the chaos, terrorism, sectarianism, and economic dependencies that continue to beset Iraq today.

Abdul-Mahdi reveals the attempts of US President Donald Trump’s administration to create a new reality in Iraq, unlike its predecessors, to further destabilize Iraq by turning it into a base against Iran and tightening the sanctions noose on Baghdad.

The western anti-ISIS coalition, he says, only aimed to strike a balance between the terror group and those fighting against them under the guise of ‘counter terrorism’ – so that there would be no clear winner.

His downfall was not so much the 2019 October Revolution that led to his resignation, but his refusal to take hostile stances against Iran and the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) that defeated ISIS. The US did not like these positions, and Abdul-Mahdi enumerates a series of situations in which he came head to head with Washington, and reveals the role of Qassem Soleimani in Iraq’s victory against terrorism.

Here's an except:


The Cradle: Where did this all start? What is your assessment of Paul Bremer’s leadership as the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, where he was effectively Iraq’s de facto head of state? To what extent is Iraq still grappling with the consequences of his actions during that period?

Abdul-Mahdi: Bremer represents the pinnacle of American arrogance. When White House Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad organized the first meeting of Iraqi leaders after the ouster of Saddam Hussein’s regime, he assured the delegates that the US has absolutely no interest in ruling Iraq, and an agreement was reached with the Iraqi opposition parties to form a transitional government.

Bremer halted this process. During his first meeting with Iraqi leaders to present Washington’s expectations of the civil administration he would lead, he addressed everyone, saying:

“We only need you as advisors. We will build the state, and your role is to help us.”

All those present, Massed Barzani, Jalal Talabani, Ahmad Chalabi, Ayad Allawi, and us, considered this as an unacceptable foreign occupation. However, Bremer imposed his opinion by force and began issuing legislation and laws called Bremer’s decisions – all in all, 111 pieces of Iraqi legislation that still affect the Central Bank, ministries, and others.

Bremer was very arrogant and believed that he was able to subjugate the country, and he wanted to impose a system of elite elections as in the US, and not general elections for all the Iraqi people. However, Ayatollah Ali Sistani refused and insisted that writing the constitution be left to Iraqis voted in through an elected national assembly.

The Cradle: What led to the outbreak of sectarian conflicts in Iraq, and was the US involved in them?

Abdul-Mahdi: Of course the Americans were involved. The US prefers to weaken everyone in order to control them. Speaking of sectarian war, we must go back to those who sparked sectarian strife in the beginning.

Al-Qaeda started the slaughter in Afghanistan before Iraq. The first major assassination targeted Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim in 2003, and this has significant meaning. The Iraqi sectarian war did not break out because the Shia gained more political clout in the state, but rather because there was a group that rejected this new reality and was materially and directly supported by foreign powers – American, British, and others.

They began to establish armed groups in the western regions, while the Americans were preventing the formation of popular committees in other regions under the pretext that they would turn into militias.

The Cradle: Do you have information about an American role in supporting Al-Qaeda in Iraq?

Abdul-Mahdi: I will not give a simple answer. Before 2011, the international coalition, including the Americans, fought against terrorism. But eradicating this terrorism completely was not on their agenda.

This is happening today in Syria, for example, where we see sometimes the Americans targeting leaders in Al-Qaeda and ISIS, but without any effort to eliminate these organizations completely, and thus they establish a kind of balance between the terrorists and their enemies. This is evident in Syria and elsewhere.

Meanwhile in budget news, RUDAW reports:

An agreement has been reached over a controversial paragraph in the federal budget bill that relates to the Kurdistan Region, the head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) delegation in Baghdad said on Saturday.

The Iraqi parliament has been convening since Thursday to vote on the bill, but disputes over items related to the Kurdistan Region have caused delays. Six articles were passed on Thursday and another 18 in a Friday night session that extended into early Saturday morning.

“An agreement has been reached over paragraph seven of Article 14,” Fuad Hussein, head of the KDP delegation said. He did not specify details of the agreement, but added that he believes the remaining issues related to the Kurdistan Region will also be resolved on Saturday.

The following sites updated: