Iraq’s Commission of Integrity Recovers 1,376 Properties

This picture taken on August 16, 2022 shows a view of a bridge over Tigris river in Iraq's capital Baghdad amidst a dust storm. (AFP)
This picture taken on August 16, 2022 shows a view of a bridge over Tigris river in Iraq's capital Baghdad amidst a dust storm. (AFP)
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Iraq’s Commission of Integrity Recovers 1,376 Properties

This picture taken on August 16, 2022 shows a view of a bridge over Tigris river in Iraq's capital Baghdad amidst a dust storm. (AFP)
This picture taken on August 16, 2022 shows a view of a bridge over Tigris river in Iraq's capital Baghdad amidst a dust storm. (AFP)

The Iraqi Commission of Integrity announced Monday the restoration of 1,376 properties that had been illegally acquired by powerful persons and parties, to state ownership.

The Commission confirmed it is also in the process of recovering another 6,000 properties, pending the response of concerned real estate departments.

There are more than 10,000 state owned properties that the Commission documented as illegally acquired by persons or parties in Iraq.

In a statement, the Commission said its efforts to restore state property and real estate are part of its mission to preserve public funds in accordance with the work of the Diwani Order Committee.

“The Diwani Order Committee is following up with the relevant real estate registration departments to restore 6,000 properties while it is investigating the rest of the properties whose fate is still unknown,” it said.

According to a source familiar with the file, the illegal acquisition of state properties was carried out, in most cases, through gangs and groups supported by influential parties.

The source told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Some state properties are seized by ordinary people who chose to reside in them as in the case of the slums spread in Baghdad and other governorates.”

Also, the source said other state-owned lands and properties were seized by armed factions, which have used them as their headquarters.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Ali Allawi submitted his resignation on Tuesday during a cabinet meeting.

He did not disclose the reason for his decision.

Caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi accepted the resignation.

Some observers believe Allawi’s move is a precursor to his appointment as prime minister to form a new government.

However, economic analysts said his resignation could be linked to his failure to implement the Food Security Law, which was approved by parliament two months ago.

The bill allocates about $17 billion for staple food supplies, gas, electricity and payment of public servant salaries.

The Sadrist bloc, which first approved the law, later withdrew its support.

Allawi had faced difficulties in implementing the law, especially after independent MP Bassem Khashan filed a complaint before the Federal Supreme Court to challenge the bill.



Food Piles Up at Gaza Crossing as Aid Agencies Say Unable to Work

Humanitarian aid for Gaza has piled up at a crucial border crossing - AFP
Humanitarian aid for Gaza has piled up at a crucial border crossing - AFP
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Food Piles Up at Gaza Crossing as Aid Agencies Say Unable to Work

Humanitarian aid for Gaza has piled up at a crucial border crossing - AFP
Humanitarian aid for Gaza has piled up at a crucial border crossing - AFP

Days after Israel announced a daily pause in fighting on a key route to allow more aid into Gaza, chaos in the besieged Palestinian territory has left vital supplies piled up and undistributed in the searing summer heat, AFP reported.

More than eight months of war, sparked by Hamas's unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel, have led to dire humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip and repeated UN warnings of famine.

Desperation among Gaza's 2.4 million population has increased as fighting rages, sparking warnings from agencies that they are unable to deliver aid.

Israel says it has let supplies in and called on agencies to step up deliveries.

"The breakdown of public order and safety is increasingly endangering humanitarian workers and operations in Gaza," the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, said in a briefing late Friday.

"Alongside the fighting, criminal activities and the risk of theft and robbery has effectively prevented humanitarian access to critical locations."

But Israel says it has allowed hundreds of trucks of aid into southern Gaza, trading blame with the United Nations over why the aid is stacking up.

It shared aerial footage of containers lined up on the Gazan side of the Kerem Shalom crossing and more trucks arriving to add to the stockpile.

With civil order breaking down in Gaza, the UN says it has been unable to pick up any supplies from Kerem Shalom since Tuesday, leaving crucial aid in limbo.

A deputy UN spokesman this week said the crossing "is operating with limited functionality, including because of fighting in the area".

William Schomburg, International Committee of the Red Cross chief in Rafah, said arranging lorries from the Egyptian side in particular was complicated.

"It's not just a question of civil order, but also the fact that you often have to cross battlefields," he said in an online briefing, adding that the area near Kerem Shalom had been hostile.

"There were even rockets fired nearby. So this whole area is particularly complicated to navigate for reasons linked to the hostilities and for reasons linked to general security."

Israel's coordinator for civilian affairs in the Palestinian territories, known as COGAT, said Thursday "the content of 1,200 aid trucks awaits collection by UN aid agencies", saying a lack of distribution was responsible.

Earlier in the week, COGAT spokesman Shimon Freedman told reporters at the crossing the daily pause on a southern road into Gaza was designed to allow the UN "to collect and distribute more aid" alongside an Israeli military presence.

He said most of the aid had not moved because "organizations have not taken sufficient steps to improve their distribution capacity".

Aid agencies have instead pointed to Israel's offensive on the southern city of Rafah, which pushed out more than a million people and closed a border crossing with Egypt, as a deepening humanitarian crisis hampered relief efforts.

Schomburg described Rafah City as a "ghost town".

"It is a ghost town in the sense that you see very few people, high levels of destruction, and really just another symbol of the unfolding tragedy that has become Gaza over the last nine months," he said.

The UN food agency has said its aid convoys have been looted inside Gaza by "desperate people".

As both sides stall, it is the civilians in Gaza who are paying the price.

"We don't see any aid. Everything we get to eat comes from our own money and it's all very expensive," said Umm Mohammad Zamlat, 66, from northern Gaza but now living in Khan Yunis in the south.

"Even agencies specialized in aid deliveries are not able to provide anything to us," she added.