Political worries realign budget

Iraq’s political leaders have passed a budget that prioritizes social spending and cuts operational and other expenses, after an escalation in pressure from protesters.
Political worries realign budget
An engineer maintains the Zubair oil field in southern Iraq in January, 2010. Iraq’s new budget allocates an additional share of national oil revenues to local governments, part of a push by parliamentarians to answer popular protests demanding improved services from the government. (ESSAM -AL-SUDANI/AFP/Getty Images)

BAGHDAD - Iraq's new budget makes several populist gestures – including a new allocation of oil revenues to all of Iraq’s provinces – apparently prompted by a tide of protests and discontent that has continued to rise across the country.

Money from the 2011 budget, passed Sunday night, was cut from operational and big ticket purchases – including nearly $1 billion in American fighter jets – and funding of both food rations and other social services will be increased, buoyed by an expected uptick in oil exports and price.

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