August 1, 2023
- Iraqi-Iranian Agreement Signals Independence in Political Decision, Raising Questions about US Sanctions Implications (Al Mustaqila). Iraq and Iran have reached an agreement that allows Iraq to send 250,000 barrels of oil per day to Iran in exchange for Iranian natural gas, despite US sanctions. The deal highlights Iraq’s pursuit of an independent political decision, as it circumvents US sanctions through a barter system. The Biden administration seeks further details about the agreement’s implications on sanctions, while observers suggest a long-term oil pipeline to consolidate relations and assert Iraq’s independence from American pressures.
August 2, 2023
- Iraqi Oil Revenues Reach Over $8 Billion in July (Al Iraq News).The Ministry of Oil in Iraq reported that the country’s crude oil exports for July reached a total of 106.7 million barrels, generating revenues of more than 8.2 billion dollars. The average daily export quantities were approximately 3.4 million barrels, with the average price per barrel standing at $77.69. The statement also mentioned specific export figures to Jordan and from Qayyarah during the month.
- Currency Smuggling Network Dismantled in Iraq, Over $14 Million Seized (RT). The agency conducted a wide campaign to pursue currency smugglers, leading to the dismantling of the largest smuggling networks holding $14 million for smuggling. The arrested defendants admitted to using fictitious companies as a cover for their illegal activities. The smuggling network in Baghdad comprised 11 suspects, while 12 others involved in currency smuggling in the governorates of Basra, Diyala, and Muthanna were also apprehended with more than 300 million dinars in their possession.
August 3, 2023
- Iran’s Energy Deals in Iraq Flourish with Backing from Prime Minister (Al Iraq News). Iran’s head of Petroleum Products Exporters, Hamid Hosseini, announced Iraq’s agreement to exchange 30,000 barrels of crude oil and 70,000 barrels of diesel for Iranian gas from 1/8/2023. The incomplete European prisoner exchange led to gas cuts to Iraq, pressuring the US. America allowed Iraqi electricity debts to be deposited in non-Iraqi banks for 120 days to mitigate the situation.
- Trade Between Saudi Arabia and Iraq through Jdeidet Arar Land Port Surges to 913 Million Riyals in H1 2023 (Al Khaleej Online). Trade between Saudi Arabia and Iraq through the “Jdeidet Arar” land port in the northern border region of Saudi Arabia amounted to approximately 913 million riyals ($243.3 million) in the first half of 2023. Saudi exports to Iraq saw growth in March, reaching about 381 million riyals ($101.5 million), while imports from Iraq decreased to 8.6 million riyals ($2.2 million) in March.
August 4, 2023
- Prospects for Baghdad-Erbil Oil Agreement: Navigating Political Consensus (Sky News). Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shia’ al-Sudani emphasized the importance of achieving clarity in oil policy through a constitutional framework, enabling Iraq to engage in long-term agreements with international companies.
- Kurdistan Region Sets New Date for Parliamentary Elections Amidst Political Challenges (Al Nahar). Kurdistan Region sets February 25, 2024, for parliamentary elections after a year-long postponement due to political disputes. The elections are significant as the Iraqi Federal Court declared the extension of the current parliament’s term unconstitutional.
August 7, 2023
- Iraq Recovers Land on Iranian Border Amid Controversy Over Border Concessions (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Controversy surrounds Kuwaiti thanks to Basra’s governor over Umm Qasr. Amid the debate, news circulated about Iraq conceding to Iran in railway agreements. Iraqi officials deny ceding Umm Qasr to Kuwait or making further concessions to Iran in railway deals, countering earlier reports and social media claims.
- Baghdad Asks Washington and London to Hand Over Officials Involved in the “Theft of the Century” (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Iraqi Integrity Commission calls for extradition of ex-officials involved in “theft of the century” case. Head of commission, Haider Hanoun, urges US and UK to extradite former PM office director, intelligence service head, and ex-finance minister for stealing tax secretariats’ funds. Red notices issued via Interpol target those with US and British citizenship. Hanoun emphasizes commitment to pursuing justice and recovering stolen money.
