It has been a busy week politically in Iraq, with both good and bad news emerging from the country:
- The last American combat brigade left the country on Thursday morning, seven years after the US-led invasion; 6,000 support troops will remain until the end of the month, and a further 50,000 will stay until the end of the year in a purely advisory capacity.
- The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has been blamed for several recent bomb attacks on the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline, has announced a ceasefire for the month of Ramadan.
- The constitutional challenge to Iraq's oilfield development contracts has reportedly been rejected by the Supreme Court on Monday.
- Talks between Ayad Allawi and Nouri al-Maliki have broken down, and even the loose coalition between the Iraqi National Alliance and the State of Law parties is showing signs of strain. Vice-president Adel Abdul Mahdi is being spoken of as a possible compromise candidate.
But as even a basic read of this week's news items will tell you, business is going ahead and plans are being made.
According to James Hogan, chief executive of UK bank HSBC in Iraq, “Iraq is at the next stage of development; we're moving beyond security considerations and into the economic recovery”.
In response to demand from our readers, Iraq Business News is today launching a new jobs page, with we are sure will be of use to companies and candidates alike.