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By John Lee.

Iraq’s Ministry of Oil has said that total oil exports for November have reached a record high of 4.051 million bpd.

The figure is made up of 3.407 million bpd from the southern oilfields, 64,000 bpd from Kirkuk, and 580,000 bpd exported from fields controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

The Ministry has still not published export figures for October, but Reuters quotes industry sources as saying that exports from the southern terminals were 3.310 million bpd.

(Sources: Ministry of Oil, Reuters)


Iraqi forces are making significant progress in isolating Mosul, as part of efforts to liberate the northern Iraqi city from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the Defense Department’s press operations chief told reporters at the Pentagon yesterday.

Iraqi forces have been approaching the city from the east, the southeast and the north, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said, noting forces from two axes have already entered Mosul.

“The third, the northern axis, they’re now … essentially on the doorstep of Mosul city as well,” he said. “So you’ll see very soon here there will be three axes that are now inside of Mosul proper.”

Additionally, a group largely made up of Popular Mobilization Forces, along with Iraqi security forces, have retaken Tal Afar airfield. The forces have cut off a highway west of Tal Afar, Highway 47, the main artery connecting Mosul and Tal Afar all the way to Syria, Davis explained.

“This is significant,” he said. “This essentially means now that Mosul, everything east of this point, is isolated.”

Previously, there was free communication along Highway 1 and Highway 47 to connect Mosul with the rest of ISIL-controlled areas in Syria, according to Davis.

Other progress, he said, includes the coalition disabling four of the five bridges connecting east and west Mosul.

Targeting Bridges

The targeting of the bridges was to cut off the flow of fresh fighters from the east into the west and stem the flow of car bombs, which were a problem for Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service forces as they came into eastern Mosul, Davis said.

The liberation of the city will take time, he noted.

“We have said all along this was going to be a very hard fight,” he said, explaining urban warfare requires a slow, methodical approach. “It’s not going to happen quickly,” he said.

ISIL casualties in Mosul have been significant, Davis said, adding, “They have lost many of their best fighters in eastern Mosul.”

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

Activists, NGOs and community leaders brainstorm in Sulaimaniyah on promoting social cohesion

As part of the United Nations Development Programme’s commitment to support social cohesion in Iraq, a three-day workshop has been organized on 25-27 November 2016 in Sulaimaniyah, in partnership with King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID).

The workshop targeted over 30 activists, representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and community leaders from different governorates across Iraq.

Terminologies relevant to social cohesion, such as bias, prejudice and discrimination, have been introduced and clarified. Participants have reflected on and exchanged experiences about their communities, as well as the challenges they face and potential opportunities for promoting social cohesion.

Ms. Farah Salem, one of the participants from Baghdad, said:

“I have suffered in recent years from lack of social cohesion in the Iraqi society because of the situation in the country. The stories I have heard from participants motivated me, and the many activities touched our minds with bright ideas.

“I have been motivated to convey my experience in the workshop and my personal experience to my students and young women. I wish if I could build a rehabilitation centre at each school to clarify the meaning and the importance of social cohesion.”

UNDP’s Social Cohesion Project Manager, Mr. Dhafer Hasan, said:

“The participants were very committed to share and listen to each other. The trainer helped them to dig deeper into their personal experiences to discover more about themselves and their communities.”

The workshop has concluded with the participants’ presentations on future promotion and advocacy activities they had designed during the proceedings.

Trainer, Ms. Justine Abi Saad, flagged one of Hamlet’s quotes ‘There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so,’ stressing:

“This is the spirit we want to instill amongst the participants. Each one of us has a different perspective, different views and beliefs; all we need is a set of skills and attitude to deal with differences, diversity and conflicts in order to have a social cohesion.”

During 2017, UNDP will continue targeting activists in this field and encouraging them to adopt creative approaches and activities to promote social cohesion.

(Source: UNDP in Iraq)

By Shelly Kittleson for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Damaged aircraft hangars and twisted metal are scattered across Tal Afar airport, to the south of the city, and tunnels have been dug in several locations. Graffiti praising the Islamic State (IS) and posters of martyrs and Shiite religious figures are plastered on the walls of the airport buildings.

On Nov. 16, the mostly Shiite Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) took the destroyed air base from IS and pushed on to seal off Mosul, meeting up with the peshmerga forces on the northern axis on Nov. 23 and agreeing to coordinate with them on that front.

In the areas west and southwest of Mosul, the PMUs are the only active Iraqi force. According to Abu Taha al-Nasseri, the division commander, the battle took six hours and resulted in only three deaths among PMU fighters, despite the vast destruction at the airport.

Nasseri told Al-Monitor during a visit Nov. 20 that 15 enemy fighters had also been killed and that no air support had been provided by the international coalition. Incoming fire from IS-held territory continued while Al-Monitor was there.

