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Turkey, Iraq Renew Cooperation

By , November 22, 2014 2:58 pm

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)

Iraq Business News

U.S. Urges Iraq to Make Use of the Military Aircraft it Bought

By , November 22, 2014 3:44 am

[unable to retrieve full-text content]WASHINGTON — The United States has urged Iraq to use its new military aircraft in the war against Islamic State of Iraq and Levant. Officials said Washington was pressing the Iraq Air Force to begin using its new fleet of C-130J air transports, which arrived in Baghdad in 2013.
Assyrian International News Agency

Airstrikes Continue Against ISIL in Syria and Iraq

By , November 21, 2014 4:20 pm

WASHINGTON — U.S. and partner-nation military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq over the past several days, conducting seven airstrikes in Syria and 23 in Iraq.

Strikes in Syria

Fighter and bomber aircraft in Syria conducted six airstrikes near Kobani destroyed four ISIL staging areas, two ISIL-occupied buildings, two ISIL tactical units, and suppressed an ISIL fighting position. Near Ar Raqqah, an airstrike damaged an ISIL barrack.

Strikes in Iraq

U.S. and partner nation military forces conducted 23 airstrikes in Iraq using fighter, attack, bomber and remotely-piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists.

Six airstrikes near Bayji destroyed three ISIL buildings, a bunker, two ISIL transport vehicles, five ISIL tactical units, an ISIL checkpoint and damaged another ISIL building. Near Sinjar, four airstrikes destroyed two ISIL barracks, an ISIL bunker and storage facility, an ISIL guard post, at least eight ISIL armored vehicles and a truck in a vehicle storage yard, as well as two tactical ISIL units. West of Kirkuk, three airstrikes destroyed five bunkers, two ISIL vehicles and an ISIL tactical unit. Near al Asad, four airstrikes destroyed four ISIL vehicles, an ISIL building, and struck three ISIL tactical units. Near Mosul, three airstrikes destroyed an ISIL guard post, an ISIL vehicle and two ISIL tactical units. Near Ramadi, two airstrikes destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL tactical unit, while also damaging an ISIL armored vehicle and an ISIL-occupied building. Finally, in Tal Afar, an airstrike damaged an ISIL-occupied airfield.

All aircraft returned to base safely. Airstrike assessments are based on initial reports.

The strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the threat they pose to Iraq, the region and the wider international community. The destruction of ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq further limits the terrorist group’s ability to project power and conduct operations.

Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Iraq include the U.S., Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Coalition Nations conducting airstrikes in Syria include the U.S., Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Assyrian International News Agency

Mutual Suspicion Hangs Over Turkish Prime Minister’s Visit to Iraq

By , November 20, 2014 5:32 pm

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq, right, and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey held a joint news conference in Baghdad on Thursday (Pool photo by Hadi Mizban).
Assyrian International News Agency

Video: Kuwait Energy CEO on Operating in Iraq

By , November 19, 2014 12:52 pm

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.

Iraq Business News

Baghdad Patriarch Hopes to See Francis in Iraq to Restore Christians’ Hope

By , November 19, 2014 1:38 am

Louis Raphael I Sako, Chaldean Patriarch of Iraq.Vatican City — “What we strongly wish from our dear Pope Francis is a visit to Iraq, even a brief one,” said Mar Louis Raphael I Sako, Chaldean Patriarch of Iraq, in his speech at the 2014 International Symposium organised by AsiaNews, held today at the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome.

For Iraqi Christians, this is “the closest they will feel his proximity and presence”, whilst for the country as a whole, it “will give a push” to Islamic-Christian coexistence, involving the West in a way “that fosters peace.”

The theme of this year’s meeting is Mission in Asia: from Pope John Paul II to Pope Francis, which aims to highlight the continuity between the missionary zeal of the Polish Pope and the first steps taken by Bergoglio in Asia and the Middle East.

In his speech, the Chaldean Patriarch said that “John Paul II had always been opposed to the war against Iraq” and the Western economic embargo that “caused the death of many Iraqis.”

Pope John Paul II “wanted to come to Iraq,” Mar Sako added, but could not “fulfil his wish” and had to “settle for a symbolic celebration” of the trip to Ur of the Chaldeans.

He did however show constant “fatherly and pastoral concern for our Churches, even though we are a small flock,” the patriarch noted.

Following in John Paul II’s footsteps, Pope Francis has expressed his support and solidarity for the Christians of Iraq and the Middle East “at a time of great trial,” as he did with his “prayer campaign” that “stopped the military intervention” in Syria and the visit by Card Fernando Filoni with displaced families on the pope’s behalf and as he is doing now with the special letter he “is now writing for us.”

Mar Sako went on to express gratitude for the help and solidarity expressed to his community, like the Adopt a Christian from Mosul campaign promoted by AsiaNews.

The Christian exodus is “the greatest challenge” that must be addressed, starting with the “liberation of Mosul and Christian villages in the Nineveh Plain” that have fallen into the hands of the militias of the Islamic State.

Lastly, Iraq’s Christian heritage must be protected, the patriarch warned, including the many “ancient churches that date back to the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries, as well as [other] monuments and the many still unpublished manuscripts.”

“I will not resign myself to an Iraq and a Middle East without Christians,” Mar Sako said in concluding, “we, who for 2000 years have born witness in the name of Jesus,” because “our contribution is essential to the social, cultural and religious life of our country.”

Assyrian International News Agency

Saudi Arabia Expands Iraq Buffer Zone

By , November 18, 2014 7:56 pm

Saudi Arabia has expanded a buffer zone that it has set up along its northern border with Iraq.

“The depth of the border has been increased by 20 kilometers (12 miles)”, the Saudi Press Agency quoted Mohammed al-Fahimi, a spokesman for the country’s northern region border guards, as saying on Tuesday.

However, Fahimi did not cite the previous depth of the buffer zone.

Saudi border officials also urged the kingdom’s citizens to stay away from the buffer zone.

In September, Saudi Arabia announced that it had installed multilayered fences, radars and other surveillance facilities along its borderline with the neighboring Iraq, where a US-led coalition have been waging airstrikes against the positions of ISIL Takfiri terrorists.

Saudi Arabia claims the buffer zone is created to protect the kingdom against the infiltration of weapon smugglers, drug traffickers and outlaws.

Saudi Arabia has an 800-kilometer border with Iraq.

Riyadh’s decision came a few days after Iraqi President Fuad Masum paid a visit to the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia is believed to financially and ideologically fuel ISIL terrorist group.

Iraq’s former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki accused neighboring Saudi Arabia in January of supporting terrorist groups operating inside his country.

“The current terrorism originates from Saudi Arabia,” Maliki said in an interview, blaming the country along with Qatar and Turkey for sponsoring terrorism in Syria and Iraq. Maliki was replaced by Haider al-Abadi in June.

ISIL terrorists are currently in control of large areas across eastern Syria and northern and western Iraq.

They have been carrying out horrific acts of violence, including public decapitations and crucifixions, against different Iraqi and Syrian communities such as Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, and Christians.

Assyrian International News Agency

Iraq Expects 2015 Budget Based on $80 Per Barrel Oil Price

By , November 18, 2014 8:32 am

Iraq Expects 2015 Budget Based on $ 80 Per Barrel Oil Price

Posted 2014-11-17 22:57 GMT

(Reuters) — OPEC producer Iraq expects to base its 2015 budget on an oil price of $ 80 per barrel, Oil Minister Adel Abdel Mehdi told parliament on Monday.

Oil prices have fallen to below $ 80 on abundant and weak demand from $ 115 a barrel in June. Scepticism that OPEC will cut supply when it meets on Nov. 27 have also weighed on the prices.

Iraq’s budget breakeven point for 2014 is above $ 100 a barrel according to the IMF, but Abdel Mehdi suggested production levels might rise next year.

He said government forecast southern Iraq output of 2.75 million barrels per day. “If Kurdistan and Kirkuk oil will enter, it is possible we reach numbers that will exceed the number …in (the) 2014 budget of 3.4 million barrels”.

The government was not able to present a 2014 budget to parliament but has pledged to detail spending at a later date. Finance Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said this month that the government had promised to set out a proper budget for 2015.

Venezuela, Ecuador and a Libyan OPEC official have called for OPEC to cut output, and so far only Kuwait and Iran have said a reduction is unlikely at the OPEC meeting.

Privately some OPEC delegates are talking of the need for some action, although they warn an agreement will not be easy to reach.

Iraq did not publicly comment on whether OPEC would need to cut output but it has said in the past it should be exempt from any official cuts by OPEC as it is struggling to build its economy after years of violence and war.

Reporting by Raheem Salman; Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Dominic Evans.

Assyrian International News Agency

Iraq Stock Market Report

By , November 18, 2014 2:40 am

Iraq Stock Market Report

Advertising Feature

Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 13th November 2014).

Please click here to download a table of listed companies and their associated ticker codes.

The RSISX index ended the week at ID1,383 (+2.5%)/ $ 1,495 (+2.2%) (weekly change) (-25.8% and -24.7% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 13.4bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD10.9bn ($ 9.1mn).

