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Shia leader Moqtada Al-Sadr has indicated he plans to end his political retirement in a return to public life that comes as the federal parliament continues to grapple with the election of a new speaker. The political arena in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is just as turbulent, with local parliamentary elections planned for June now delayed.

Iraq
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Baghdad and Ankara signed more than 24 agreements and memoranda of understanding during President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visit to the Iraqi capital. Defence, water and energy issues were to the fore, but there are still some policy mismatches, not least over attitudes to the Kurdish PKK militia group.

Iraq
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Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shiaa Al-Sudani travelled to Washington, Houston and Michigan in April, holding talks with US President Joe Biden, major energy and defence companies and members of the Iraqi diaspora.

Iraq
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Qatar and the UAE have thrown their weight behind plans to develop a trade route linking Europe and the Gulf via Iraq – a move which suggests Abu Dhabi may be looking more seriously at potential alternatives to the India-Europe trade corridor running through Israel, which it had backed prior to the Gaza war.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Israel | Iraq
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Former minister Najah Al-Shammari is alleged to have fraudulently claimed benefits in Sweden at the time he was serving as defence minister in the Baghdad government.

Iraq
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Elections to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq’s parliament are expected to go ahead as planned in June, despite the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s boycott – and the KDP faces having to make an embarrassing climb-down or watch as its political power is undermined, but if it does sit out the election there will also be difficult questions about the incoming regional legislature’s legitimacy.

Iraq
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Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Sudani’s government is looking for a new international partner to take on Shell’s 49% stake in the 1.8m t/yr Nebras petrochemicals project in Basra province, after the European major pulled out of the much-delayed scheme

Iraq
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Regional elections are expected, with further delays: A polling day for the long-delayed sixth set of elections to the Kurdistan Parliament has yet to be announced. In August 2023, Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) President Nechirvan Barzani issued a decree scheduling the elections for 25 February.

Iraq
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The impact of four-month-old Gaza conflict between Hamas and Israel is steadily spreading around the region, bringing fresh instability to Iraq where the US and Iran-backed militia are engaging in an escalating series of strikes and counter-strikes. While Qatar and Egypt continue to push on the diplomatic front, the risk of wider confrontation breaking out is rising.

Iran | Iraq | Qatar
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Iraq is buffeted by regional conflicts and domestic political and economic pressures; the dinar remains stressed and the population even more so. This is the first of a much-expanded series of GSN Risk management reports, in an online format intended to provide easy-to-access updates, analysis and contexts as a point of entry into this complex, often opaque region.

Iraq
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US major ExxonMobil has sold its interests in the West Qurna-1 oil field to the state-owned Basra Oil Company and Indonesia’s Pertamina, leaving China National Petroleum Corporation’s PetroChina arm as the biggest shareholder in this once widely-coveted asset.

Iraq
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The decision by Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court to remove Mohammed Rikan Hadid Al-Halbousi from his position as speaker of the Council of Representatives (parliament) could undermine the court’s standing and increase the likelihood that it will turn it into another political battleground.

Iraq
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Polls will be held on 18 December in all parts of Iraq other than the Kurdistan region. The vote will be an important test for the relative strengths of the main Shia and Sunni blocs, but will also offer an insight into the standing of those behind the 2019 Tishreen protest movement.

Iraq
Issue 1181 - 21 November 2023

EBRD: Baghdad joins development bank

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Iraq joined the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in November, taking the London-based multilateral's number of shareholders to 74. Joining the bank means Baghdad will be able to apply for financial and policy support from the EBRD.

Iraq
Free

Hussein Ali Saleh Al-Fadala has taken up his position as Qatar's first consul general in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Qatar opened its consulate in Erbil during the summer.

Iraq | Qatar