In the preceding weeks, Al-Monitor had had the chance to visit some of the PMUs near the front lines as they progressed northward.

During an Oct. 31 briefing to a small group of reporters near the front line in Zargah, southwest of Mosul and 342 kilometers (212 miles) northwest of Baghdad, Badr Organization chief Hadi al-Amiri said that he “thanked God” that they had not received any air support from the Americans. “We had enough with the invasion of Iraq [in 2003].”

The Badr Organization was originally founded in 1983 and operated in exile in Iran until the regime of Saddam Hussein was ousted in 2003. During that time, it received funding and training from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

From AFP. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Abdelwahed Mahmud dug gullies around his tent in northern Iraq Thursday after heavy overnight rain flooded Khazir camp, the latest hardship to hit the thousands of families displaced around Mosul:

KRG Minister Falah Mustafa today received a joint UK-Canada delegation headed by Ms. Crystal Procyshen, Chargé d’affaires of Canada in Iraq, to discuss women issues.

Ms. Procyshen stated that this visit was a fact-finding mission, which should provide them with a better understanding of the situation of women and their needs in specific areas in the Kurdistan Region.

Minister Mustafa welcomed the initiative, saying:

“The Kurdistan Regional Government believes gender equality and women empowerment and protection are critical to our shared goals of prosperity, stability and peace, and that investing in women is critical in building a more prosperous future for our people.”

Both sides also discussed the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 Action plan and the recommendation of the Universal Periodic Reviews in order to further promote women issues in the region.

(Source: KRG)

A total of 2,885 Iraqis were killed and another 1,380 were injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in November 2016*, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

The number of civilians killed in November was 926 (including 07 federal police, Sahwa civil defence, Personal Security Details, facilities protection police, fire department), and the number of civilians injured was 930 (including 18 federal police, Sahwa civil defence, Personal Security Details, facilities protection police, fire department). Fifty-two foreign civilians were killed and 31 injured in November.

A total of 1,959 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (including police engaged in combat functions, Peshmerga, SWAT and militias fighting alongside the Iraqi Army, not including Anbar Operations) were killed and 450 were injured (not including casualties from Anbar).

Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate with 733 civilian casualties (152 killed, 581 injured). Ninewa 332 killed and 114 injured, Salahadin 60 killed and 88 injured, Babil, 56 killed and 23 injured, and Kirkuk 18 killed and 17 injured.

According to information obtained by UNAMI from the Health Directorate in Anbar, the Governorate suffered a total of 390 civilian casualties (292 killed and 98 injured). Figures are updated until 27 November, inclusive.

“The casualty figures are staggering, with civilians accounting for a significant number of the victims,” Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG) Ján Kubiš said. “In its desperate attempt to cling on to territory it controls in Mosul and Ninewa areas Daesh has been employing the most vicious tactics, using civilian homes as firing positions as well as abducting and forcibly moving civilians, effectively using them as human shields.”

The SRSG noted that the Iraqi security forces have declared they are making utmost efforts during their Mosul military operations to avoid putting civilians in harm’s way despite Daesh’s continuous tactics to the contrary, often taking additional casualties among the security forces as a result. Mr. Kubiš urged that all necessary actions necessary must be undertaken to ensure the protection of the civilian inhabitants from the effects of armed conflict and violence.

*CAVEATS: In general, UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in conflict areas. Figures for casualties from Anbar Governorate are provided by the Health Directorate and are noted above. Casualty figures obtained from the Anbar Health Directorate might not fully reflect the real number of casualties in those areas due to the increased volatility of the situation on the ground and the disruption of services. In some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. UNAMI has also received, without being able to verify, reports of large numbers of casualties along with unknown numbers of persons who have died from secondary effects of violence after having fled their homes due to exposure to the elements, lack of water, food, medicines and health care. Since the start of the military operations to retake Mosul and other areas in Ninewa, UNAMI has received several reports of incidents involving civilian casualties, which at times it has been unable to verify. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum.

(Source: United Nations News Centre)

U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq on Wednesday, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported yesterday.

Officials reported details of yesterday’s strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Strikes in Syria

Attack aircraft and rocket artillery conducted two strikes in Syria:

  • Near Abu Kamal, a strike destroyed two oil pumpjacks.
  • Near Raqqah, a strike engaged an ISIL headquarters building.

Strikes in Iraq

Attack, bomber aircraft and rocket artillery conducted three strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

  • Near Mosul, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit, destroying four ISIL-held buildings, two vehicles, a vehicle bomb, a mortar system, and a rocket-propelled grenade. A bridge was disabled, and an ISIL tactical unit, a mortar system and a heavy machine gun were suppressed.
  • Near Rawah, two strikes engaged an ISIL vehicle bomb staging area and destroyed a bunker.

Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.

