Iraq - 03

Iraq: Baghdad Leadership Conferences: Maliki Absent

On 28 January a range of Iraqi leaders gathered in Baghdad for the first of a series of high-profile conferences every six weeks aimed at demonstrating national unity. Convened and chaired by Iraqi President Fouad Massoum, the meeting’s agenda was set by the president’s office after extensive dialogue with the participants.

Iraq - 04

Iraq: Party Control of Kurdistan’s Oilfields: A Slippery Slope

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has spent much of the last decade trying to tidy up the contractual and ownership arrangements within the IOC concessions in Iraqi Kurdistan. This meant undoing the small private stakes that middlemen and Kurdish leaders held in the early PSCs. Yet the economic crisis facing the KRG has threatened to

KRG - 02

Iraq: The Barzanis’ Accelerated Drive for Independence

The KRG leadership has recently been making an unusual amount of noise about the idea of achieving de jure independence as a new internationally recognized state within the next two to three years. This situation differs from prior years, in which the KRG threw out the independence threat as a lever to focus Washington or

Iraq - 02

Iraq: The Warlord of Baghdad: Abd’al-Amir al-Shammari

Always a powerful command, the BOC is gaining an even higher political profile under Staff Lt. Gen. Abd’al-Amir al-Shammari, a savvy Shiite officer who has hoarded over half of Iraq’s combat forces in the capital since the fall of Mosul in 2014. Notably, the BOC controls all forces in the urban districts of the city

Iraq: Kurdistan’s Government Breakup: Coalition Politics or Lasting Damage?

The politics of Iraqi Kurdistan have attracted derision this summer, and deservedly so: the major parties had two years of President Massoud Barzani’s extended term to tackle precisely the issues that they faced this summer. The parties almost came to a deal– that Massoud would stay until the September 2017 Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) parliamentary

KRG - 01

Iraq: Ashti Under Attack: Endgame or Business as Usual?

KRG Minister of Natural Resources Ashti Hawrami has always been a controversial character: he entered the Kurdish oil scene by displacing his own uncle, Sarbaz Hawrami, as the first head of the Ministry of Natural Resources. Ashti spent the first three years of his tenure picking patronage networks out of KRG oil contracts and pushing

Iraq - 03

Iraq: The 2016 Budget: Early Pointers for IOCs

On 16 August Oil Minister Adel Abd’al-Mahdi issued a statement outlining ideas for a radically stripped-down 2016 federal budget. In one of the opening shots in the campaign to build a new austerity budget, Abd’al-Mahdi envisaged basing the budget on a very low assumed oil price of “$40-50/barrel” and “3mn bpd of exports from the

Iraq - 04

Iraq: Power Behind the Throne: Tareq Najm Lends Steel to Abadi’s Office

The reform process initiated by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani on August 7 is a genuine effort to forestall growing public frustration but Iraq’s establishment Shia political parties are also rapidly seeking to turn the process to their advantage. A range of actors – the pro-Abadi core of the Da’awa Party, the Islamic Supreme Council of

KRG - 02

Iraq: The PKK’s Splinter Cell Problem and the Iraq-Turkey Pipeline

On 29 July a local PKK cell sabotaged the ITP, cutting off oil supplies to Turkey. The KRG Ministry of Natural Resources later issued a statement indicating that the ITP would resume partial oil transit on 4 August. In our view, the pipeline attack was not sanctioned by the PKK’s Mount Qandil headquarters, but rather