- Iraqi Authorities Dismantle Major Drug Trafficking Network Extending Across Regions (Elaph). Iraqi authorities have successfully dismantled a significant drug trafficking network responsible for supplying and exporting narcotic pills and opium across multiple regions. The operation, supervised by the Minister of Interior, Abdul Amir Al-Shammari, in coordination with the Kurdistan region, led to the arrest of eight individuals involved in trafficking Captagon pills and opium. A factory producing Captagon pills was also discovered in Muthanna province. This action follows recent efforts to combat drug-related crimes in Iraq, where drug trafficking and abuse have become widespread concerns.
August 8, 2023
- Iraqi Defense Minister Leads Delegation to US for Bilateral Security Talks (Al Nahar).A senior Iraqi military delegation, led by Defense Minister Thabet Muhammad al-Abbasi, has begun an official visit to the United States at the invitation of the Pentagon. The delegation includes prominent figures such as Lieutenant General Abdul-Wahhab al-Saadi and Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Rashid Yarallah, among others. The purpose of the visit is to discuss the future relationship between the international coalition and Iraq, as well as bilateral security cooperation. The delegation will engage in a series of meetings with US Department of Defense officials to explore mutual interests and exchange intelligence information, particularly regarding counterterrorism efforts against groups like ISIS.
- Iran Announces Partial Payment of Gas Debt by Iraq, Technical Talks to Continue (Al Iraq News). Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs disclosed that Iraq has fulfilled a portion of its gas debt payments to Iran. The ministry confirmed the transfer of these funds to a third country, while highlighting that technical discussions will persist. This follows earlier news from July 3, 2023, when the head of the Iranian-Iraqi Chamber of Commerce, Yahya Al-Ishaq, declared that Iraq had settled its entire outstanding debt to Iran, totaling $10 billion.
August 9, 2023
- Baghdad and Washington Hold Talks on Future of Coalition Forces in Iraq (Elaph). A round of Iraqi-American dialogue for joint security cooperation began in Washington Tuesday, with discussions between the two countries’ defense ministers about the future of the international coalition forces in the country, which the United States leads…The Iraqi Minister of Defense, Thabet Al-Abbasi, met with his American counterpart, Lloyd Austin, at the Pentagon in Washington, during which they discussed joint security cooperation during the opening of the security cooperation dialogue between the United States and Iraq.
- Iraqi Supreme Court Allows Government Budget to Enter into Force (Al Sharq Al Awsat). After political controversy and mutual appeals that lasted for months between the government and parliament on the one hand and the Kurdistan Regional Government and the federal parliament on the other hand, the tripartite financial budget (2023-2024-2025) entered into force on Tuesday, after the Iraqi Prime Minister, Muhammad Shia Al-Sudani, won the battle in favor of his government after a long conflict…On Monday, the Federal Supreme Court, the highest judicial authority in the country, decided the appeals submitted to it, especially those related to the Kurdistan region…it rejected the appeals submitted by the Kurdistan regional government as illegal.
August 10, 2023
- Washington and Baghdad Renew their Commitment to Military Security Cooperation (Aljazeera). The United States and Iraq renewed their commitment to strengthening security and military cooperation and protecting regional stability today, Wednesday, after the joint security cooperation dialogue between them, which was held in Washington, DC…A joint statement stated that the conference reflects the bilateral strategic partnership and builds on the foundation laid by previous bilateral discussions.
- Iraqi PM Sudani Announces He Will Not Run in Upcoming Elections (Elaph). Al-Sudani announced on Wednesday that he would not run in the upcoming Iraqi elections. The final number of political alliances that will compete in the elections has been reported, including those representing militias…296 parties have been registered, and 63 are pending. Today, the “Euphrates” movement, headed by Prime Minister Muhammad Shia’a al-Sudani, announced that it would not participate in the local government elections for the governorates scheduled for December 18.
