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

Iraq’s outgoing government keeps mum on China pact

Iraq’s pro-government Shiite blocs are alleging an economic agreement signed between outgoing Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and China in September is linked to the mass public protests that started in October.

Iran-backed factions of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), which support Abdul Mahdi’s government, are promoting a conspiracy theory that the United States engineered the mass protests in Iraq to topple the government and nullify the agreement, to stop China from investing and expanding its influence in Iraq.

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has agreed a $1.4-billion deal to develop two oilfields in Khuzestan, near the border with Iraq.

The National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC) and Iran’s MAPNA Group signed a ten-year contract within the IPC framework, to improve the recovery rate, increase production and exploitation of the Parsi and Paranj fields.

According to the NIOC, the deal aims to achieve a maximum production of 85000 barrels of oil per day and an additional cumulative production of about 121 million barrels, with an estimated direct capital cost of $ 876.6 million and an indirect cost of $ 235.3 million. Also the cost of exploitation is estimated at $ 269 million.

Work description of this contract includes upgrading and construction of surface installations (operation unit, desalination, gas pressure collecting and boosting facilities, gas injection facilities, flow and transmission pipelines and other related facilities), drilling of new wells and repairing existing wells, split layer operation, gas lift operation, drilling and EOR studies, piloting EOR plans, human resources training, technology transfer, and research and development.

Implementing this plan while increasing the crude oil production capacity of the country, will create widespread employment opportunities in Khuzestan province and also a favorable job market.

Parsi oil field is located in ​​South Dezful, about 125 kilometers from Ahvaz and Paranj Square is located between Karanj and Parsi fields, 75 kilometers from Behbahan and 40 kilometers from Ramhormoz.

(Source: NIOC)

By John Lee.

Production at the Garraf [Gharraf] oil field in southern Iraq has reportedly fallen to an average of around 93,000 barrels per day (bpd) in January.

According to S&P Global Platts, officials from Japan Petroleum Exploration (JAPEX) said on Monday that the drop was due to delays in drilling works.

It added that takeholders remained committed to increasing output to 230,000 bpd by the end of 2020.

Japex, which has a 35-percent stake in the field, issued results for the nine months to the end of December on Monday – see here and here.

(Source: S&P Global Platts)

By John Lee.

The Basra Oil Company (BOC) will reportedly reduce production at the Nahr Bin Umar oilfield due to pollution and gas emissions.

Director General Ihsan Abduljabbar [Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismail] is quoted as saying that the field is considered one of Iraq’s most controversial because of pollution and gas emissions.

(Source: Reuters)

Ayda (not her real name) lives with her mother and little brother in a house built of mud and sheet metal in a poor neighborhood in Baghdad.

She attends the Hope Bus regularly and also works collecting empty cans from landfill to support her family.

Ayda loves going to the Hope Bus because she gets to learn and spend time with other children. She wants to be a teacher one day just like the teachers on the Hope Bus!

Your generous donations help us keep the dreams of Ayda and the other children alive. This Valentine’s Day, support Iraq’s most vulnerable children:

GIVE NOW

(Source: Iraqi Children Foundation – ICF)

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

Iraq struggles to switch from use of imported fuel to national gas

The Iraqi government is trying to get people to switch from imported fuel to locally produced gas.

All new public transport vehicles must run on liquefied petroleum gas or LPG.

But despite awareness campaigns and government subsidy, users are reluctant to move away from traditional fuel.

Al Jazeera‘s Osama Bin Javaid reports from Baghdad:

By Vanda Felbab-Brown, for Brookings Institution. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Stuck in the middle: Iraq and the enduring conflict between United States and Iran

When the United States killed Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani on January 3, it also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a powerful Iraqi militia leader. The move critically destabilized U.S.-Iraq relations.

Last weekend’s rocket attacks on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, which injured one person, and the 200,000-strong demonstration demanding the departure of U.S. military forces from Iraq, led by the anti-U.S. cleric-politician Muqtada al-Sadr, are merely some of the manifestations of this severe destabilization.

Although the United States and Iran managed to avoid an escalation to full-blown war — which would be very costly for both sides — a wide set of U.S. interests in Iraq has been seriously undermined, likely in a long-term way.

The full report can be read here.

The PBS show Amanpour and Company has interviewed Ahmed Albasheer (pictured), the Iraqi comedian and host of the weekly satire program “Albasheer Show”.

Albasheer started the show in 2014 as a tool to fight corruption, extremism and terrorism.

He explains how a suicide bomber changed his life, and how “Albasheer Show” is fueling the demonstrations currently taking place in Iraq.

Click here to view the interview

(Source: PBS)

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

Iraqi Jews in Israel watch protests with hope

The protests in Iraq have drawn the attention of a minority group that emigrated decades ago. Although Iraq’s Jews could not return to Iraq for reasons beyond their control, they have showed wide support and interest in the protests.

Iraq’s Jewish emigrants in Israel have displayed varied feelings toward the protest movement.

In addition to their amazement at seeing a national identity rising from the ashes of wars and conflict, they watched with heavy hearts as the protesters were brutally suppressed, with up to 600 people dead and more than 25,000 wounded, recalling the painful reasons they left their mother country in 1950-1951.

Click here to read the full story.

By Eric Bordenkircher, for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Pivoting to the KRG: Restructuring the U.S. Military Presence in Iraq

Since the start of the Iraq War in 2003, a defining element of American policy has been the importance of the political and territorial integrity of the Iraqi state.

In light of the U.S. killing of Qassem Soleimani, subsequent retaliation from Iran, and continued violence in Iraq—most recently manifesting in an unclaimed attack against the U.S. embassy—the U.S. government must now reconsider the viability of its current policy towards Iraq.

Full report here.