Congress had the opportunity to do the right thing again

A mere 20 years late, Congress almost did the right thing today.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed bipartisan legislation on Wednesday to repeal the Iraq and Gulf War military force authorizations, which are still in effect years after the conflicts ended.

The bill, sponsored by Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.), passed on a 13-8 vote in the committee.

Kaine said the 1991 Gulf War authorization and the 2002 Iraq War authorization are decades behind the U.S., but they remain on the books and can technically be misused by a sitting president.

It may sound like Congress did the right thing, but the House quickly ended that.

Ahead of a Wednesday vote on his resolution to force congressional oversight on the continuation of U.S. military operations in Syria, Rep. Matt Gaetz Fla. was feeling bullish. “Hope springs eternal,” he told The Intercept when asked whether the measure would pass. The resolution was ultimately voted down on Wednesday night with 47 Republicans joining 56 Democrats in support of the bill. Despite the revolution’s defeat, it was just the beginning in a string of efforts to end U.S. military operations abroad, according to its sponsor.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon promises to never leave Iraq.
At the same time, our sanctions on Iran have caused Iraq a huge problem.

Iraq has worsened its financial crisis and contributed to its currency depreciating by paying its debts to Iran in Iraqi dinars, Iraqi officials told Middle East Eye.

Iraq’s currency has been struggling for months against the dollar since new restrictions were imposed by the US Federal Reserve on how the country's central bank trades the dollars it receives from oil sales.
The subsequent liquidity crisis has meant the government is failing to pay the salaries of millions of public servants, as well as pensions and payments to other beneficiaries of social welfare programmes.

Iraq has been one of the largest importers of Iranian goods over the last two decades, in particular gas, electricity, food, and construction materials.

Official trade exchange between the countries amounts to approximately $14bn.
Because of US sanctions imposed on Iran in 2018, Iraq has struggled to pay Iran for its purchases from 2019-2021.
Yet Iran was nonetheless able to turn these dinars into dollars - which are far more useful - using a currency auction the Central Bank of Iraq holds daily to convert the dollars it received from oil sales.

But since November, the US Federal Reserve, which holds the money Iraq makes from oil sales and delivers it to Baghdad by request, has imposed restrictions aimed at stopping Iran from accessing these dollars and combatting money laundering.

Because of the sanctions, Iraq has not bee able to trade dinars to dollars. This caused the dinar to fall drmatically. Suddenly Iraq was broke because Washington forces Iraq's central bank to hold their currency reserves at the Federal Reserve.
Now Iraq wants to trade oil for Yuan. I don't think the U.S. is going to allow that.

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Sima's picture

I didn't realize Congress had almost done the right thing. Maybe next time, they will do the right thing! I don't understand how our federal reserve can keep Iraq's money. How vile is that?

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These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
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