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Turkey, Iraq Renew Cooperation

Turkey, Iraq Renew Cooperation

By John Lee.

Turkey and Iraq have agreed to closer cooperation in their fight against the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, IS).

During Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s visit to Baghdad, he and his Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi said they were confident of improving relations between the countries and making them even stronger than before.

“We have a key agreement to exchange information and have full security cooperation,” Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told the news conference.

Iraq’s stability and peace is Turkey’s stability and peace,” Davutoğlu added, before inviting Mr. al-Abadi and his ministers to a joint Cabinet meeting in late December.

(Source: Hurriyet Daily News, ABC News, Prime Minister’s Office)

Posted in Construction & Engineering0 Comments

Iraq On Verge Of Economic Collapse?

Iraq On Verge Of Economic Collapse?

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

A Bigger Threat Than The Extremists: Iraq On Verge Of Economic Collapse?

The high cost of fighting the extremist Islamic State group, the worldwide decrease in oil prices, corruption and a lack of sensible economic forward planning mean that Iraq may be on the verge of major economic disaster.

Over the past week or so the Iraqi government has been busy discussing the state of the country’s economy. After a number of meetings with his new Cabinet, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced that his government would be adopting a set of austerity measures. But the salaries of civil servants and the military were safe, he added.

Despite this though, many local economists and business people fear that an economic downturn is coming. There are several major issues with Iraq’s economy right now. The most important of these include fluctuations in world oil prices, the high cost of the current security crisis and the Iraqi military’s fight against extremists –plus the fact that the previous government, headed by former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, never managed to approve 2014’s national budget.

International organisations also seem concerned. Last week the International Monetary Fund, or IMF, predicted that Iraq’s economy would shrink by 2.75 percent in 2014 – its first contraction since 2003and the US-led invasion of the country that wreaked major economic havoc.

Global oil prices have been declining for several months now and have dropped to around US$80 a barrel for Brent crude. Because most of the country’s income is provided by oil sales and the oil industry, Iraq is obviously impacted by falls in price.

Another problem lies in the way that the previous Iraqi government estimated its national budget. To come up with estimated incoming revenues, financiers would subtract US$15 off the real price of each expected barrel to be produced and sold.

Posted in Industry & Trade, Politics, Security0 Comments

Video: Kuwait Energy CEO on Operating in Iraq

Video: Kuwait Energy CEO on Operating in Iraq

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

Sara Akbar, the chief executive of privately-owned Kuwait Energy, says the company has no issues working in southern Iraq despite the current conflict in the country.

She says being native to Iraq makes life far easier in Iraq for the company compared to foreign groups.

Posted in Oil & Gas0 Comments

‘Ghost’ Soldiers Haunt Iraqi Army

‘Ghost’ Soldiers Haunt Iraqi Army

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

The Iraqi army includes “ghost” soldiers, a purely Iraqi term used to describe members whose names are registered in the wages and salaries lists, but who are not actually present in the military ranks. Their wages go to leaders who cover for their absence.

There are ghost employees in state departments as well; they are absent in reality, but present in terms of official staff who enjoy salaries and privileges.

Al-Monitor was unable to interview officers who benefit from these ghost employees. Instead, it met with former lawmaker and leader in the Mutahidoun bloc, Mohammed Othman al-Khalidi, in Baghdad. He confirmed this phenomenon saying, “The ghost employees were one of the reasons behind the shocking collapse of the Iraqi army before the Islamic State (IS) in Mosul.

Mosul, the second biggest city in Iraq, fell into the hands of IS on July 10, after a sudden withdrawal of Iraqi troops.

Khalidi described these unreal soldiers as “ghosts in the army’s ranks, who get paid for staying home. This pushed the competent authorities to resort to armed militias to fill the gap within an army that failed to defend its country.”

The Iraqi army was established in 1921, and in 2003 the leader of the US occupational authority in Iraq, Paul Bremer, reformed it. Back then, the army included around 400,000 soldiers, but today, there are only 170,000.

According to statistics, whose source he did not mention, Khalidi estimated that 30% of the army members were “ghosts.”

Asked about measures taken to limit this phenomenon, he said, “We asked to restructure the armed forces, as part of the National Guard project,” adding, “The partisan designations by political parties and forces allowed the presence of numerous ghosts in all state facilities, and not only in the military institution.”

Posted in Security0 Comments

ISIL Aims to Tear Iraq Apart, warns UN

ISIL Aims to Tear Iraq Apart, warns UN

The atrocious crimes perpetrated by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) risk plunging Iraq into catastrophe as the country reels from bitter sectarian tensions and a growing humanitarian crisis affecting over 5 million people, top United Nations officials warned today, as they called on the international community to increase efforts in aiding Iraq’s full transition towards a stable democracy.

