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

Pro-Iran factions are pushing for the move just as the Islamic State is starting to hit back.

Momentum is building among deputies in the Iraqi parliament to oust U.S. troops entirely from the country—an outcome that would leave Iraq’s political future in the hands of neighboring Iran and leave its citizens more vulnerable to the Islamic State.

Today, the United States fields an estimated 5,200 troops in Iraq. They are there as part of a security agreement with the Iraqi government to advise, assist, and support that country’s troops in the fight against the Islamic State.

But the Iraqi parliament is expected to vote soon on draft laws calling for a full withdrawal. For now, things don’t look good for the troops.

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

Ride-sharing services Uber, from the United States, and Careem of Dubai, have reached an agreement for Uber to acquire Careem for $3.1 billion, consisting of $1.7 billion in convertible notes and $1.4 billion in cash. The acquisition of Careem is subject to applicable regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2020.

Uber will acquire all of Careem’s mobility, delivery, and payments businesses across the greater Middle East region, ranging from Morocco to Pakistan, with major markets including Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Upon closing, Careem will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uber, preserving its brand. Careem co-founder and CEO Mudassir Sheikha will lead the Careem business, which will report to its own board made up of three representatives from Uber and two representatives from Careem. Careem and Uber will operate their respective regional services and independent brands.

Established in July 2012, Careem operates in 120 cities across 15 countries and has created more than one million economic opportunities in the region.

Careem entered the Iraqi market in January 2018.

(Source: Uber)

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

As more factions within Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) are being designated as terrorists by the US administration on account of their close ties with the Iranian side, Tehran is moving toward pulling the Iraqi file from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and leaving it with the Foreign Ministry, local reports say.

This reported shift in Iranian policy would seek to address a number of critical concerns — none more important, perhaps, than protecting the PMU, which is striving to repurpose itself as a fully-fledged security institution, especially after Washington explicitly told Iranian authorities that supporting militias in Iraq must come to end as part of 12 requirements outlined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in November for the lifting of US sanctions.

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

The Trump administration has reportedly granted Iraq a further 90-day extension to the waiver exempting it from US sanctions on Iran.

CNBC quotes a senior State Department official as saying on condition of anonymity:

“While this waiver is intended to help Iraq mitigate energy shortages, we continue to discuss our Iran-related sanctions with our partners in Iraq.”

According to some energy analysts, without continued sanctions exemptions, Iraq could lose more than a third of its power overnight.

More here.

(Source: CNBC)

By John Lee.

US-based QSC has announced that GSL Professional will begin distributing QSC Systems and Live Sound portfolios in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) region, including Iraq, beginning 1 July 2019.

Ron Marchant, Senior Director Sales Management, QSC EMEASA, said:

As QSC continues to expand the Q-SYS Ecosystem and Live Sound portfolio and focus on specific vertical markets, we look forward to working with GSL Professional to provide new and existing customers the service and support needed in order to accelerate growth in the region.

Adrian Curtis, Managing Director, GSL Professional, said:

“As QSC continues to become a force in the market, GSL is the ideal partner to provide the technical expertise and design consult to ensure customers understand the breadth of the QSC portfolio while helping them deliver real business outcomes.”

(Source: QSC)

A U.S.-Iraq Security Partnership: Avoiding the Pitfalls Just Ahead

The dust of last year’s final campaign to destroy the Islamic State “caliphate” had hardly settled before talk of expelling U.S. forces began to circulate in Iraq’s newly seated Council of Representatives (COR), according to a report from The Washington Institute for Near East Policy:

This percolating sentiment was unsurprising in a body that for the first time included substantial numbers of often deeply anti-American militia members. Yet it exploded into public view following White House moves that deeply agitated the hypersensitive strain of nationalism blooming within Iraq’s body politic.

“When a subsequent bid to demand that U.S. forces depart gained fifty signatures in parliament, it raised the specter of 2011, when nationalist antipathy was a major factor in dooming a bilateral agreement to keep a small U.S. military presence in the country.

“Whether that happens again depends on the near-term course of the COR’s nationalist sentiment, Iran’s ability to exploit that sentiment, and the tenor of Washington’s reaction.

Click here to read the full report.

(Source: Washington Institute for Near East Policy )

By John Lee.

AeroVironment Inc., of Simi Valley, California, has been awarded a $17,356,084 firm-fixed-price Foreign Military Sales (Iraq) contract for Puma AE II C-Code International Digital Data Link systems.

One bid was solicited with one bid received.

Work will be performed in Simi Valley, California, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 18, 2021.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

By John Lee.

AeroVironment Inc., of Simi Valley, California, has been awarded a $17,356,084 firm-fixed-price Foreign Military Sales (Iraq) contract for Puma AE II C-Code International Digital Data Link systems.

One bid was solicited with one bid received.

Work will be performed in Simi Valley, California, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 18, 2021.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

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.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Baghdad on March 11 amid his government’s efforts to expand ties with Iraq to reduce the impact of US sanction on Iran’s economy.

Prior to departing Tehran, Rouhani remarked, “[Iran’s ties with Iraq] cannot be compared to Iraq’s relations with an occupying country like America, which is hated in the region.” The visit is Rouhani’s first one to Baghdad since taking office in 2013.

The Iranian leader’s three days in Iraq will include his signing a series of agreements on energy, transport, agriculture, industry and health as well as meetings with Iraqi officials. In preparation, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in Baghdad the day before Rouhani.

Iran aims to boost annual trade with its neighbor from $12 billion to $20 billion to help offset US sanctions, which are strangling its economy.

Click here to read the full story.

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

How will US sanctions affect Iran-Iraq economic relations?

The Trump administration is giving Iraq a few more months to continue buying oil and electricity from neighbouring Iran before the United States enforces sanctions against Tehran.

After years of conflict, Baghdad now relies heavily on Iran for goods and services.

And Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is visiting Iraq to solidify ties between the neighbours, trying to convince them to defy the US president.

Al Jazeera‘s Natasha Ghoneim reports from Baghdad: