By John Davison and Dmitry Zhdannikov BAGHDAD/ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Iraq's oilfields in the disputed Kirkuk region have taken on new significance after the United States restored oil sanctions against neighbouring Iran. Washington is pressuring Baghdad to resume exports that stopped last year. Iraq aims to raise its export capacity to 8.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in the coming years from less than 5 million bpd currently, 1 million of which could come via Kirkuk. But that resumption is not just a question of turning the tap back on. WHY IS KIRKUK SO IMPORTANT? Volume and revenue. The halting of exports from Kirkuk stopped nearly 300,000 bpd flowing out of Iraq towards Turkey and international markets - causing a net revenue loss of some $8 billion since the stoppage last year. Most of Iraq's exports come from southern fields, but Kirkuk is one of the biggest and oldest oilfields in the Middle East, estimated to contain about 9 billion barrels of recoverable oil. The United States … [Read more...] about Why are Iraq’s Kirkuk oilfields so important?
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - An air strike by a Turkish warplane "neutralised" 14 militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, the military said on Sunday, destroying hideouts and armouries. The Turkish army uses the phrase neutralise when it has killed, captured or wounded combatants. The air strike carried out on Saturday targeted the Avasin region, the military said. "Fourteen armed members of the separatist terror organisation, who were in preparation for an attack on military bases, were neutralised. Weapons, hideouts and armouries were destroyed," the military said, using its term for the PKK. Turkey regularly carries out air strikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq, where the group is based in the Qandil mountains. The PKK, considered a terrorist organisation by the United States, the European Union and Turkey, has waged a three-decade insurgency in Turkey's largely Kurdish southeast that has killed about 40,000 people. (Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing … [Read more...] about Turkish air strike “neutralises” 14 Kurdish militants in Iraq
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Airstrikes by Turkish warplanes have "neutralised" 15 militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, the military said on Twitter on Saturday, destroying hideouts and armouries belonging to the group. The Turkish army uses the phrase neutralise when it has killed, captured or wounded combatants. The air strikes carried out on Friday targeted the Gara, Zap and Avasin-Basyan regions of northern Iraq, Turkish military said, adding that the militants were believed to be preparing to carry out an attack. "Fifteen armed members of the separatist terror organisation, who were in preparations for an attack to military bases, were neutralised, hideouts and armouries were destroyed by air strikes carried out on Nov. 9," the military said, using the term it applies to the PKK. Turkey regularly carries out air strikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq, where the group is based in the Qandil mountains. The PKK, considered a terrorist organisation … [Read more...] about Turkish air strikes ‘neutralise’ 15 Kurdish militants in Iraq
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq can continue to import natural gas and energy supplies from Iran for a period of 45 days, the United States has said, several days after reimposing sanctions on Tehran's oil sector. "The United States has given Iraq a temporary relief from the sanctions for 45 days to continue purchasing natural gas and electricity from Iran," the U.S. Embassy in Iraq said in a video published on its official Facebook page on Thursday. "This relief gives Iraq time to start taking steps towards energy independence," the video said. Iraq central bank officials said in August that the country's economy is so closely linked to Iran that Baghdad would ask Washington for exemptions from some of the sanctions. The current temporary waiver is conditional on Iraq not paying Iran for imports in U.S. dollars. Sanctions, which had been lifted under a 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by President Barack Obama's administration and five other world powers, were reimposed on Nov 5. They cover 50 … [Read more...] about U.S. grants Iraq 45-day waiver over Iran sanctions to import gas, electricity -U.S. Embassy
The recently appointed special representative for reconstruction in minority areas of Iraq for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) told Breitbart News he has a message for the Christians and other religious minorities who fled genocide at the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL): Return to your homeland, America has your back. In an interview with Breitbart News on Tuesday, Max Primorac said:I think the religious minorities have been so beaten and persecuted that they thought that they were abandoned. Abandoned by their own government. Abandoned by the international community. The message that I’m bringing is that America cares. America is with them. America is on the ground. They can count on the United States to be a country that leads the world in helping them return home. Addressing Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities who want to return, he stressed, “We’re your partner. We want to help you. We’re there on the ground. We’re … [Read more...] about USAID Urges Christians, Other Minorities to Return to Iraq: ‘America Is on the Ground’