Weekly Regional Brief
Iraq’s First Parliamentary Session
On Sunday, January 9, Iraq’s parliament held its first session since October’s elections. After the acting parliamentary speaker Mahmoud al-Mashahadani was hospitalized, parliament voted to elect Mohammed al-Halbousi as Iraq’s official speaker. In the next 30 days, parliament will elect Iraq’s president and the largest political bloc will create a government. However, disputes regarding which parliamentary bloc maintains majority may complicate future government formation.
Ongoing: Saudi Air Defense
Saudi Arabia is in danger of entirely running out of interceptor missiles over the next few months. As a result, the Saudi government “has appealed to the United States and its allies in Europe and the Gulf for resupplies of ammunition it uses to defend the kingdom against drone and missile attacks.”
Ongoing: Political Crisis in Sudan
In light of October’s military coup and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s recent resignation, the United Nations plans to “hold talks in Sudan aimed at salvaging a fragile democratic transition amid a grinding deadlock.” Players from government and non-government groups alike will be invited to participate in the discussion. However, the talks are not yet scheduled.
Arabic Sources from the Region
Today, the United States and Jordan signed two agreements aiming to increase aid and development help to the kingdom. The agreements were valued at $597 million U.S. dollars. According to the Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, the aid forms part of the American Economic Assistance Program for the Jordanian government, which started in 2021 and is worth $1.2 billion U.S. dollars. In the first agreement, the American government will transfer the second direct cash installment to the treasury, valuing $245 million. The final installment of the annual direct cash support to Jordan is worth $845 million. Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Naser al-Shareda, says the support will fund development projects such as water security, education, and health. The second agreement, the Development Assistance Agreement maps out how USAID will work with the Jordanian government and the private sector will spend $352 million directly stimulating economic recovery. USAID director Sherry Carlin states that the agreement will help bolster Jordanian economic stability. The agreement indicates that the financial assistance from the United States raised the Jordanian budget 370.2% to 555.5 million dinars, or $783.2.
This article was published by al-Akhbar (literally “the news”), a Lebanese news site, founded in Beirut. The newspaper was first published in 2015.