Tag Archive | "Saudi Arabia"

Yemen War Fuels Iraqi Sectarianism

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.

Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen has stirred the Iraqi sectarian divide.

While the Shiite majority opposes the campaign, the Sunnis are voicing support for it. These differing positions, expressed for the Shiites by the National Alliance and for the Sunnis by the Union of Nationalist Forces, led to a disagreement at a meeting of Iraqi political forces held at the home of parliament Speaker Salim al-Jubouri on March 29, when the Sunnis rejected a Shiite alliance proposal to issue a statement condemning the Saudi-led military operation.

Vice president Osama Najafi, a Sunni, had on March 28 announced his support for the “Arab alliance, which aims to undermine the Houthi influence in Yemen.” In an April 1 TV interview, Ammar al-Hakim, a Shiite and head of the Islamic Supreme Council, described the military intervention in Yemen as “a costly adventure with uncalculated consequences.”

Laith Shubbar, an academic researcher and presidential adviser, told Al-Monitor, “This war has effectively contributed to fueling sectarianism not only in the Iraqi conflict, but in the entire region. The ​​wars, disputes and media fuss plaguing the area clearly reflect ongoing sectarian mobilization, which distracts the people of the region with internal fighting and conflicts in a bid to weaken them.”

Operation Decisive Storm has also divided Iraq’s religious institutions. The Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars announced its backing of the campaign in a statement issued March 29, referring to it as the “Arab effort aimed at supporting the Yemeni people and confronting the Iranian tide.” On the other hand, the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the Sadrist movement, categorized the operation in a March 27 interview as “interference in the affairs of the Yemeni people.”

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Saudi FM: Iran is Taking Over Iraq

By John Lee.

The Saudi Foreign Minister, Saud al-Faisal (pictured), has told reporters in Riyadh that “Iran is taking over Iraq.

The comments were made during a joint press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry, in which Kerry said the United States was keeping an eye on Iran’s ‘destabilizing’ acts, adding that his country was aware of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani’s presence and activity in Iraq.

Soleimani is reportedly overseeing Shiite militias in the major offensive to expel Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants from the city of Tikrit, according to Al Arabiya News.

Responding to the claim, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari told Reuters:

“Iran has supported Iraq but did not send armies to Iraq and did not interfere in Iraq’s sovereignty.

“We want relations with Saudi Arabia and with Iran … Our openness to Saudi Arabia does not mean our relations with other countries will flag … and this does not mean Iraq is becoming Persian.”

(Source: Al Arabiya News, Reuters)

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Saudi Arabia to Open Consulate in Erbil

A high ranking delegation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, headed by Mr. Abdul-Rahman al-Shahri, visited Kurdistan Region to prepare the opening of the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Erbil in a near future.

In a meeting held yesterday with the Kurdistan Region Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, Mr. al-Shahri stated that the decision of opening the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Erbil was taken personally by His Majesty King Abdulla bin Abdul-Aziz.

He expressed his hope that it would help developing and strengthening the relations between Erbil and Riyadh in various fields, including providing assistance to those who wish to accomplish their duty of Hajj or Umrah pilgrimage.

He pointed out that opening of the Consulate in Erbil will take place shortly after the Saudi Arabian Embassy begins its mission in Baghdad, which is expected to be soon.

Prime Minister Barzani welcomed the decision of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to open an Embassy in Baghdad and a Consulate in Erbil. He said that opening the Embassy in Baghdad would help the normalisation and development of ties between Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

He added that whilst relations between Saudi Arabia and the Kurdistan Region have always been friendly, it is hoped that they would further develop in the future, helping to encourage Saudi Arabian investment in the Kurdistan Region.

The Prime Minister also reiterated that the Kurdistan Regional Government is ready to provide all the assistance and cooperation necessary for the opening of the Saudi Arabian Consulate.

