This week’s bomb attack on the freight port of Umm Qasr was something new, but it appears to be an extension of the terrorist strategy of targeting Iraq’s commercial infrastructure.

Seen in the context of the growing number of attacks on northern pipelines – at least 37 attacks in the past 2 months alone – it is clear that the intention is to choke Iraq’s trade and destroy its oil revenues.

But while the aim may be to damage the government, the effect is to harm all Iraqis, not least those directly affected by the violence.

And the tactics needed to tackle this threat may lead to more restrictions on the movement of people and goods, further diminishing the quality of life and hampering the development of the country.

Attempting to destroy Iraq’s trade helps no-one, and prolongs the suffering of ordinary Iraqis.

Iraq’s oil exports to Turkey were halted again on Wednesday, this time by bomb attacks targeting the oil pipeline north of Baghdad.

Reuters‘ sources say one attack took place at around 0100 local time near Hadhar in Nineveh Province, 80 km south of Mosul, with another section of the line also attacked near Fatha, between Kirkuk and the northern city of Baiji.

The process of oil production has not been compromised, though the exports have stopped altogether,” a senior executive from the state-owned North Oil Company told AFP, describing the attacks as “the most violent since 2003.

Repairs are expected to take several days.

(Sources: AFP, Reuters)

(Picture: Ceyhan port, Turkey)

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.

The truck bomb that exploded on Aug. 17 at dock No. 17 of the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr located on the Arabian Gulf surprised Iraqi political and security circles. Although the human losses were limited, the operation constituted a serious and exceptional breach of Iraqi security, and suggested that al-Qaeda seeks to cut off Iraq’s only economic gateway to the sea.

The governor of Basra, Majid al-Nasrawi, who belongs to the Basra First coalition and managed to seize the headship of Basra’s provincial council from the State of Law Coalition after the April 20 elections, told Al-Monitor that “his city is paying the price for the political differences in the country.” He added that “the security information [available] indicates that vital installations in Basra, a key strategic area for import and export in Iraq, are under threat of being targeted.”

Although the political class in Iraq does not openly say that the security situation is being exploited for political purposes, all parties fear that the security escalation would be invested against them politically.

Basra’s governor says that his [local council] “will not bear the results of the security deficiencies, since it had demanded that security powers fall within its jurisdiction, as the [central] government in Baghdad insists on managing the security file.”

Nasrawi said that he holds Baghdad responsible for any new security breach, especially given the available information which confirms that al-Qaeda is directing its compass towards Basra. Up to 90% of Iraqi oil runs through the ports of Basra, and a similar percentage of Iraqi commercial traffic with the world passes through it. It also includes a number of major oil wells, which provide Iraq with about 80% of its oil.

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has discussed Iraq’s relations with the United Nations and its assistance mission in Iraq (UNAMI) with Deputy Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed the UNAMI activities in Iraq and the Iraqi government’s keenness on facilitating UNAMI’s work.

The Minister expressed the government’s appreciation for the support of the UN General Secretariat’s efforts to exit Iraq from the provisions of Chapter VII and Iraq’s fulfillment of all its international obligations.

They also discussed the latest regional and international developments and the diplomatic efforts aiming at holding the Geneva 2 conference for peace in Syria and the upcoming nuclear talks between the Security Council and Germany on one hand and Iran on the other hand.

The Minister welcomed at the end of the meeting, the designation of Nikolai Meladonov as the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on top of the UNAMI in Iraq.

(Source: MoFA)

Economic Analyst, Ibrahim Al-Mashhadani attributed that declining non-Iraqi dealings in Iraq market for securities to lower the value of shares traded and the unstable security situation in the country.

Economic Analyst, Ibrahim Al-Mashhadani attributed that declining non-Iraqi dealings in Iraq market for securities to lower the value of shares traded and the unstable security situation in the country.

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

The United Nations says thousands of Syrian refugees are flooding into the Kurdish autonomous region of Iraq.

Fighting in Northern Syria has increased in recent months between Al Qaeda linked rebels and armed Kurdish groups.

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford reports:

Some 1,189 hazardous items (explosive remnants of war – ERW) have been removed from the village of Chimany Ferqa Kirkuk by the Mines Advisory Group (MAG).

Among the items destroyed were 78 anti-tank landmines (pictured), 307 anti-personnel landmines, 114 trip flares and 690 small arms ammunition.

MAG teams came to the village after an anti-tank mine was found by a local farmer. Once safely removed, the items were transferred for a controlled bulk demolition in a designated area.

“Because of MAG’s clearance activities, our village has enough land to farm and use for grazing,” said Mr. Asad, the farmer who came across the anti-tank mine. “I thank MAG from all of my heart.”

Mr. Shwan, a shepherd from Chimany Ferqa, added: “Thanks to MAG, I have no fear from landmines and unexploded ordnance. MAG cleared a large area for us and taught us what to do if we spot a dangerous item.

“We all know how to contact MAG and we are very happy to know that they will respond very quickly.”

The area had been used for ammunition and landmines storage by the former Iraqi military during the eight-year Iraq-Iran War.

“When our teams started working on this huge task, they started by carefully excavating the area using mechanical assets [pictured above right],” explained Muhammad Geology, MAG’s Mechanical Field Operations Manager in Chamchamal. “Then the excavated soil was manually checked by the Conventional Weapons Destruction team.

“After safely removing all these hazardous items, our excavators reinstated the excavated soil back to its original place. This meant that the landowner didn’t have to spend time preparing his farmland, because we did that for him.”

MAG continues to deliver risk education to different groups of local communities to ensure that the villagers can live and work safely in such a high contaminated region.

MAG relies on donations to clear the remnants of war, such as landmines. Please donate online now. Your generosity makes a remarkable difference to the lives of families affected by conflict.

(Source: MAG)

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.

The Iraqi elite see the issue of Iraq’s Jews in two ways: Nostalgia about a beautiful past, and a continuing tragedy of forced displacement which is not over yet. Although the expulsion of the Jews from Iraq was a painful tragedy of murder, persecution, theft and civil rights violations, both sides still long to see the Jews return to Iraq, something that is nearly impossible. The Jews’ exit from Iraq was a key turning point in the country’s history. It significantly changed Iraq’s composition and societal structure.

The history of the Jews in Iraq goes back more than 2,500 years. Back then, the Jews were oppressed by Assyrian King Sennacherib and Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. After the Persian King Cyrus freed the Jews in 539 BCE, most did not return to Jerusalem because they had grown accustomed to living in the Diaspora, in countries which had become their own for 25 centuries throughout Kurdistan, Baghdad, Basra, Hillah and even the holy Shiite city of Najaf. The Jews of Iraq left a significant impact on Mesopotamian civilization in general and on Jewish history in particular. The Old Testament and Jewish law were rewritten by Ezra and other Babylonian Jewish scholars.

The Jews coexisted in Iraq for thousands of years without conflict with other Iraqi constituencies. So the Jewish displacement in the middle of the 20th century was a shock to them and to Iraqis in general, because it happened under complex circumstances in which the pan-Arab and Zionist currents collided. Nazi ideology also affected the Iraqi arena during World War II.

The harassment of the Jews was accompanied by a series of inhumane acts that included the killing of hundreds, the injuring of thousands, the destruction of many Jewish homes and much of their property and forced displacement from Iraq through a series of laws and legal procedures that stripped them of their Iraqi nationality and confiscated their money throughout the second half of the 20th century, until almost all were gone.