August 11, 2023
- PM Sudani Says Iraq Needs 3 Years to End Dependence on Iranian Gas (Al Sharq Al Awsat). On Thursday, the Iraqi Prime Minister, Muhammad Shia’a al-Sudani, set the period after which Iraq will dispense with importing gas to operate its power stations, which is three years from now…Al-Sudani said, during the inauguration of two installed units at the Al-Amarah gas power station in Maysan Governorate in the south, that “this project will supply the system with a new capacity of 250 megawatts,” noting at the same time that “these strategic projects will contribute to reducing operational budget spending, especially concerning importing gas.” It is one of the ongoing projects since 2019.
August 14, 2023
- America Hopes for Security Partnership with Iraq, Despite Challenges (Al Arabiya). The Americans hope that Iraq will become part of the structure of American-Arab cooperation to protect the airspace, lands, and waters from any aggression, whether by a state or by terrorist organizations…Last week, the American capital witnessed the first Iraqi-American “joint security cooperation” meeting. The title appears to repeat slogans, but it is a turning point in US-Iraqi relations.
- Ministry of Planning Announces Joint UN-Iraq Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (Al Iraq News). Today, Sunday, the Ministry of Planning announced the formation of a joint committee between Iraq and the United Nations to follow up on work in achieving sustainable development goals. A ministry statement stated: “Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Planning, Muhammad Ali Tamim, received the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations In Iraq, Ghulam Ishaq Zai, and his accompanying delegation.” The statement added, “The meeting witnessed a discussion of several issues related to cooperation between Iraq and United Nations organizations.”
August 15, 2023
- Sudani Says Iraq Does Not Need Foreign Forces and Reveals Advanced Talks Regarding Iraq’s Relationship with the International Coalition (Al Jazeera). Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani said today, Monday, that his country did not need foreign combat forces and revealed that advanced discussions had been held to determine the form of future relationship and cooperation with the international coalition…Al-Sudani said during his meeting with the leaders of the various ranks of the army that the Iraqis have become, after the liberation battles against the Islamic State, more united than ever.
- Iraq: Revealing the Map of Shiite and Sunni Electoral Alliances (Elaph). On Monday, the Iraqi Electoral Commission decided to conduct the first experimental simulation of the local elections on the second of next month. At the same time, the alliances of Shiite and Sunni political forces that will contest them at the end of this year have been revealed…After the commission announced the registration of 50 political alliances representing several parties, it was revealed that the Sunni political forces have joined under 13 alliances, while the Shiites are in 11 alliances to contest the elections.
August 16, 2023
- Iraqi Sources Say Washington is Preparing Buffer Zone on Iraqi-Syrian Border to Strike Iran-Backed Militias (Elaph). On Tuesday, Iraqi sources revealed US military movements on the Syrian-Iraqi border to impose a buffer security zone. Washington had asked Al-Sudani to withdraw the Popular Mobilization Forces from there, threatening them and their leaders with military strikes. An Iraqi source close to the security authorities told Elaph that the US ambassador to Iraq, Alina Romanowski, is currently leading a campaign of warnings to Iraqi leaders upon her return to Baghdad from Washington at the end of the week.
- Foreign Affairs: Emphasis on Strengthening Cooperation Between Iraq, Egypt, and Jordan (Al Iraq News). On Tuesday, the foreign ministers of Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt held a tripartite meeting in Cairo. A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Al-Sahhaf, said in a statement that “the foreign ministers of Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt held a tripartite meeting in Cairo,” pointing out that the meeting reviews ways to enhance cooperation, coordination, And joint tripartite integration in various fields within the framework of the historical relations between the three countries.