Part of Operation Inherent Resolve

The strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to eliminate the ISIL terrorist group and the threat it poses to Iraq, Syria, the region and the wider international community. The destruction of targets in Syria and Iraq further limits ISIL’s ability to project terror and conduct operations, officials said.

Coalition nations that have conducted strikes in Syria include the United States, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, France, Jordan, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. Coalition nations that have conducted strikes in Iraq include the United States, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Jordan, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

Iraq is seeking to develop a strategic agreement with the United States of America

It revealed the Foreign Ministry, for its pursuit activating the strategic framework agreement with the United States, usually that Iraq needs the Americans to support the reconstruction of liberated areas and stability efforts, while indicated to the Committee on Foreign parliamentary relations welcomed this, stating that the mutual best interest of both Baghdad and Washington.

It is noteworthy that Iraq and the United States signed in November 2008 end, a cooperation agreement called the "strategic framework agreement", in addition to a security agreement stipulates that there should be withdrawal of US forces from all territories and waters and airspace of Iraq, not later than (the 31st of December 2011) , which has already been, while observers perceived to be applied to other items of the Convention.

Jamal: Iraq needs the Americans to support the reconstruction of liberated areas and stability efforts

The spokesman of the Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman has revealed, for the formation of a high-level committee to activate the strategic framework agreement with the United States, returned to Iraq needs the Americans to support the reconstruction of liberated areas and stability efforts in the post (Daesh).

Said Ahmed Gamal, said in an interview to the (long-Presse), "The foreign minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, instructed several months ago to form a committee to consider activating the strategic framework agreement with the United States, especially since a lot of doors need for it,"

noting that "the Commission formed headed by Foreign Minister and membership of a group of agents and ministries of higher education, foreign affairs, defense, finance, trade, transport, culture as well as the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers representatives.

"He said the beauty, that "the committee began its work where she will meet every two months at the State Department," noting that "the ministry has asked the US side to hold a joint meeting, and is still waiting for his reply," likely "lingered Washington to hold the meeting until the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump’s office.

"The spokesman stressed that "Iraq needs the Americans in the post-Daesh, to support the reconstruction and stability efforts liberated areas especially since he suffers an economic crisis requires the necessity of activating the strategic agreement.

"Asadi: mutual serve the Iraqi and US two interests

For his part, Member of the Commission for Foreign Parliamentary Relations, that Iraq is a breeding ground for all countries of the world, not only the United States, stressing that mutual serve the Iraqi and US two interests.

Said Khalid al-Asadi, said in an interview to the (long-Presse), said that "Iraq’s convention strategy was signed with the US side since 2014 has been voted on by the House of Representatives, but not only do the incision to assist in the development of the security agencies, although it was very simple and hardly Mentionsed".

He welcomed the leader of the coalition of state law, led by Nuri al-Maliki, any "trends could move by the US side to activate the relations between the two countries, including economic side, investments, whether state or companies, because Iraq is a breeding ground for all nations, not only the United States,"

He returned to "reclining on the security situation is no longer an excuse for inaction to enter the vast and rich Iraqi market."And saw al-Asadi, that any "partnership in foreign investment in general and the US in particular serve the interests of Iraq and the United States.

"Abdul Latif: to transfer to the Americans Take our oil and Torona

Meanwhile, former Deputy optical called was a signatory to the Convention, that the Iraqi negotiator should say to the Americans "Take our oil and Torona all directions" to get rid of the rampant corruption and decline in various sectors.

The judge said Wael Abdul Latif, said in an interview to the (long-Presse), "The agreement with the US side strategy means they are long-term, and involves a two-pronged, security and economic, where America has dealt whereby with Iraq as a sovereign state," adding that "Iraq needs to a true partnership with the United States in the post-Daesh to ensure the elimination of militant terrorist organizations.

"Abdul Latif said that "Iraq needs to renew arming its security forces, and restore its role in the global community, as endorsed by the UN Security Council in several resolutions," following up "The agreement includes multiple aspects including those related to the elimination and investment and civil society organizations.

"He said the former MP for the province of Basra, "The United States wants to interfere with the work of civil society organizations and the development of economic infrastructure in Iraq," adding, "But the electoral rhetoric of US President-elect, Trump, focused on the oil situation is being sought to be a priority in the investments of American oil companies especially that Iraq ranked first in the world Bmkhozouna oil.

"And saw Abdel-Latif, that "the Iraqi negotiator should be a prophet to say, take our oil and Torona in all directions, Torona in the law and justice and security, investment, health and education, especially that our country is marking financial and administrative corruption and suffers a decline in the sectors of all the joints.

"The phenomenon of corruption is the biggest challenge to the security side, facing the Iraqi governments since the end of the US war on Iraq in 2003, has reached the levels of corruption in Iraq has prompted a specialized international organizations to put it among the most corrupt countries in the world.