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

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

Airstrikes in Syria

Fighter, fighter-attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted three airstrikes in Syria:

  • Near Hasakah, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed four ISIL fighting positions.
  • Near Dayr Az Zawr, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

Airstrikes in Iraq

Attack, fighter-attack, bomber and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 16 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with the government of Iraq:

  • Near Huwayjah, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL checkpoints.
  • Near Beiji, two airstrikes destroyed an ISIL building and an ISIL vehicle.
  • Near Haditha, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL machine guns.
  • Near Makhmur, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
  • Near Mosul, two airstrikes destroyed an ISIL rocket launcher, an ISIL tank, an ISIL vehicle, two ISIL excavators, an ISIL bunker and an ISIL observation post.
  • Near Ramadi, three airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed five ISIL roadside bombs and an ISIL supply trailer.
  • Near Sinjar, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun, three ISIL light machine guns and five ISIL fighting positions.
  • Near Tal Afar, three airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed 11 ISIL bunkers, three ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL light machine gun and an ISIL heavy machine gun.
  • Near Tuz, one airstrike struck an ISIL mortar position.

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 they pose to Iraq, Syria and the wider international community.

The destruction of ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq further limits the group’s ability to project terror and conduct operations.

Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Iraq include the United States, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Jordan, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Syria include the United States, Bahrain, Canada, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

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

As terror attacks continue, Iraqi government prioritizes nightclub raids

During the night of July 18, Iraqi forces raided several Baghdad nightclubs and attacked and arrested the club owners and workers.

The Iraqi Interior Ministry apologized July 20 and released the detainees in an attempt to avoid domestic and international criticism.

Such behavior recalls previous attempts on the part of security forces to undermine certain freedoms. Islamist movements have based such activities on religious texts since their emergence with the faith campaign launched by Saddam Hussein’s regime in 1992 and their arrival to power after 2003.

They have gradually and successfully applied their strict instructions across Iraqi provinces, with the exception of Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region.

Despite official declarations such as that of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi July 20, the attacks and violations have not stopped. Before storming the nightclubs, a military force raided the Union of Writers Club in Baghdad June 19 and attacked a group of writers on accusations of alcohol consumption.

On July 25, an unidentified military force stormed a family restaurant in central Baghdad and attacked patrons.

The rule of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (2006-2014) witnessed an array of similar attacks that targeted the same type of sites as well as liquor stores. These places are currently confined to the Karrada district of central Baghdad by the constant attacks against them elsewhere and amid the spread of a religious tide in the rest of the capital’s districts.

The Kurdistan Regional Government has announced plans to start paying oil companies a proportion of the revenues from crude oil sales.

Starting from September 2015, the Kurdistan Regional Government, KRG, will, on a monthly basis, allocate a portion of the revenue from its direct crude oil sales to the producing international oil companies, IOCs, KRG Ministry of Natural Resources said in a statement.

It added, as Kurdistan Region’s oil export is expected to “rise in early 2016, the KRG envisages making additional revenue available to IOCs to enable them to begin to catch up on the past receivables due under their production sharing contracts.

An agreement was reached last December with the Federal Government of Iraq, to export crude oil in exchange of regular payments of the Region’s 17 percent revenue entitlement. The arrangement was enshrined in the Iraqi Federal Budget Law for 2015.

However, “due to a number of factors, the federal government has to date been unable to provide the Kurdistan Region with its monthly budgetary dues. As a result, the KRG has been obliged to introduce direct crude oil sales from Ceyhan to help pay Kurdistan Region’s governmental salaries, maintain vital government services, and of course, pay the Peshmerga and other security forces who are fighting Islamic State terrorists.

The statement stressed that the KRG remains determined to reach a lasting agreement with Baghdad on all outstanding issues relating to oil and gas and revenue sharing, through dialogue and discussion.

The KRG has been pleased with the level of technical cooperation on the ground from federal government entities such as the North Oil Company, NOC, and SOMO. The KRG will continue to facilitate oil export from NOC-operated fields in Kirkuk via the KRG’s pipeline network to Turkey”, said the Ministry of Natural Resources statement.