ScreenHunter_1220 Nov. 17 11.44

ISX Company Announcements

  • Iraq Registrar of Companies approved the decision of Gulf Commercial Bank (BGUC) to increase its capital from IQD250bn to IQD300bn through 2% rights and 18% bonus issues.
  • Bain Al-Nahrain Financial Inv. (VMES) will hold its AGM* on Nov. 19, 2014 to discuss and approve 2013 annual financial results and elect new board members. ISX suspended trading of VMES starting on Nov. 12, 2014.
  • Shares of Middle East for Prod. Fish (AMEF) resumed trading on Nov. 12, 2014, after they approved 2013 annual financial results and distributing 20% cash dividend (IQD0.20 per share).
  • Al-Khair for Financial Inv. (VKHF) resumed trading on Nov. 12, 2014 after fulfilling ISC’s disclosure requirements by disclosing 2013, 3M2014 and 6M2014 financial results.
  • AL- Batek Investment (VBAT) resumed trading on Nov. 12, 2014 after fulfilling ISC’s disclosure requirements by disclosing 2013 financial results.
  • Referenced to ISC decision no:2768/9 on Nov. 10, 2014, ISX decided to continue the suspension of trading of Mosul Bank (BMFI) until the bank disclose the status of the objection submitted by the shareholder “Karim Yousif” to AGM* decisions and submit the approved minutes of the AGM by Iraq Registrar of Companies.
  • Bank of Baghdad (BBOB) has confirmed the appointment of Mr. Faisal Al- Haimus as Managing Director of the Bank. Mr. Al -Haimus has over twenty years of banking experience and has held various executive positions in regional and international banks including Standard Chartered, HSBC and Mashreq Bank. (Iraq Directory)
  • Subscription on 144bn Dijlah & Furat Bank (BDFD) shares extended another 60 days starting on Nov. 9, 2014 to increase the capital to IQD250bn through rights issue. A cross transaction occurred on IQD9.9bn BDFD shares on Nov. 10, 2014. This represents 4.0% of BDFD capital.
  • A cross transaction occurred on IQD4.2K Modern Chemical Industries (IMCI) shares on Nov. 9, 2014.

Iraq Business News

Tide ‘Starting to Turn’ Against Islamic State As Iraq Signals Policy Shift

By , November 16, 2014 10:19 pm

The US chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Gen Martin Dempsey, has said the battle against Islamic State in Iraq is “starting to turn” as Iraqi forces appear to be lifting the militants’ months-long siege on the country’s main oil refinery at Baiji.

Speaking in Baghdad, the general said US air action has helped Iraqi and Kurdish fighters “pull Iraq back from the precipice”. However, he warned that defeating Islamic State could take “several years” and would depend on the inclusion of alienated Sunnis in the Shia fundamentalist-dominated government and armed forces.

Refusal to supply arms

So far the government has refused to provide arms to Sunni tribesmen battling Islamic State in the west and centre of the country, making it all the more difficult to persuade Sunnis to join the fight against the militants.

However, prime minister Haider al-Abadi has taken two cautious steps to distance himself from his predecessor, Nouri al-Maliki, whose policies are said to have paved the way for Islamic State’s occupation of 40 per cent of Iraq’s territory.

Although he is a member of Maliki’s Islamic Dawa Party, Abadi has dismissed 26 army officers and sent 10 into retirement in an anti-corruption drive, and appointed 18 commanders to new defence ministry posts. During eight years in office, Maliki made the armed forces a tool for advancing a sectarian Shia agenda and appointed loyalists to senior positions.

Army units were used as death squads and for rounding up and imprisoning dissident Sunnis. Posts were sold for tens of thousands of dollars and officers claimed salaries and upkeep for “ghost soldiers” whose names were on registers but did not exist.

Mismanagement and sectarianism undermined the morale of the army and security forces, who had been trained by a US that went along with Maliki’s practices until its forces pulled out at the end of 2011.

Officers changed sides

Professional officers who had served under ousted president Saddam Hussein or who had bolstered US forces in the campaign against al-Qaeda during 2007-08 were excluded, prompting them to join Islamic State, which seized control of Iraq’s second city, Mosul, and swept into Sunni areas in June.

Abadi has also reached an agreement with the Kurdish autonomous region, which would send about half the oil pumped in the Kurdish region to Baghdad in exchange for resumed funding from the federal budget for the salaries of Kurdish civil servants and peshmerga militia fighters. Baghdad had halted payments after the Kurds began exporting oil independently through Turkey.

This deal has ended the rift between Baghdad and Irbil, the Kurdish regional capital, and led the Kurds to drop threats of an independence referendum. The Kurds had been angered by Maliki’s refusal to cede any of Baghdad’s authority over oil exploitation in the Kurdish region. His removal restored relations between Baghdad and Irbil at a time when peshmerga forces have been playing a major role against Islamic State. About one-sixth of Iraq’s 30 million population are Kurds.

Assyrian International News Agency