Briefing the UN Security Council this morning, UN envoy for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, and UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, delivered an ominous assessment of the on-the-ground situation in Iraq, amid an ongoing offensive perpetrated by ISIL militants and a growing number of internally displaced persons (IPDs) fleeing the brutal violence.

“ISIL’s strategy is obvious – to insert themselves in the ethnic and religious fault lines of Iraq, to undermine legitimate authorities and to spread fear among all communities,” said Nickolay Mladenov in his address to the Council. “Their goals are also clear – to destroy the Iraqi State and replace it with a ‘State of Terror’ built on genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Such a “State of Terror” governed by ISIL and spanning the territory of Iraq and neighbouring Syria would then ultimately seek to advance on the rest of the region, warned Mr. Mladenov, destabilize bordering States and “threaten global peace and security.”

The emergence of ISIL as a cogent threat to the democratic and humanitarian stability of Iraq has been steady yet devastating. Adopting a Takfiri belief system used by many extremely radical religious groups, including Nigeria’s Boko Haram, ISIL militants automatically assume the authority to declare anybody to be kafir, or apostate, condemning thousands of ethnic and religious minorities and women and girls to gross human rights violations and, in many cases, death.

Posted in Security0 Comments

List of International Oil Companies in Iraqi Kurdistan

The following is a list of International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in Iraqi Kurdistan under licences granted by the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Natural Resources in Erbil:

Austria
OMV

Canada
Groundstar Resources
Niko Resources
Shamaran Petroleum
Talisman Energy
Vast Exploration
WesternZagros

China
Addax Petroleum

Hungary
MOL

India
Reliance Industries

Norway
DNO International

Papua New Guinea
Oil Search

Russia
Gazprom

South Korea
Korea National Oil Company

Turkey
Dogan Enerji
Genel Energy
Petoil

United Arab Emirates
Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA)

United Kingdom
Afren
Gulf Keystone Petroleum
Perenco
Sterling Energy

United States
Aspect Energy
Chevron
Hess
Hunt Petroleum
Murphy Oil Corporation

Please click here to see a list of oil companies with licences granted by the Ministry of Oil in Baghdad.

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List of International Oil Companies in Iraq

The following is a list of International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in Iraq under licences granted by the Ministry of Oil in Baghdad:

  • BP
  • Chevron Corporation
  • China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC)
  • China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC)
  • DNO International
  • Dragon Oil
  • Eni
  • ExxonMobil
  • Gazprom
  • Genel Energy
  • Heritage Oil
  • Hunt Oil
  • Inpex
  • Japan Petroleum Exploration Company (Japex)
  • KazMunaiGas (KMG)
  • Kogas (Korea Gas Corporation)
  • Kuwait Energy Company
  • Lukoil
  • Marathon Oil Corporation
  • Occidental Petroleum
  • Pakistan Petroleum
  • Petronas
  • Shell
  • Sonangol
  • Statoil
  • Talisman Energy
  • Total
  • Türkiye Petrolleri Anonim Ortaklığı (TPAO)

Please click here to see a list of oil companies with licences granted by the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ministry of Natural Resources in Erbil.

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Iraq’s Excessive Holidays “Cost $150bn”

Iraq’s Excessive Holidays “Cost $150bn”

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

Given the many official and unofficial holidays in Iraq, the country seems to be almost on permanent vacation throughout the year. Schools find themselves unable to complete their curricula, while economists warn against a recession due to the excessive number of holidays.

Iraq recognizes 150 official vacation days, which is equivalent to one-third of the year, according to a law that was passed by the Iraqi parliament in April 2013.

According to this law, some cities with religious affiliations such as Karbala, Najaf and Khadimiya are allowed to determine their own holidays, and thus the number of vacation days.

In addition to the large number of holidays in Iraq, time off can sometimes extend for longer periods than specified by the law, as happened at the beginning of November. For 2014, the Iraqi parliament had approved six days for Eid al-Adha, yet the holiday lasted seven days, and since Eid started before the weekend, the holiday actually lasted 10 days.

As for Ashoura — which commemorates the death of Hussein ibn Ali, the third of the twelve Imams in Shiism — the commemorations that started on Nov. 3 will last for 40 days, during which many streets and squares are closed, and most government departments and schools are quasi-closed, especially in the Shiite-majority cities in the south.

The large number of days per year schools and universities in Iraq are closed has a negative impact on teachers and students alike, causing educational levels to deteriorate significantly. Schools fail to complete their curricula and students receive a minimal education that is insufficient to develop their skills.

Posted in Education & Training, Industry & Trade0 Comments

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