- Iraq allows Iran to penetrate to a depth of 50 km into its territory (Elaph). Thousands of Iranians began to go to Iraq to participate in the Arbaeen of Imam Hussein. Iran announced Iraq’s agreement to allow its supplies for the occasion to penetrate 50 km into its territory, to conduct joint patrols on the borders of the two countries, and to conduct joint naval maneuvers…The commander of the Iranian border guards, Brigadier General Ahmad Kudarzi, said that he had agreed with his Iraqi counterpart, Major General Muhammad Abd al-Wahhab Sukkar, to conduct joint patrols on the 1,458 km common border.
August 17, 2023
- Iraq’s National Security Council Approves Joint Strategic Agreement with the US (New Arab). On Monday, August 14, Iraq approved the outcomes of a Joint Security Cooperation Dialogue (JSCD) with the United States to form a joint high committee with the US-led global coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS)… “Following the briefing, the Council approved the Iraqi delegation’s agreement with the United States to form a joint high committee with the Global Coalition Against Daesh, aimed at implementing the joint dialogue’s outcomes,” [spokesman] Rasool added. “In this context, the Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief instructed the Army’s Chief of Staff to engage with the Global Coalition Against ISIS leadership in Iraq to initiate the bilateral committee’s operations.” Rasool also indicated that the council approved Iraq’s accession to the international database for lost and stolen weapons, “aiming to enhance control over these arms.”
- Political Source: Al-Sudani Donates Iraqi Oil to Lebanon for Free, By Iranian Order (Al Iraq News). A political source said on Wednesday, that “the file of Iraqi fuel to Lebanon was not based on the exchange of funds between Iraq and Lebanon, but rather on Iraq providing Lebanon with fuel free of charge by Iranian order.” He pointed out that “Lebanon, until now, has not paid a single cent of the price of the fuel, and did not provide any service in exchange for that.”
- Economist: Turkey Imposes (6) Conditions on Iraq in Return for Re-Exporting Oil through its Port (Al Iraq News). Iraqi economic expert Nabil Al-Marsoumi identified six conditions that Turkey places on Iraq in return for re-exporting oil through the port of Ceyhan…First: stopping the application of the clearing agreement between Iraqi oil and Iranian gas, because Turkey and Kurdistan have an agreement on oil for a period of 50 years. Second: Paying compensation for resuming the Kurdistan region’s oil exports. Third: The withdrawal of the second lawsuit by Baghdad at the International Court of Arbitration for compensation for the period 2018-2022. Fourth: Continuing to give Turkey a discount of $13 on each barrel of crude oil exported from the Kurdistan region. Fifth: Continuing to pay transport fees to the Turkish company BOTAS in the amount of 7 dollars for each barrel of crude oil exported through the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Sixth: That Iraq bear the cost of repairing the Iraqi-Turkish pipeline.
August 18, 2023
- Norwegian Oil Company DNO Resumes Partial Oil Production in Kurdistan (Al Naharar). The Norwegian oil company “DNO” announced today, Thursday, that it had partially resumed last month’s oil production from the Tawki field in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and produced oil for the local market at a reduced price, with the continued closure of a significant export pipeline. And the Norwegian company turned to record operating losses amounting to $ 15 million in the second quarter of the year, compared to record profits of $ 81 million a year ago, with its total net production declining to the lowest level in 13 years.
August 21, 2023
- World Bank: Iraq is a Failed State, its Economy is Fragile, and the Country’s Debts Exceed $152B (Al Iraq News). The World Bank announced that the Iraqi economy is fragile and that the country’s debt has increased to $152 billion, noting that the central bank auction caused the redirection of hard currency to the parallel market, which led to a decrease in the value of the dinar against the dollar. The World Bank said in the report issued on the economy in Iraq Iraq and its debts, under the title: “Renewed Pressures: Iraq’s Recovery is in Danger,” that “Iraq’s economy suffers from stagnant non-oil GDP.
August 22, 2023
- Iraqi Prime Minister and British Minister Discuss Cooperation on Security Issues in Baghdad (Elaph). Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani held a significant meeting with British Minister Tom Tugendhat and his delegation in Baghdad. Talks centered on enhancing collaboration to address urgent concerns, including human trafficking, drug trade, money recovery, and corruption-related pursuits. The discussions highlighted the broader relationship between Iraq and the UK, specifically focusing on strengthening cooperation in security and military strategies.
