January 3rd 2015.
The Amnesty law is important in Iraq because it will appease the Sunnis. Since Abadi has been the prime minister, he’s been working hard to right the wrongs committed against the Kurds. That is very good for our investment in the Dinar because it will lead to the implementation of the Oil & Gas Law (HCL); however, the Sunnis are still waiting.
Many Sunnis were illegally imprisoned and to this day, over 100,000 prisoners remain in jail without the chance for a trial and without having been charged with any crimes. The Amnesty Law was part of the reconciliation process. On March 27, 2008, the Presidential Council ratified it, making it official. The Sunni Iraqi Accordance Front and the Sadrists were the main supporters of the act because up to 80% of those detained are Sunnis, and the Sadrists have faced a wave of arrests by government forces. Maliki was using the ‘De-baathification Law”, which I’ll explain next, to arrest Sunnis as if they were members of the Baathist party.
On July 22, 2008, Baghdad announced that 109,087 people had been pardoned under the Amnesty Law. There was no breakdown given, but some specifics were publicized in June and May. On June 29, 2008 the Voices of Iraq reported that the courts had released 13,199 people that had been found guilty but not sentenced, and 46,371 had been given bail. An additional 33,273 had been pardoned that were wanted, but had never been captured. In May, Iraq had pardoned a total of 55,053 people. 5,636 were convicted criminals, 24,472 were given bail, 11,476 were being held awaiting trial, and13,469 were wanted persons that had not been arrested. The government said it wanted to provide job training for those released to keep them out of trouble.
The Amnesty Law will allow people who have been imprisoned without charges and without a trial to be released. The law is careful to exclude those accused of being involved in violent crimes. This is where there is controversy, those who want to keep the Sunnis in jail use this as a reason to prevent the Amnesty Law from being fully implemented, since there is a chance that some of the violent suspects will be released.
The Baathist party had some individuals that were involved in acts of terrorism. It became so prevalent in Iraq that anyone affiliated with a Baathist was considered a terrorist and around the beginning of the war, a law was passed to eliminate people of this political party from every aspect of government and society. It was of course very controversial, how can someone be penalized for his political association?
In any case, Maliki and the former government were using this law to wrongfully imprison as many Sunnis as they possibly could. The protests that began in December of 2012 and carried through most of 2013 were centered around the repeal of the De-baathification Law and the full implementation of the Amnesty Law. We are all still waiting for this and it appears as if the current government is working hard to achieve these ends; however, it must first resolve all matters concerning the budget of 2015 and the HCL (Kurds). The situation does look very promising in the immediate term.
Article 140 is a constitutional provision, already a law, that establishes the rights of the Kurdish people over certain areas of land and oil rights within Iraq, specifically the Kirkuk region. It does not need to be voted into law since it’s already a law; however, the rights specified in this law involve the disbursement of oil revenues and these matters can only be settled under the budget provisions and the Oil & Gas Law. Once you see the 2015 Budget and Oil & Gas Laws implemented, that is, first and second readings in Parliament, then voted into law, and published in the Gazette, you will know that the Article 140 is also resolved.
I’ve heard people ask “how are they going to pay for the currency exchange”, or “who is going to pay for it”. This question is based on an incorrect premise. No one has the burden of paying for the revalued currency exchange, because… it’s an exchange! The actual currency involved is already in the system. Remember that less than ten percent of all currency is in paper form, most is nothing but data in a computer. Just because you think it’s a lot of money doesn’t mean that it’s too much or that some group, nation or counter party has to pay something so the exchange can take place.
What if we use this analogy: What if everyone took all his $100 bills in to the banks to exchange them for $1 bills? Who would pay for that? No one, it’s an exchange.
Remember that the money was already in Iraq, it was sequestered by the United States and the IMF. The same volume of money is still there, and will still be there as it was before, it’s just that the value will have been returned, and as it happens, there will be more foreign holders of the currency than before, no big deal.
How do we know that the banks will not have toll free numbers for the currency exchange? Banks don’t operate that way. Have you ever called a bank, even as an account holder, and discussed any type of transaction without the bank employee telling you to come into the bank and discuss it? Why would the banks set up toll free numbers, or even use their existing numbers in this way when this is not how they do business? The reason why this information is promoted in the Dinar community is to create a following of people, so you will want to be included in the group and have access to the toll free numbers. The claim plays upon your fear of loss so that you’ll join a group. The same is true for the false claim that there will be different tiers of levels of exchange rates and you’ve have to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Remember that we are already part of a group by default, it’s known as the association of Dinar holders/investors. There are no other groups, and even with this in mind, the banks do not consider any sort of groups. The banks only see a demographic or type of customer with which they can provide services at a profit. It’s not more special than that.
There will be no different levels of exchange rates and banks will not require you to sign non-disclosure agreements regarding your arrangements simply because they are not enforceable and appear as a liability on the accounting records of the banks. The banks and your relationship with them are already governed by Title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations and your account policy. If some non-bank individual tells you that you have to sign a non-disclosure agreement or represents that some bank is requiring it and that he or she has a special relationship with the bank that requires you to sign such an agreement, run in the other direction. Don’t do it.
Some of these same people are claiming that groups of people have been exchanging their Dinar for dollars at higher rates than published at the CBI’s website. This is a lie. No one is doing this, no one is getting special treatment.
Another question I heard recently was how can Iraq adopt a budget when it has no money? Countries do not operate like households; countries need a budget so that they can have money, not the other way around. Most consumers have a tendency to view what’s happening with a country in terms of how we normally live as individuals. Countries operate with debt money and the only way a country can create cash flow is by going into debt. It’s ability to go into debt depends upon what its population can produce and it’s ability to recover natural resources. This allows a country to create a budget and based upon these numbers, counter parties will then be able to purchase bonds, bills and other obligations and the banking system will then be able to provide the liquidity needed to begin disbursing money.
Iraq needs it’s budget to be voted into law so that it can then derive the money needed to fulfill the terms of the budget. As it happens, the Oil & Gas Law is an integral part of the budget because it establishes the rights and liabilities of all the money from the nation’s oil and gas proceeds. The Central Bank of Iraq needs the 2015 Budget and the HCL laws in place so that the cash flow in and out of the country can be viewed in a stable environment. There will be no revaluation until the budget and HCL are implemented. What’s even better news is that the current budget has not even considered the several new oil wells and the recently discovered gold. These probably will not be included in the accounting until the next two budgets.
Both the IMF and the Central Bank of Iraq have a plan to revalue the currency in Iraq, we know this; however, some people mistakenly believe that the currency will be left in a “free float”. The people promoting these ideas are over-thinking the matter and not reading the articles. A free float creates too much volatility. The published plan, which has not ever been altered, requires a managed float, just like is currently in place for every other modern economy in the world (except Russia temporarily). The Dinar’s managed float will be adjusted within 2% every 90 days for the first two years after the revaluation. There will be no “free float”, just like there is no such thing as “an emergency RV” to get Iraq some capital. These ideas oppose the very fundamentals of economics and how banks manage their business to make a profit.
Musings on Iraq: http://musingsoniraq.blogspot.com/2008/07/iraqs-amnesty-law.html
Baath Party: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ba%27ath_Party
Iraqi president calls for repeal of de-Baathification laws, November 2014: