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

Why this political movement is turning its back on the Iraqi PM

Thousands of followers of Ammar al-Hakim (pictured), the leader of the opposition National Wisdom Movement, took to the streets on July 19, in 14 Iraqi provinces, to protest the government of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. The protests mark the Wisdom Movement’s first protest against the government, as well as the first time protests have been mobilized concurrently across 14 provinces since 2003.

Hakim and his movement, known as al-Hikma, opted to oppose the government a few weeks ago.

The movement had called for a million people to protest, but the turnout was much lower than what Hakim and his political bureau expected.

Click here to read the full story.

By Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq orders militias to fully integrate into state security forces

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi issued a decree July 1 ordering the factions of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) to integrate fully into the state security forces.

According to the decree, all the military factions within the PMU must retire their political and military affiliations and come under the full control of the prime minister as the commander in chief of the armed forces.

Click here to read the full story.

(Picture credit: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

By John Lee.

The Iraqi parliament has approved Prime Minister Adil Abul-Mahdi’s nominees to three key ministries, according to Associated Press:

Defense: Najah al-Shammari;

Interior: Yassin al-Yassiri;

Justice: Farouq Amin Othman.

The positions have been vacant since October.

A nominee for the position of Minister for Education — Safana al-Hamdani — however, failed to receive enough votes.

(Source: Associated Press)

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi received Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi on Wednesday in Baghdad.

During the meeting they discussed strengthening the relations between the two countries and the opening of air routes, facilitating entering visas, as well as their joint role in maintaining security and stability in the region.

The Prime Minister welcomed the opening of the Omani embassy in Baghdad, which he said will contribute to increasing cooperation between the two countries.

(Source: Media Office of the Prime Minister)

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi has met with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his accompanying delegation during a visit to Baghdad.

The Prime Minister expressed his desire to deepen relations with Germany, and cited in particular the signing of a road map for the electricity sector with Siemens.

Minister Maas expressed German concern for stability in the region, and said he will visit Iran in the coming days to discuss this issue.

(Source: Office of the Prime Minister)

By John Lee.

Baghdad’s International Zone (Green Zone) is to be opened to traffic around the clock from tonight (Tuesday).

Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi told a news conference on Monday evening that the move showed that the government is convinced the security situation in Baghdad is improved.

The high-security zone is home to the Iraqi parliament and many embassies, including the US embassy.

(Sources: AFP, Reuters)

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

Has Russia begun to play a role in Iraq?

Member of the Iraqi parliament’s Security and Defense Committee Hakim al-Zamili announced May 9 that negotiations were underway to buy an S-400 air missile system from Moscow.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov said during his meeting April 26 with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi that “the number of Russian companies in Iraq is on the rise.”

Ihsan al-Shammari, head of the Iraqi Centre for Political Thought, concurred. He told Al-Monitor that “Russia is working to compete with multinational companies in central and southern Iraq, particularly in the field of energy.

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unannounced visit to Iraq on Tuesday, meeting with Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi and senior officials.

The visit comes as Washington enforces sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.

A transcript of Secretary Pompeo’s press conference after the meeting can be read here.

(Source: US State Dept)

By John Lee.

The President of Lukoil, Vagit Alekperov, has held a meeting with Prime Minister of Iraq Adil Abdul-Mahdi in Baghdad.

The meeting was attended by the Russian Ambassador to Iraq, Maksim Maksimov.

The parties discussed the current status of projects, among them the geological exploration at Eridu field (Block 10) in the south of Iraq.

Mr. Abdul-Mahdi expressed his support for the intention to deliver first production at Eridu field ahead of time.

(Source: Lukoil)

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi received Baroness Emma Nicholson, the Chairman of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC), at his office on Sunday to discuss cooperation between Iraqi and British businesses, and proposed investment projects in Iraq.

The Prime Minister said that stability in Iraq provides an opportunity to increase reconstruction efforts, and welcomed cooperation between Iraqi and British companies through the IBBC.

Baroness Nicholson praised developments in Iraq, expressing the desire to expand cooperation and partnership further.

(Source: Media office of the prime minister)