Dr. Mohammad Tamim is an Iraqi politician, born in Kirkuk, in a northern city in Iraq. He studied law and obtained a doctorate in it. He headed the University of Kirkuk in 2003. He completed his postgraduate studies in the field of history as well and obtained a doctorate in modern and contemporary history. He has many contributions among the literature, he held the position of Minister of Education in Iraq during the era of the government of Nuri al-Maliki, won votes that enabled him to stay for several sessions in the Iraqi parliament, and he is still currently a deputy in the Iraqi parliament and a member of the Parliamentary Finance Committee.
G-FOCUS: Honourable Representative, Greetings. How do you assess the political situation after the October 2021 elections, and what is your vision regarding the formation of the next Iraqi government?
Dr. Mohammad TAMIM: There is still a political blockage and problems, also we do not see a solution soon, due to the failure to achieve the two-thirds majority required to elect a president of the republic, who in turn assigns a prime minister to form a government. This summer without a government, we may witness the birth of a new government next fall, and there will be no government without an agreement or a comfortable two-thirds majority to elect a President of the Republic who will designate a new prime minister.
G-FOCUS: What is the impact of the relationship between the Baghdad and Kurdistan govern-ments during the war on ISIS?
Dr. Mohammad TAMIM: ISIS is an enemy, an international terrorist organization, and an enemy of humanity and all the rules of human behavior. Therefore, there was great cooperation between the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government on the one hand, and with the international coalition in fighting ISIS and ending its alleged state on the other. This cooperation quickly yielded positive results. Ending and resolving the battles, as well as addressing the humanitarian file about housing the displaced and quickly responding to their requirements, for this was a positive role in fact and a wonderful and successful experience in this field.
G-FOCUS: In the context of foreign relations, what is the status of relations between Iraq and the European Union, and what are the results of the partnership and cooperation agreement signed between the two sides in 2012?
Dr. Mohammad TAMIM: The Iraqi-European relationship is very good at the diplo-matic and political levels, but when this agreement was signed in 2012, we were hoping for European companies and investors to have a real presence in Iraq, but in reality at this moment, the European Private companies, especially small and medium-sized companies, have fears of entering the Iraqi markets, because of what is being promoted through the media about problems in Iraq. I say that the European investors should visit Iraq and assess the situation directly.
Also, except for oil and infrastructure companies that have a desire to work in Iraq, medium companies and major international agencies in areas such as cars, power stations, communications, technology, and others do not exist in Iraq, although the Iraqi market is very fertile for the development of these sectors, in addition to the presence of great investment opportunities, We need capital in the mining sector, such as silicon, phosphate, glass, and others, we do not find a tendency from the European private business sector to enter the Iraqi market.
Therefore, we repeat our invitation to European businessmen and investors to visit Iraq and directly see the situation in it and activate the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and Iraq signed in 2012.
G-FOCUS: What effects of the Ukraine war on Iraq?
Dr. Mohammad TAMIM: The effects of the war in Ukraine are global, and Iraq is affected by that war as well. especially since Iraq is one of the countries that may suffer from the food problem due to the impact on the production and export of wheat within the repercussions of the war in Ukraine, although Iraq is close to producing 60-65% of its local need of wheat this year 2022, and it is possible to reduce the impact of this crisis on Iraq if the rationing bread will accord to our local need, not according to the traditional people of consumption the bread as “hot bread”, which includes waste and large expenditures for bread, as the Iraqis deal with bread “hot.” That is, it came out of the oven moments ago, and when there is an excess of what is needed, 70-80% of Iraqi families get rid of the excess quantities and bring in new ones.
Iraq’s local need for wheat reaches four million four hundred thousand tons annually, and it is expected that during the year 2022, Iraq’s production of wheat will reach 3 million tons annually, which is a good proportion to meet part of the Iraqi market need, and if we can follow a policy and behavior correctly rationing and managing the matter well, Iraq will be less affected by the course of the war in Ukraine in this regard than other countries.
G-FOCUS: A lot of Arab countries try to produce neutrality of policy in front of the conflict between Russia and the Occident. How do you see Iraqi foreign policy in this context?
Dr. Mohammad TAMIM: Iraq has declared its position clearly and explicitly, which is its commitment to a policy of neutrality regarding the international tensions resulting from the war in Ukraine. Iraq does not want to be a negative party in this conflict or to join one party at the expense of another.
Iraq chose to be part of the neutrality team and did not vote in the United Nations General Assembly in favor of a resolution condemning Russia and made reservations on the resolution. It did not vote yes or no, but rather adopted a conservative position with a few countries that had announced a conservative position on the condemnation resolution, in contrast to many one of the Arab countries that were with the American draft resolution. The war, as you know, will not have a winner, and we hope to see a quick end and a solution to the problem of the Russian-Ukrainian war.
G-FOCUS: What are the expected effects of the global energy crisis on Iraq’s production and export of oil to the countries of the world, and European countries?
Dr. Mohammad TAMIM: Although war is a bad thing and we hope to bring peace to the whole world, Iraq has suffered for many decades from the scourge of repeated wars, and we know very well what war means and its woes on people, but in the economic context of the repercussions of the war in Ukraine, a positive impact has emerged for Iraq and the rest oil and energy producing and exporting countries is represented by an increase in oil prices.
As you know that the continuation of the war and its repercussions is reflected in the costs of energy production, the cost of energy production has increased by 20% and this is reflected in all other sectors, especially as we approach the winter season, in which energy consumption rises more than summer, and in my estimation that if the war continues, we will witness a new jump in prices as we approach the next winter, so we hope and hope that this war will end as soon as possible so that its repercussions do not affect the simple person.
G-FOCUS: Can the economic relationship between Iraq and China contribute to supporting the balance between the major international powers and bringing stability to Iraq?
Dr. Mohammad TAMIM: China is a strong global economy and a large, there is hardly a house in the world where there is no Chinese commodity, and even major European, American, and Asian companies have factories and production branches in China, so the Chinese economy and the Chinese experience deserve study and reflection.
Iraq’s relationship with China is good and distinctive, and politicians in Iraq appreciate that the relationship with China can create multiple opportunities for developing the Iraqi economy and benefiting from Chinese expertise and Chinese investors, as the Iraqi investment law is clear and important, but as I told you earlier, European investors did not enter strongly to the Iraqi markets, unlike the Chinese investors who entered Iraq and began studying the needs of the Iraqi market to meet its requirements, and we hope and hope that everyone, whether Europeans, Americans or Chinese, will be present to work on investment projects that Iraq needs to build its economic capabilities.
G-FOCUS: Thank you very much, Honourable Representative, for accepting this interview for G-FOCUS international and GeoPolitica Magazine.
Dr. Mohammad TAMIM: Thank you.