- A French Soldier Dies in Iraq During Training Mission, President Macron Expresses Condolences (Al Sharq Al Awsat). French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed the death of a French soldier, Nicolas Latourte, during a training mission in Iraq. Macron conveyed his condolences via the “X” platform (formerly Twitter), mentioning that Sergeant Baptiste Gauchot had also recently passed away. The French Minister of the Armed Forces, Sebastien Lecorno, specified that Latourte’s demise occurred on Sunday, emphasizing his role in training the Iraqi army to counter-terrorism.
- Iran’s Decision to Reduce Little Zab River Flow Aggravates Iraq’s Water Crisis (The Cradle). Iran’s decision to reduce the flow of the Little Zab River into Iraq has led to a decline in the water levels of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, exacerbating Iraq’s existing water shortages. Selam Omer, Director of the Ranya District Water Department in the Sulaymaniyah province of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, expressed concern over Iran’s unilateral action, taken without notice or justification, which has deepened Iraq’s water crisis. The impact is evident in reports indicating a daily drop of seven centimeters in the water level at Iraq’s largest dam, the Dukan Dam, due to Iran’s reduced water supply.
August 23, 2023
- Iraq Denies Rumors of American Military Deployment on Iraqi-Syrian Border (Enab Baladi). The Prime Minister’s advisor for Iraqi security affairs, Khaled al-Yaqoubi, denied the presence of US forces inside Iraqi territory, stressing that there is a replacement rotation for US forces deployed in Syria. Al-Yaqoubi told the Iraqi News Agency (INA) today, Tuesday, August 22, that a meeting took place between an Iraqi security delegation and an American one to discuss security coordination issues in Iraq, and indicated that Washington did not mobilize its forces in the region, but rather a change of military equipment took place.
- Sources Say No Iraq-Türkiye Agreement to Resume Northern Oil Exports (Al Naharar). Two sources familiar with the energy sector said that the Iraqi oil minister and his Turkish counterpart did not reach an agreement on the immediate resumption of oil exports from northern Iraq, but they agreed to hold more talks in the future. Turkey cut off the oil flows on March 25 after an ICC arbitration panel ordered Ankara to pay Baghdad nearly $1.5 billion in damages caused by the KRG’s illegal oil exports between 2014 and 2018.
- Turkish Exports to Iraq Reached $15 billion During 2022 (Al Iraq News). The volume of Turkish exports to Iraq amounted to more than 15 billion dollars during 2022, according to the trade map website, which provides a trade map for countries for exports, imports, international demand, alternative markets, and competitive markets. The site mentioned in the statistics it published on its website; “The value of Turkish exports to Iraq amounted to 15,172,268 dollars,” and added, “Iraq imported 101 commodities from Turkey during the past year. It is noteworthy that Turkey is behind the scarcity of water in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.”
- Iraq Ready to Receive Electricity from Jordan (Al Hadath). The head of the local government administration in the city of Rutba in Anbar Governorate, Imad Meshaal, said that Iraq has become technically ready to receive electric power from Jordan. Meshaal added that the competent authorities have set up all the stations, and the conveyor line has been fully wired to the secondary Rutba station. He pointed out that the supply of electricity from the Jordanian side to the Rutba district will begin at the end of the current month of August, indicating that the line is technically ready and awaiting the implementation of agreements with the Jordanian side, according to the Jordanian “Petra” news agency.
August 24, 2023
- Al-Sudani Says Iraq Will not Allow PKK to Stage Attacks Against Turkiye from Iraqi Territory (Elaph). Iraq affirmed to Turkey on Wednesday its seriousness not to allow any party or organization under any name to tamper with security or use Iraqi lands as a starting point for attacking neighboring countries, in reference to the Workers’ Party. Iraq called on Turkiye to release more waters of the Tigris and Euphrates to its lands. During a meeting held by Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan today with Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shia’ al-Sudani, relations between the two countries were discussed.
