How oil is bringing Iraq, Egypt closer

By Mustafa Saadoun for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi called on Egyptian companies to participate in oil investment contracts. He said during a meeting with the Egyptian ambassador in Baghdad, Hassan Ahmed Darwish, “It is necessary to strengthen relations between Iraq and Egypt, especially in the oil business.”

On the same day, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi spoke with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi over the phone to discuss the bilateral relations between the two countries and to unite efforts in the fight against terrorism.

Although Abadi was preoccupied with the battle of Mosul, that did not prevent him from contacting Sisi, which underlines Egypt's importance for Iraq as well as the significance of improving the Iraqi-Egyptian relationship in light of the current Saudi-Egyptian tension.

The meeting and phone call came a week after the Riyadh-Cairo relationship suffered a blow following Egypt voting in favor of the Russian project on the Syrian crisis. The fact that Iraq quickly communicated with the Egyptian government implies an Iraqi desire to rearrange its ties at the Arab level.

Iraq’s inclination to strengthen the relationship with Egypt in the oil business was met with an Egyptian desire to do the same, especially since the latter is experiencing some tension with Saudi Arabia. Thus, Iraq seems like a good option as an oil-rich country to resort to.

Iraq, which is also not on good terms with Saudi Arabia, wants to invest in the crisis between Riyadh and Cairo and give Egypt a chance to prevent its economic conditions from deteriorating now that its former ally, Saudi Arabia, is out of the picture. Thus, Iraq gains an important Arab country like Egypt and benefits from Saudi Arabia’s loss of such an important Arab ally.

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