By Dr Renad Mansour, for Chatham House. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

After Latest Turn, is Muqtada al-Sadr Losing Influence in Iraq?

The populist cleric has repositioned himself in Iraqi politics multiple times, but his recent shift against youth-led protestors may signal his decline as an autonomous political force.

Following the US strike on Qassem Solaimani and Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis, populist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has violently cracked down on youth-led protests in Iraq.

His paramilitaries and ‘blue hats’ – supposedly created to protect protestors from state and allied parastatal security forces – sought to end the months-long demonstrations by attacking the places where protesters have camped since October. In Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, they successfully captured the famous Turkish restaurant which had become a symbol of Iraq’s ‘October revolution’.

Click here to read the full story.

The Governor of Anbar, Mr Ali Farhan Hameed, visited the UK this week as a guest of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) .

While here, he attended various meetings at Chatham House, UKEF, at roundtables with IBBC members and dinner in the House of Lords with Baroness Nicholson ( President of IBBC and PM Trade Envoy to Iraq)

Mr Hameed’s message is that Anbar province is open for business, is secure, and has defeated and rooted out ISIL. Anbar is on the look out specifically for British engineering companies to work on water projects. The province now has good, rebuilt infrastructure, and the benefits of large phosphate deposits, natural gas, and is locationally at the crossroads between Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Syria. It seeks to reclaim its position as one of Iraq’s wealthier areas and has great opportunities for companies looking to establish businesses there.

Mr Hameed also attended the IBBC Christmas party, attended by Lord Green and Lord Robertson, vice presidents of IBBC, Mr Alastair Kett of PWC ( Deputy Chairman of IBBC) and Mr Rasmi El Jabri – deputy chairman IBBC ) and many new and original IBBC members and supporters, at the Royal Overseas League.

Mr Christophe Michels says’ that IBBC is ready and willing to facilitate any further introductions and initiatives with Anbar province, and we invited Mr Hameed following our own visit to Anbar in July 2019. We all look forward to a busy and successful year ahead.’ Season’s greetings and thanks to you all in our world.

(Source: IBBC)

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

Iraqi protesters have lost their patience with what they say is decades of corruption and lack of services.

They’re demanding Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi resign – and the whole political system be overhauled.

Mahdi says there is ‘no magic solution’ and any progress will take time.

The government has announced a list of reforms to address some of the grievances.

But protesters are back on the streets and have attacked the headquarters of political parties and TV stations in Baghdad.

Police responded by using live rounds and tear gas.

At least 100 people have been killed in five days of protests.

Parliament had planned to hold an emergency session on Saturday – but it never happened.

But the Speaker of Parliament did make some promises…

Presenter:

  • Peter Dobbie

Guests:

  • Dlawer Ala-Aldeen President, Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Renad Mansour Director, Iraq Initiative, Chatham University
  • Zeidon Alkinani Contributour, Open Democracy

By Toby Dodge, for Chatham House. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

In March and April, an extensive opinion poll carried out across Iraq found that the population were only united by very high levels of pessimism (opens in new window) about the future of their country.

At the centre of their concerns, and the key factor in driving mistrust, is the issue of corruption.

Click here to read the full story.

By Toby Dodge, for Chatham House. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

In March and April, an extensive opinion poll carried out across Iraq found that the population were only united by very high levels of pessimism (opens in new window) about the future of their country.

At the centre of their concerns, and the key factor in driving mistrust, is the issue of corruption.

Click here to read the full story.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) was pleased to be an official partner of Chatham House’s “Iraq in Transition” conference on the 2nd and 3rd October. The event was held by the Chatham House Iraq Initiative, led by Dr Renad Mansour.

On Thursday the 3rd of October the President of IBBC, Baroness Nicholson, chaired a working group on private sector development. The working group also consisted of a speech by Zaid Elyaseri, country Manager of IBBC Founder Member BP.

This first Chatham House Iraq Initiative conference was a huge success and well attended by the private sector, NGOs, universities, Iraqi and British Government officials, the media and representatives of the UN and the EU. IBBC was delighted that one of their member companies Crescent Petroleum, was the main sponsor of the event and to see so many of its members and members of the IBBC Young Executive Network attending.

https://www.chathamhouse.org/event/iraq-transition

https://www.chathamhouse.org/about/structure/mena-programme/iraq-initiative-project

(Source: IBBC)

By Glada Lahn and Nouar Shamout, for Chatham House.

Violent protests erupted in Basra this summer in response to the deterioration of public services. At the centre of the unrest is a water supply crisis which Iraq can only solve with regional and international cooperation.

In August, frustrations over crippled public services, drought and unemployment in Al-Basra governorate boiled over.

The acute cause was a water contamination crisis. By the end of October, hospital admissions of those suffering from poisoning exceeded 100,000 according to health officials.

