Iraq and Gulf Analysis

An Iraq Blog by a Victim of the Human Rights Crimes of the Norwegian Government

Archive for June, 2009

The First Licensing Round Gets off the Ground: The Politics of Oil in Iraq

Posted by Reidar Visser on Sunday, 28 June 2009 16:00

On 29 and 30 June, major international oil companies are expected in Baghdad for the “first licensing round”, where they will submit bids for 20-year technical service contracts for some of Iraq’s biggest existing oil fields (including West Qurna, Rumaila and Zubair in the Basra area, as well as Kirkuk and Bai Hassan in Tamim governorate) and gas fields in Diyala and Anbar. The awards will be announced shortly after the IOCs have presented their bids… Full story here.

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Adib Describes the UIA Revival as an “Iranian” Project

Posted by Reidar Visser on Monday, 15 June 2009 23:59

It is an unusual admission published in a source that must also be described as unusual, at least as far as internal Shiite power struggles are concerned. But in a recent interview in Newsweek, no less, Maliki confidant Ali al-Adib, himself no stranger to Tehran, has described the ongoing process to resuscitate the moribund United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) as an undertaking directed from the Iranian capital. “They want everyone [among the Shiite Islamists] to return to one united power”, Adib says according to Newsweek. This seems to confirm the suspicion described in previous articles and papers (see below, as well as here) to the effect that the irreducible minimum of Tehran’s desiderata in Iraq is the maintenance of a kind of politics where sectarian identities are centre stage, and where a Shiite Islamist alliance offers Iran its best guarantee of continued support.

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Hakim Congratulates Khamenei over the “Success” of the Presidential Elections

Posted by Reidar Visser on Sunday, 14 June 2009 23:59

According to the Arabic-language Iranian television channel Al-Alam, Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim (who for the past few months has been in Tehran for cancer therapy) has sent a letter to Ali Khamenei congratulating him over the “success” of the presidential elections in Iran. Other allies of Iran in the Arab world, like Hizballah in Lebanon, have sent similar declarations of support.

The relationship between the pro-Iranian Shiite factions of Iraq and the various centres of power in Iran has always been a complicated subject. It therefore seems significant that one Iranian player who recently has been very active on the Iraqi track, Ali Larijani, has now also declared his support for Mahmud Ahmadinejad. Some observers believe that during his visit to Najaf in March, Larijani was instrumental in bringing an end to the rapprochement between Nuri al-Maliki and secularists such as Salih al-Mutlak.

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