By John Lee.

A recently established tote bag factory has reportedly created jobs for 25 women in the Kurdistan Region’s Halabja.

According to Rudaw, the initiative aims to promote alternatives to plastic, and is part of the “Green City Halabja” campaign, run by the NWE NGO and partially funded by the German Consulate and WADI organization.

Click here to read the full story.

(Source: Rudaw)

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

Iraq protests swell with youth angry at slow pace of reform

Protests escalated across Iraq’s capital Baghdad as demonstrators sealed off streets with burning tyres in outrage at the government’s slow pace of reform.

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UN Iraq Representative urges renewed push for reform, calls for demonstrations to remain peaceful

With public demonstrations across many parts of Iraq in their fourth month, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, is urging a renewed push for reform and expressing concern about ongoing human rights violations.

She emphasizes the importance of pressing ahead to meet the needs of the Iraqi people: building resilience at the state and societal level is challenging but essential work.

“In recent months, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis from all walks of life have taken to the streets to voice their hopes for better times, free from corruption, partisan interests and foreign interference. The killing and injury of peaceful protesters, combined with long years of undelivered promises, have resulted in a major crisis of confidence.”

Two months after the Prime Minister announced his resignation, political leaders remain unable to agree on the way forward. While there was public acknowledgement by all actors that urgent reform is needed, it is now high time to put these words into action and to avoid further derailing of these protests by those pursuing their own objectives, not wishing well for this country and its people.

“Any steps taken so far to address the people’s concerns will remain hollow, if they are not completed. Domestic unity, cohesion and determination are urgently necessary to build resilience against narrow partisan interests, foreign interference and/or criminal elements which actively seek to hinder Iraq’s stability.”

The recent escalation in regional tensions has understandably taken much attention away from urgent unfinished domestic business. However, geopolitical developments must not eclipse the rightful demands of the Iraqi people. This will only further fuel public anger and distrust.

The Special Representative urges the Iraqi authorities to do everything to protect peaceful demonstrators. “Violent suppression of peaceful protesters is intolerable and must be avoided at all costs. Nothing is more damaging than a climate of fear. Accountability and justice for victims is critical to building trust, legitimacy and resilience.

She calls on protesters to remain peaceful, avoiding counterproductive violence and destruction of property.

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

Oil production is reported to have stopped at the 70,000-bpd Al Ahdab field on Sunday, as security guards seeking permanent employment blocked access to the site.

According to Bloomberg, the 50,000-bpd Badra field is also at risk of closure from Monday.

Al Ahdab is developed by China’s CNPC, while Badra is run by a consortium of Gazprom (30%), KOGAS (22.5%), Petronas (15%), TPAO (7.5%).

(Source: Bloomberg)

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

Abdul Mahdi urges Kurds to help rid Iraq of US troops

Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi arrived Jan. 11 in Erbil — his first official visit to the Kurdistan region since taking office — to discuss the country’s stability and the need for Kurdistan to cooperate with a push to expel US forces.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted Jan. 8 that Iran will “kick all US forces out of the region” in response to the Jan. 3 killing by US forces of Qasem Soleimani, chief commander of the Quds Force in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units.

Click here to read the full story.

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

Iraqi Kurdistan president: ‘We are not scared of Iran, but we respect Iran’

The assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in a Jan. 3 drone strike carried out by the United States sent shock waves throughout the region.

Those who argued that Tehran would take its time to retaliate proved wrong. On the night of Jan. 8, Iran launched more than a dozen missiles on Iraqi bases housing US forces. Several struck the Ain al-Assad base west of Baghdad.

Several others landed in an open field near an air base in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. Nobody was killed. The attack was seen, however, as a clear message from Tehran about the potential punishment Iraqis would face if they pursue their relations with the United States.

Click here to read the full story.

GardaWorld, a global leader in comprehensive security and risk management, has made its weekly security report available to Iraq Business News readers.

Prepared by GardaWorld’s Risk Analysis Team in Iraq, this essential report includes short- and medium-term outlooks on the security situation, reports and commentary on recent significant events, and a detailed overview of developments across the country.

Please click here to download the latest report free of charge.

For more information on how GardaWorld’s services can support your business in Iraq, please contact Daniel Matthews, Senior Director Iraq, at daniel.matthews@garda.com

By John Lee.

China’s Zhongman Petroleum and Natural Gas Group Corp., Ltd. (ZPEC) has reportedly announced a new drilling contract with Weatherford in Southern Iraq.

Chinese media reports that the deal is worth approximately $27 million, and follows another contract with Weatherford in Iraq agreed in December.

The oil field was not identified.

(Source: Eastmoney)

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Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 16th January 2020).

Please click here to download a table of listed companies and their associated ticker codes.

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD654 (-2.3%) / $694 (-0.9%) (weekly change) (-0.8% and -1.0% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 5.5 bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD6.3 bn ($5.2 mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • Al Mustashar Islamic Bank for Investment & Finance (BMUI) with a capital of IQD100 bn, will start trading after depositing and activating 5% of the listed shares or after 21 days of depositing the company’s shares.
  • Ibdaa Al-Sharq Al-Awsat General Contracting & Investment (SIBD) with a capital of IQD3 bn, will start trading after depositing and activating 5% of the listed shares or after 21 days of depositing the company’s shares.
  • Region Trade Bank for Investment and Finance (BRTB) will resume trading on Jan. 19, 2020 due to fulfilling ISX request to provide its quarterly financial statements.
  • ISX requested Tourist Village of Mosul dam (HTVM) to provide its AGM minutes for its meeting held on Jan. 12, 2020.
  • Middle East Producing & Marketing – Fish (AMEF) resumed trading on Jan. 16, 2020 due to fulfilling ISX request to provide its annual and quarterly financial statements.
  • New shares of Asia Al Iraq Islamic Bank for Investment (BAIB) from the capital increase to IQD150 bn through 50% rights issue started trading on Jan. 15, 2020.
  • Al-Ameen Estate Investment (SAEI) invited its shareholders to receive their 2018 cash dividend starting Jan. 19. The company will distribute 3% (IQD0.03 dividend per share, 4% dividend yield).
  • ISX suspended trading of the following companies starting Jan. 12, 2020 due to not disclosing their 3M19 financial statements: BDSI, BRTB, HASH, IELI, IICM, IMCI, IMCM, IMPI, ITLI, MTNI, SBAG and VKHF.