Although the revenue gained from direct sales is still below Kurdistan’s 17 percent share of the federal budget, it is significantly higher than the amount the federal government was able to allocate to the KRG on a monthly basis.

Praising the role of international oil companies, the Ministry of Natural Resources statement said:

“The KRG acknowledges and appreciates the economic contribution to the Kurdistan Region made by the producing IOCs and their success in raising oil export from Kurdistan to record levels …

“The KRG also recognizes the patience of the producing IOCs, which, despite receiving hardly any payments for their crude oil production since May 2014, have maintained operations and have continued to invest to support Kurdistan’s crude oil export.”

(Source: KRG)

By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad.

Assessing Government Spending

This is an updated version of the last part (and the list of consulted references) of the research work commissioned by the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), USA, as part of the preparation for NRGI’s strategic plan for interlinked and complementary interventions in Iraq during the upcoming three years.

The following main but very broad four questions will be addressed in this part of the study:

  1. Does government use Extractive Industry (EI) revenues as an opportunity to increase the efficiency of public spending at the national and sub-national levels?
  2. Administrative capacity: Has government strengthened efficiently its capability to invest resource revenues in the domestic economy (i.e. quality of expenditures)?
  3. Does government take effective steps to reduce corruption in public spending? Where is corruption in public spending most problematic?
  4. Economic absorptive capacity: Does the country face problems absorbing the large public spending associated with oil and gas? If so, what steps have been taken? If not, what are the main problems?

Please click here to download Ahmed Mousa Jiyad’s full report.

WesternZagros Resources has issued an update in advance of the company’s standard second quarter results which are scheduled for release on 13th August, 2015:

Garmian Block

Second quarter production from the Sarqala-1 well averaged 5,427 barrels of oil per day (“bbl/d). WesternZagros continues, in accordance with the KRG, to supply this production to the domestic market under pre-paid contracts. The Company currently has two domestic customers for its oil production.

The Company is incorporating final comments from the Kurdistan Regional Government (“KRG”) into its Sarqala Field Development Plan (“FDP”). Approval of the FDP is expected once the KRG has completed its contractual negotiations to build a natural gas plant to utilize the associated natural gas from the Sarqala field.

Operations to suspend the Hasira-1 well are proceeding according to plan and are anticipated to be completed in the third quarter. Although the FDP will delineate and develop the resources within the Jeribe reservoir, the Company and its partner, Gazprom Neft, are actively discussing the most effective next steps and the timing to assess the potential of Hasira-1’s Mio-Oligocene oil discovery.

The Company has prepared the Sarqala-2 well site and is ready to spud the well, which is expected to occur in the fourth quarter, once the Hasira-1 suspension operations are completed and the Sarqala FDP is approved by the KRG.

The frontline RAF Tornado squadron spearheading Britain’s air campaign against ISIL in Iraq will be maintained in service for an additional year until March 2017 the Defence Secretary has announced.

In a visit to Baghdad, Michael Fallon announced that 12 (Bomber) Squadron will continue to offer the essential precision firepower, intelligence and surveillance needed for the counter-ISIL international coalition to provide vital support to Iraqi ground forces.

With eight Tornados flying daily missions over Iraq the UK is playing a leading role in tackling ISIL. This announcement reaffirms Britain’s commitment to maintain the resilience of the attack, which has seen ISIL lose around 25% of the territory it once held.

Speaking in Iraq today the Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

ISIL terrorists pose a threat the security of Iraq, Syria, the wider region and to the streets of Britain. It is therefore our duty to ensure that the UK continues to play its part to defeat this barbaric regime.

“Our aircraft have flown thousands of missions and RAF Tornados have carried out hundreds of strikes, helping Iraqi forces push back ISIL from the Kurdish region and out of key towns such as Tikrit and Bayji.

“We want to ensure we maintain this crucial operational tempo and so we will extend the lifetime of Number 12 Squadron for a further year to March 2017. This will allow us to sustain our effort, helping the Iraqis lead the fight on the ground.”

