By John Lee.

Contrary to recent reports that the US had granted a waiver to Iraq to allow it to continue buying power from Iran, a State Department spokeswoman reportedly said on Wednesday that this was not the case.

Reuters quotes Morgan Ortagus as telling reporters that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has not made a decision on this issue.

(Source: Reuters)

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

US grants Iraq reprieve to continue buying Iranian gas

The United States has decided to grant Iraq a third 90-day sanctions waiver so it can continue to purchase gas from its sole provider, Iran, giving Baghdad some much-needed breathing room.

On May 22 in Baghdad, Joey Hood, US chargé d’affaires in Iraq, stressed to reporters that the waivers will not continue indefinitely, so the United States is working with Iraq to reduce its dependence on Iran.

Click here to read the full story.

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

PMU economic offices undermine fragile stability in Mosul

Escalating tensions between the United States and Iran are spilling over into Iraq as the United States orders the evacuation of all non-emergency government personnel following Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s unexpected visit to the country.

Some of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), like Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba and Asaib Ahl al-Haq, are spreading their influence into Iraqi politics and the Iraqi economy, in addition to their influence in the military and security sectors — occasionally threatening to attack US troops in Iraq.

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

Tribalco LLC, Bethesda, Maryland, has been awarded a $14,425,217 firm-fixed-price Foreign Military Sales (Iraq) contract for computer hardware, services and MEMEX software.

One bid was solicited with one bid received. Work will be performed in Bethesda, Maryland, with an estimated completion date of May 22, 2020.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

By Aaron Majid, for Foreign Policy. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

These days, Tehran is having trouble getting what it wants from its neighbor—a development Washington can encourage by backing off.

It almost goes without saying these days that Iran dominates its western neighbor. On April 27, for example, Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed tweeted that Iran’s regime “controls” Iraq.

Now-U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton once compared Tehran’s grip on Iraq to the Soviet Union’s stranglehold over Eastern Europe during the late 1940s.

Click here to read the full story.

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

Will the Trump administration abort Iran’s land bridge to the Mediterranean?

As the showdown between Washington and Tehran escalates elsewhere in the Gulf, Iran is giving high priority to an effort to secure, control and reopen the al-Bukamal border crossing at Qaim, the only Syrian-Iraqi border crossing under Iranian control, to solidify its influence in the Levant and mitigate the impact of US sanctions.

It remains to be seen, however, whether Iran will pull off this move and how the Donald Trump administration might react.

Click here to read the full story.

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

Iraqi factions a wild card in US-Iran blame game

It’s hard to tell what’s really on the minds of Iranian and US officials in the flurry of words they’ve exchanged this week, but Baghdad has been perfectly clear about any potential confrontation between the two: not in my backyard.

Amid prolonged dares and double-dares between Tehran and Washington — punctuated with claims from both sides that they don’t want a war — Iraq has made it known it won’t become a proxy battleground.

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed the nomination of Ambassador Matthew Tueller to be the Ambassador to Iraq.

Tueller has most recently served as U.S. Ambassador to Yemen.

A native of Utah, Utah, his other overseas assignments have included Ambassador to Kuwait, Deputy Chief of Mission at Embassy Cairo; Political Minister Counselor at Embassy Baghdad; Deputy Chief of Mission at Embassy Kuwait; Political Counselor at Embassy Riyadh; Chief of the U.S. Office in Aden, Yemen; Deputy Chief of Mission at Embassy Doha; Political Officer at Embassy London; and Political Officer and Consular Officer at Embassy Amman.

His Washington assignments have included Deputy Director in the Office of Northern Gulf Affairs and Egypt Desk Officer.

(Sources: US Embassy, US State Department)

From the U.S. Embassy in Iraq:

The U.S. State Department has ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. Government employees from Iraq, both at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. Consulate in Erbil.

Normal visa services at both posts will be temporarily suspended.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Iraq.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad hasd advised all U.S. citizens of heightened tensions in Iraq and the requirement to remain vigilant.

Actions to Take:

  • Do not travel to Iraq
  • Avoid places known as U.S. citizen gathering points.
  • Keep a low profile
  • Be aware of your surroundings

Assistance:

U.S. Embassy Baghdad
Al-Kindi Street, International Zone, Baghdad
Telephone (during business hours)

From Iraq:  0760-030-3000;

From the United States:  301-985-8841
U.S. Citizen Emergency After-Hours Telephone (ask for the duty officer)

From Iraq:  0760-030-3000;

From the United States:  301-985-8841

E-mail: BaghdadACS@state.gov
Website: https://iq.usembassy.gov/

U.S. Consulate General Erbil
413 Ishtar, Ankawa Erbil, Iraq
Telephone (during business hours)

From Iraq:  0760-030-3227;

From the United States:  240-264-3467 extension 4554
U.S. Citizen Emergency After-Hours Telephone (ask for the duty officer)

From Iraq:  066-211-4554;

From the United States:  240-264-3467

E-mail: ErbilACS@state.gov
Website: https://iq.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/erbil/

State Department – Consular Affairs
888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444

(Source: US Embassy)