Bahrain, Baghdad, and Barrels of Oil

As Bahrain declares a three-month state of emergency, and invites troops from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to help quell the protests, the effects of that particular unrest are being felt strongly in Iraq.

Despite having plenty of local issues to complain about, thousands on Iraqi have responded to calls from Moqtada al-Sadr to take to the streets in protest at Bahrain's heavy-handed reaction to peaceful demonstrations.

Within the administration, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has voiced his concern that the protests will inflame sectarian tensions, while Speaker Osama Nujaifi and Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari will meet on Thursday to consider an official response.

Meanwhile, we are 17 days into al-Maliki's 100-day deadline for reforms at home; while this was an ultimatum to his ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq has suggested that Maliki himself should step down if the government fails to meet the 100-day target to improve.

But with oil prices remaining high, even after recent falls, the indications are that Iraq will at least have more revenue available to fund these badly-needed improvements.

For more information on how Upper Quartile and AAIB can assist your business in Iraq, please contact Gavin Jones or Adrian Shaw.

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