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

Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Airstrikes in Syria

Fighter, fighter-attack, bomber and remotely piloted aircraft conducted eight airstrikes in Syria:

  • Near Hasakah, six airstrikes struck an ISIL large tactical unit and three ISIL small tactical units and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL mortar system, four ISIL bunkers and an ISIL resupply vehicle.
  • Near Raqqah, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL excavator.
  • Near Kobani, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL mortar position.

Airstrikes in Iraq

Attack, fighter-attack, bomber and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 21 airstrikes in Iraq, approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense:

  • Near Huwayjah, three airstrikes struck an ISIL large tactical unit and two ISIL small tactical units and destroyed three ISIL vehicles, an ISIL anti-aircraft artillery weapon and an ISIL checkpoint.
  • Near Fallujah, two airstrikes struck an ISIL large tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL buildings, an ISIL vehicle, three ISIL bunkers and an ISIL bridge.
  • Near Haditha, two airstrikes struck an ISIL large tactical unit and an ISIL small tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
  • Near Makhmur, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL weapons cache and four ISIL fighting positions.
  • Near Mosul, four airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL staging area, an ISIL artillery piece and an ISIL vehicle and destroyed an ISIL bunker.
  • Near Ramadi, three airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL motorcycle, an ISIL drone, four ISIL vehicles and an ISIL resupply truck.
  • Near Sinjar, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions.
  • Near Tal Afar, four airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, an ISIL mortar position and an ISIL staging area and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL heavy machine gun.

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 they pose to Iraq, Syria, the region, and the wider international community.

The destruction of ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq further limits the terrorist group’s ability to project terror and conduct operations, officials said.

Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Iraq include the United States, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Jordan, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Syria include the United States, Bahrain, Canada, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

Statement by KRG’s Ministry of Natural Resources on attacks on the Kurdistan to Ceyhan oil export pipelines in Turkey

Since July 27th, there have been repeated attempted thefts and sabotage attacks on the pipelines that carry crude oil from the Kurdistan Region to Ceyhan (pictured) in Turkey. This has led to an almost complete stoppage in the flow of crude oil to Ceyhan.

The oil exports via the pipelines are the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) principal source of revenue and enable the KRG to pay people’s salaries and help the government and people of the Kurdistan Region to resist the grave challenges the Region is currently facing.

The continuous attacks and theft serve only to damage the economic viability and the security of the Kurdistan Region as it faces the unprecedented threats from Islamic State terrorists, the budget cuts imposed on the Region by the federal government in Baghdad, and the influx of over 1,800,000 refugees and IDPs.

These recent acts of sabotage within Turkey have cost the KRG over US$250 million, a sum almost equivalent to the entire monthly budget for the salaries of the security forces of Kurdistan (the Asayish, the Interior Ministry forces and the brave Peshmerga on the frontlines) who are defending the people of Kurdistan and Iraq against the forces of terror.

Turkey stands to suffer relatively minor economic damage through the loss of transit fees from the pipeline to Ceyhan.  Therefore, some 99 percent of the burden of these attacks is borne alone by the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and its people.

The Ministry of Natural Resources condemns these senseless and irresponsible attacks on the Kurdistan people’s security and welfare and calls upon those involved to cease their actions immediately. Their deeds only benefit the enemies of the Kurdish people.

The people of Kurdistan will hold the thieves and saboteurs and those supporting them to account for all the hardships they cause.

(Source: KRG)

Advertising Feature

Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 30th July 2015).

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

The RSISX index ended the week at ID1,271 (-4.5%) / $1,319 (-4.3%) (weekly change) (-8.8% and -11.0% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 10.3bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD12.9bn ($10.3mn).

