Saturday, 29 August 2009

Still more past lessons need to consider

It sounds that the Iraqi Oil Minister, Hussain al-Shahristani has learned from the lessons of his disappointed 1st bidding round and decided to make his 2nd bidding round a success.

Expert Ruba Husari, who runs Iraq Oil Forum called last Tuesday road show presentation in Istanbul for the ten oil projects on offer "impressive" and predicted that the process would be a "straightforward piece of work."

As usual, Husari is ahead of other news agencies in revealing the contents of the offered contracts and other details of the process. One of these things is that the Oil Ministry is now giving the International Oil Companies the right to fully operate the fields.

Another change in the offered contract, which aims at alleviating domestic worries, is to add a clause states that in case of conflict it's the Arabic version of the contract that prevails not the English one, Husari added.

Despite that such changes, and probably many others, in the way of thinking is crucial to win the 2nd bidding round but other changes in the mentality of dealing with the domestic audience is also badly needed.

The Oil Ministry needs to successfully marketing the plans domestically to have the public opinion support and this also needs to learn from previous lessons when oil officials didn't pay attention to that point and then the opponents managed to mess the stage.

The officials need to adopt a new media strategy such as going on public from time to time in foreign and local media outlets and not only talking about the plans when they travel abroad. They need to hold weekly press conferences or round tables or issue statements on the latest developments.

They need also to cooperate with non-governmental organizations that deal with economic issues or universities to organize seminars and meetings on this bidding round. They need to invite proposals from experts whether inside or outside Iraq.

The coming bidding round will be in the core of the January’s elections campaigning and that winning the pubic hearts is vital to be a success.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Savvy, hypocrite or man of controversies?

What the State-run Al-Iraqiya TV reported today prompted me to write again.

It said that Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, met Saturday night in his office in Bagdhad's fortified Green Zone with a "delegation" from a prominent Shiite militant group which is backed by Iran and known of its atrocities against civilians and brazen and sophisticated attacks against Iraqi and occupation forces.

Yes, it is Asaib Ahl al-Haq group, or League of the Righteous, who broke away from anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia and started to work on its own with money, weapons, training and everything from Iran.

Their acts ranged from sectarian killings to kidnappings and blackmailing to leading daring and sophisticated attacks such as the killing of five U.S. soldiers in an inroad on a local government headquarters in Karbala province on Jan. 2007 and the May 2007 kidnapping of five Britons from inside the Finance Ministry in Baghdad.

Two of the Brits are confirmed dead, two others are believed to be dead and the fifth one is believed still alive.

Of course all these acts were considered by the government, top of it al-Maliki himself, and other politicians as terrorism and the group's members were considered as enemies to the democracy and stability of the the "New Iraq."

Al-Iraqiya said that both sides discussed "the support of the political process and the government's efforts in the national reconciliation project." WHAT??? EXCUSE ME!

Then al-Maliki's fabulous spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, told reporters after the meeting: "the delegation of Asaib Ahl al-Haq group announced its support to the political process and dismiss the violence and support of national unity's efforts." WONDERFUL!

And "both sides agreed to solve the pending problems, especially the detainees' file, whom their hands have not been stained with Iraqis' blood and with no criminal evidences against them." HEHEHE...

What a hell this al-Maliki is doing or what kind of a message he wants to send and to who?

He always says that he will not tolerate Saddam Hussein's dissolved Baath party and Sunni militant groups for their killings to innocent Iraqis and now he shakes hands with this group's members who killed hundreds of people.He always appreciates the occupation forces' "sacrifices for liberating Iraq," and even visited the cemetery of U.S. soldiers who are killed in Iraq and now he invites some of their killers to his office.

Is this al-Maliki a savvy politician? or hypocrite? or a man of controversies?