(Source: KRG)

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Saudis Building Iraq Border Wall

By Patrick Schmidt.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recently announced a plan to build a 600-mile “Great Wall” along its border with Iraq. The announcement follows continued violence in Iraq as the Islamic State (IS) still controls vast swaths of the country.

The plan had previously been discussed in Saudi Arabia as early as 2006, but was abandoned once the security situation in Iraq improved.

The wall consists of multiple layers of barriers, and fences along with surveillance equipment and watchtowers. The border fence currently is composed of multiple layers of barriers.

Saudi Arabia recently reinforced its border security with the deployment of 30,000 National Guard troops. The country has undertaken a similar project on its border with Yemen.

(Source: The Telegraph, UPI)

(Flag image via Shutterstock)

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New Hopes for Iraq-Saudi Pipeline

By John Lee.

Following the strengthening of relations between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and the planned reopening of the Saudi embassy in Baghdad next week, there is now a real possibility that the oil pipeline between the two countries could be reinstated.

Saudi Arabia closed its embassy in Baghdad following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and it took over the pipeline in 2001 as compensation for Iraqi debts.

Worldbulletin reports that the Saudi-Iraqi pipeline at one time carried one million barrels of oil per day to Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast, and the condition of the pipeline has not deteriorated significantly.

The Iraqi Oil Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has reportedly come out in support of the pipeline.

(Source: Worldbulletin)

(Flag image via Shutterstock)

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Saudi Arabia to Reopen Diplomatic Facilities

By Patrick Schmidt.

After more than twenty-five years without an embassy in Iraq, the Saudi Foreign Ministry has announced that it will reopen its embassy in Baghdad.

Saudi officials will travel to the country this week to begin preparations for the construction of the new facility.

Saudi Arabia also plans to open a consulate in Erbil.

In an unrelated development, two Saudi border guards have been killed and a third wounded in a suicide bomb attack at the frontier town of Judayyidat Arar, close to the border with Iraq’s Anbar province.

(Sources: IBTimes, BBC)

(Flag image via Shutterstock)

Posted in Industry & Trade, Oil & GasComments (1)

Iraq and Russia Maintain Oil Glut

By John Lee.

Iraq and Russia are leading the global surge in oil exports despite a highly competitive market. This has maintained low prices not seen since 2009, with a February settlement for Brent Crude at $56.42 a barrel.

Bloomberg reported record export data of 10.6 million barrels a day from Russia and 2.9 million bpd from Iraq, a rate not seen since 1980, the height of the post nationalisation oil industry under Saddam Hussein.

Slowing Chinese economic growth and a slowdown in European manufacturing, as well as Saudi geopolitical motivations have created an unprecedented oil market.

A strong dollar has also contributed to what analyst Walt Zimmerman described as a “double whammy” for prices.

This has forced oil dependent nations such as Iraq to urgently review their budgets for 2015.

(Source: Bloomberg)



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Minister Boosts Relations with Saudi Arabia

By John Lee.

Foreign Minister, Dr. Ibrahim Al Jaafari, stressed that the strategic priorities of the Iraqi diplomacy is to restore Iraqi-Arab relations to normal, calling for intensifying efforts and cooperation to eradicate terrorism, which today constitutes a threat to all countries in the region.

These statements came during the official visit carried out by President of the Republic of Iraq, Dr. Fuad Masum, to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia heading an official delegation comprising Dr. Ibrahim Al Jaafari and a number of Ministers upon an invitation from the K.S.A.

The Minister said in a press statement that the purpose of this visit is to restore relations to normal in line with the interests of the Iraqi and Saudi peoples, stressing that the terrorist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) threatens Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia and all the countries in the region, a thing which requires restoring relations between the two countries rapidly.

The Minister praised the Saudi position regarding the Iraq war against ISIL, saying that the Saudi side revealed excellent understanding and frank and clear stance expressed by His Majesty the King of K.S.A. by denouncing ISIL, pointing to the importance of cooperation against the common threat; the international terrorism.

(Source: MoFA)

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