Crops and animals in the rural areas have been severely affected by lack of water and current levels of salinity, with thousands migrating to Basra city.

Click here to read the full story.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has held an event in partnership with the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) on ‘The Iraq Election Results: what next for Iraq’s political stability?’.

The panel event, in partnership with the Royal United Services Institute gave an initial assessment of the Iraqi election result and commented on the early indications of potential political realignments and possible impacts on the polity in the near future.

Iraq experienced its fourth democratic Parliamentary election on the 12th of May, the nation’s first since it’s defeat of the Islamic State. Following the official end of the campaign against IS in December 2017 and the start of the rebuilding process, the country is at a crucial turning point and political decisions made now will determine the stability and prosperity of Iraq for years to come.

With the emergence of new electoral lists, and the federal government’s response to the Iraqi Kurdistan referendum weakening the Kurdish hand, the election produced many surprises.

Chair

  • Michael Stephens, RUSI Research Fellow

Speakers

  • (Introduction) Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, President IBBC
  • Professor Gareth Stansfield, RUSI Senior Associate Fellow
  • Dr Renad Mansour, Research Fellow, Chatham House
  • (Panel discussion) Mr Christophe Michels, Managing Director, IBBC

The panel discussion was the first in a series of events in partnership with RUSI, which will explore in detail the political landscape of Iraq as it evolves over the coming months.

(Source: IBBC)

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) held its annual weekend retreat on 7-9 July at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Park, a venue dedicated to the advancement of international societal issues through constructive dialogue.

Around 60 IBBC Members and guest speakers attended this unique event to discuss pressing issues on the future of Iraq’s economy, prospects and stability.

Friday afternoon featured an Oil & Gas Sector Table Meeting, with representatives from Shell, Constellis, Penspen and Amec Foster Wheeler amongst others. William Wakileh, President and CEO of GE Iraq and Levant, gave a detailed presentation of GE’s work in Iraq during the meeting.

This was followed by a meeting of the Education, Training & Heritage Sector Table. The meeting featured presentations by the Vice Chancellors of the universities of Brighton, Leicester, and the Dean of Academic Partnerships of Northampton University, showcasing the progressive initiatives of British universities to support educational and curricula development in Iraq. Shell gave a presentation on their current training and educational work and requirements in the country. The meeting was also attended by the newly appointed HR director of BP Iraq.

The evening events saw speeches from Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, Her Majesty’s Trade Envoy to Iraq, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, Canon Dr Edmund Newell, Principal, Cumberland Lodge and H.E. Dr Salih Husain Ali, Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq.

The day was concluded by a powerful speech, courtesy of Dr Barham Salih, former Deputy PM of Iraq, former PM of the Kurdistan Regional Government and Founder of the American University in Suleimani.

The Friday Evening Dinner was generously sponsored by IBBC Member Severn Glocon Group.

The second day of the Conference on Saturday 8 July, consisted of 5 Sessions of panel discussions to address the economic, social and political situation in Iraq from a variety of different angles.

Session 1Present Situation in Iraq’ was chaired by Neil Quilliam, Senior Research Fellow at Chatham House and featured speeches from Baroness Nicholson, Dr Barham Salih, Ambassador Jonathan Wilks and Dara Rasheed, Deputy Minister of Construction, Housing and Municipalities for the Government of Iraq.

Session 2 addressed ‘Iraq after ISIS/The Future of Governance in Iraq‘ and was chaired by Botan Osman, Managing Director of Restrata. The Panel featured representatives of Chatham House, Dr Renad Mansour, Academy Fellow and Dr Nussaibah Younis, Associate Fellow, who recently published the Atlantic Council Report of the Task Force on the Future of Iraq. Nicolas Pelham, Middle East Correspondent at The Economist completed the panel.

Session 3 of the day, ‘A New Approach to International Trade’ saw a more finance focused discussion and was chaired by John Curtin, Partner, Ernst & Young. The panel was made up of Martin Kent, Strategy Director at the Department for International Trade, Gordon Welsh, Head of Business Group at UK Export Finance, Rob Lally of the Infrastructure Leadership Team and the Department of International Trade and Andy Birch, Director of DIT in Iraq.

Session 4 on ‘International Financial Support, PPP and Debt Finance’, was chaired by Richard Cotton of the IBBC and featured presentations by Ammar Shubar of Management Partners and Christian Josz, Mission Chief to Iraq of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Session 5 closed the day’s events on ‘Future IBBC Events’ chaired by Vikas Handa, IBBC’s UAE Representative.

IBBC also held its bi-annual Council Meeting at the Lodge, prior to dinner on Saturday evening.

The Seminar concluded with an after dinner speech and discussion with Jonathon Wilks, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Iraq (Designate).

(Source: IBBC)