ScreenHunter_1924 Aug. 03 10.35

ISX Company Announcements

  • The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) will issue bonds with US dollar on behalf of finance ministry on August 2nd, 2015 up to August 31st, 2015 with publishing four categories ($ 2,500-10,000-50,000-100,000) with a total of $2bn. The bonds are going to be sold through CBI with equivalent IQD, at FX rate IQD 1095 – for every dollar and they are going to be paid by the Finance Ministry on December 31st, 2016 (at maturity) in US dollar.
  • Middle East for Prod. Fish (AMEF) will resume trading on Aug. 4, 2015 after they approved the financial results of the financial year ended on Mar. 31, 2015 and distributing 25% cash dividend (IQD0.25 price per share). The opening price will be IQD7.11 per share with +/-10% limit for the first session.
  • Iraqi Date Processing & Marketing (IIDP) will hold its AGM* on Aug. 9, 2015 to discuss and approve 2014 annual financial results, covering some of the accumulated deficit from the available reserves. ISX will suspend trading of IIDP starting on Aug. 3, 2015.
  • Kurdistan Int. Bank (BKUI) will hold its AGM* on Aug. 8, 2015 to discuss and approve 2014 annual financial results and distributing cash dividend. ISX will suspend trading of BKUI starting on Aug. 3, 2015.
  • National Bank of Iraq (BNOI) will resume trading on Aug. 3, 2015 after they approved 2014 annual financial results and distributing 2% cash dividend (IQD0.02 price per share). The opening price will be IQD0.79 per share with +/-10% limit for the first session.
  • Al-Ahlyia for Agricultural Production (AAHP) will hold its AGM* on Aug. 5, 2015 to discuss and approve financial results of the financial year ended on Mar. 31, 2015, covering some of the deficit from the achieved accumulated reserves and borrowing IQD1bn to cover the cost of a forage project. ISX suspended trading of AAHP starting on Jul. 29, 2015.
  • Ready Made Clothes (IRMC) will hold its AGM* on Aug. 4, 2015 to discuss and approve 2014 annual financial results and covering 50% (corresponding to IQD139mn) of the accumulated deficit from the available reserves. ISX suspended trading of IRMC starting on Jul. 28, 2015.
  • Iraqi for Tufted Carpets (IITC) invited its shareholders to visit the company’s headquarters to receive cash dividends from the profits of the year 2014.
  • Three cross transactions occurred on 7.5bn National Islamic Bank (BNAI) shares on Jul. 26, Jul. 27 and Jul. 28, 2015). These three transactions represent 3.0% of BNAI capital. A cross transaction occurred on 75mn Iraqi for General Transportation (SIGT) shares on Jul. 26, 2015. This represents 1.9% of SIGT capital.
  • Original shares of Dar Al-Salam for Insurance (NDSA) resumed trading on Jul. 26, 2015 after they approved 2014 annual financial results, increasing its capital from IQD3.190bn to IQD3.509bn through 10% bonus issue.
  • Ashur Bank (BASH) resumed trading on Jul. 26, 2015 after they approved 2014 annual financial results and distributing 3.9% cash dividend (IQD0.039 price per share).
  • ISX has asked to produce offers for online stock trading system according to the investing instructions through an exclusive contract with a technical specification.

According to casualty figures released today by UNAMI, a total number of 1,332 Iraqis were killed (including civilians, civilian police and casualty figures in Anbar), and another 2,108 were injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in July*.

The number of civilians killed is 844 (including 27 civilian police and casualty figures in Anbar), and the number of civilians injured is 1,616 (including 38 civilian police and casualty figures in Anbar).

A further 488 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (including Peshmerga, SWAT and militias fighting alongside the Iraqi Army / Not including casualties from Anbar Operations) were killed and 492 were injured.

Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate with 1,091 civilian casualties (335 killed, 756 injured). Diyala suffered 170 killed and 284 injured, Salahadin  64 killed and 74 injured, Ninewa  101 killed and 28 injured, and Kirkuk 26 killed and 11 injured.

According to information obtained by UNAMI from the Health Directorate in Anbar, the Governorate suffered a total of 600 civilian casualties (147 killed and 453 injured).

Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG), Mr. Jan Kubis said:

Since last summer’s onslaught by terrorists of the so‐called ISIL, Iraq has been living through one of the most difficult phases in its modern history.

“Resolute action about Daesh and its ideology, equality and cooperation of all Iraqi components as true patriots in these efforts is needed to put an end to this tragic situation. The human cost of the conflict and the suffering of the people is enormous and profoundly worrying.”

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 below. 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.  For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum.

(Source: UNAMI)

(Terrorism image via Shutterstock)