August 25, 2023
- 3 PKK Members Killed in a Turkish Strike in Iraq (Al-Arabiya). Three members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were killed today, Thursday, in Iraq, in a strike carried out by a Turkish drone in Kurdistan in northern Iraq, while Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan is visiting the region. Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which led to the killing of a senior official and two of the party’s fighters in the Sidekan area of Erbil Governorate, near the Iranian border.
- Turkey’s Foreign Minister Meets Barzani Again at End of Intensive Talks in Iraq (964 Media). The Turkish Foreign Minister, Hakan Fidan, arrived Thursday morning in Erbil and was received by the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Nechirvan Barzani, after which he began a busy schedule of discussions, where Fidan met with the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, Masoud Barzani, and then the Prime Minister, Masrour Barzani. After that, he met with the Vice President of Kurdistan Ministers, Qubad Talabani.
August 28, 2023
- Iraq’s Displacement Return Program Aims for Stability (Hath Al-Youm). Iraq’s program focuses on displaced populations’ return, aiming for stability through social rehabilitation, security checks, and better living conditions.
August 29, 2023
- Al-Maliki Cries ‘U.S. Plot’ as Troops Near Syrian Border (Zakrous). In a comical turn of events, Nouri al-Maliki, leader of Iraq’s State of Law Coalition, took it upon himself to suggest that the U.S. was pulling the strings in the Middle East. He amusingly recalled his ‘heroic’ efforts to keep the Syrian border open, essentially saying, ‘Remember when I saved Syria? Well, turns out America is back at its meddling game.’
August 30, 2023
- Turkish Foreign Minister Addresses Water, PKK, and Oil in Baghdad Talks (France 24). Turkish FM’s Baghdad visit tackles water scarcity, PKK presence, and resumption of Iraqi Kurdistan oil exports to Turkey. Discussions aim for sustainable dialogue on water issues and urge recognition of PKK as terrorist group. Precedes Turkish President’s visit.
- Kurdistan Region Estimates $5 Billion Loss from Oil Export Halt (Zagros News). KRG’s Safin Dizi: $5B losses from halted oil exports. Urges Ankara, Baghdad, Erbil cooperation to resolve obstacles. Paris Court decision incurs $5B damages to Iraq. Economic concerns rise.
August 31, 2023
- Al-Fatah Accuses U.S. of Orchestrating French Troop Ambush in Iraq (Iraq News Network). Jabbar Odeh, a leader of Iraq’s Al-Fateh Alliance, raised questions regarding the recent ambush on French forces in Salah al-Din Governorate, suggesting U.S. involvement. According to Odeh, the attack on French special forces by ISIS may be a covert message from Washington to Paris amid secret tensions between the two nations. France confirmed the death of one soldier and the wounding of others in the operation targeting key ISIS figures in the region.
- Macron Reaffirms Commitment to Fight ISIS in Iraq (Mustaqila). After the killing of three French soldiers in Iraq, French President Emmanuel Macron reassures Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani of France’s commitment to combating ISIS within the framework of the international coalition.
- Rockets Target Emirati-Operated Gas Field in Iraqi Kurdistan; No Casualties Reported (Al Hurra). Rockets hit the Khor Mor gas field in Iraqi Kurdistan, operated by a UAE company. No casualties or damage were reported. Kurdish officials confirmed two rockets near the field. Owned by Pearl consortium, Dana Gas, and Crescent Petroleum, authorities are ensuring gas and electricity production remains unaffected.
- Iraqi Islamic Supreme Council Emphasizes Regional Cooperation (Iraq Akhbar). Humam Hamoudi, President of the Iraqi Islamic Supreme Council, discusses the importance of development and regional cooperation with Kuwaiti Ambassador Tariq Abdullah Al-Faraj. Hamoudi stresses that Iraq’s current stability offers a chance for economic and service improvements, benefitting the entire region.