Iraq Business News (en)

ABB in $500m Iraq Electricity Deal

Iraq Business News (en) - Mon, 02/27/2017 - 2:22pm

By John Lee.

Iraq has signed a $500-million agreement with Swiss-Swedish ABB to implement energy transmission projects.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s office said on Sunday that the agreement was signed between the company and the government of Iraq for the Ministry of Electricity.

(Source: Office of the Prime Minister)

Meet the Influencers at IBBC Spring Conference

Iraq Business News (en) - Mon, 02/27/2017 - 2:21pm

Advertising Feature

IBBC Spring Conference 2017

Iraq: Rising Confidence

Monday 3 April at Mansion House, London

Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, IBBC President, the Executive Committee and Council Members, are pleased to invite you to the IBBC Spring Conference to be held on Monday 3 April 2017 at the prestigious Mansion House in London. The conference is the place to hear about the latest developments in Iraq from top level UK and Iraqi officials, businessmen and academics.

The IBBC Spring Conference has developed into a crucial event for the development and investment of Iraq globally, and this year’s agenda is once again shaping up tremendously, with the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Dr Andrew Parmley, having agreed to open the conference. The keynote speaker at the conference is Tobias Ellwood, UK Minister for Middle East and Africa, FCO.

Other confirmed speakers include:

  • Frank Baker OBE, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Iraq
  • Marcus Antonini, Vice President and Country Chairman, Shell Iraq
  • Alistair Kett, Partner, PwC
  • Christian Josz, Deputy Division Chief, Middle East and Central Asia Department, International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  • Dr Raja Al Marzoqi, President, Gulf Monetary Council
  • Louis Taylor, Chief Executive, UK Export Finance
  • Fethi Kirdar, Chief Business Development Officer, Moby Group
  • Omar Hassan, Founder & CEO, Inevert

Our theme this year is ‘Iraq: Rising Confidence’. With an increasingly secure climate, international monetary loans, and an appetite for business and civic investment, IBBC has convened the top experts involved with business in Iraq to discuss the best economic and investment strategies to benefit from Iraq’s Rising Confidence in 2017.

Topics on the agenda include:

  • Power/electricity supply
  • Finance
  • Oil and Gas
  • Technology, Growth and Innovation
  • Iraq after ISIS: Challenges and Opportunities

Each session will emphasise the business opportunities for UK-based companies.

Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne will host a reception for delegates and special guests following the conference at the nearby venue of Searcy’s at 18:30.

The IBBC team looks forward to seeing you at the Spring Conference.

Click here to register.

 

Bombs target Bai Hassan Oil Pipeline

Iraq Business News (en) - Mon, 02/27/2017 - 2:21pm

By John Lee.

Reuters reports that four bombs caused damage and fire on Saturday near a minor pipeline that delivers crude oil from the Bai Hassan oilfield to a degassing station in Kirkuk.

Sources at the state-run North Oil Company (NOC) told the news agency that pumping had already been halted at the time of the blasts due to for maintenance.

(Source: Reuters)

Saudi Foreign Minister in Landmark Visit to Iraq

Iraq Business News (en) - Mon, 02/27/2017 - 2:21pm

By John Lee.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir has met senior Iraqi officials in Baghdad, in the first such visit by a Saudi foreign minister since 1990.

Last year, the Saudis appointed an ambassador in Iraq for the first time in a quarter of a century, but later demanded his removal after he made critical remarks about Iranian influence in Iraq.

(Sources: BBC News, Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Video: Iraq Forces in West Mosul aim for key Bridge

Iraq Business News (en) - Mon, 02/27/2017 - 2:21pm

From AFP. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqi forces battled jihadists in west Mosul Sunday, aiming to build a floating bridge across the Tigris to establish an important supply route linked to the recaptured east bank:

GardaWorld Weekly Security Report

Iraq Business News (en) - Sun, 02/26/2017 - 10:45pm

GardaWorld, a global leader in comprehensive security and risk management, has made its weekly security report available to Iraq Business News readers.

Prepared by GardaWorld’s Risk Analysis Team in Iraq, this essential report includes short- and medium-term outlooks on the security situation, reports and commentary on recent significant events, and a detailed overview of developments across the country, including the battle to liberate Mosul.

Please click here to download the latest report free of charge.

For more information on how GardaWorld’s services can support your business in Iraq, please contact Daniel Matthews, Senior Director Iraq, at daniel.matthews@garda.com

Iraq Stock Market Report

Iraq Business News (en) - Sun, 02/26/2017 - 10:45pm

Advertising Feature

Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 23rd Feb 2017).

Please click here to download a table of listed companies and their associated ticker codes.

The RSISX index ended the week at IQ1092 (+1.9%) / $1112 (+2.7%) (weekly change) (+13.8% and +17.4% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 7.5bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD5.8bn ($4.5mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • The CBI announced its capability to cover Iraq’s international liabilities and at the same time to finance its foreign trade. It confirmed that the reserves of foreign currency are within “international standards.” CBI announced the size of Iraq’s reserves of foreign currency at $49bn amount. (Alsumaria)
  • Economy Bank for Investment (BEFI) will hold a GA on Mar. 8, 2017 to discuss increasing the capital and electing new BoD. ISX will suspend trading of BEFI starting on Mar. 2, 2017.
  • Al-Ameen Estate Investment (SAEI) will hold AGM* on Mar. 6, 2017 to discuss and approve 2015 annual financial results. ISX will suspend trading of SAEI starting on Mar. 1, 2017.
  • New shares of Al-Arabiya Islamic Bank (BAAI) from the capital increase to IQD250bn through 150% rights issue resumed trading on Feb. 23, 2017.
  • Al-Kindi of Veterinary Vaccines Drugs (IKLV) resumed trading on Feb. 21, 2017 after discussing and approving 2015 annual financial results.
  • Kurdistan International Bank (BKUI) announced that the ownership of Khan Adil Disko increased to 35.9bn shares, which represents 8.98% of BKUI capital and ownership of Bahra Muhammed Yassin decreased to 31.8bn shares, which represents 7.95% of BKUI capital.

U.S., Coalition Continue Strikes Against ISIS

Iraq Business News (en) - Sun, 02/26/2017 - 10:45pm

U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria yesterday, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

Officials reported details of yesterday’s strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Strikes in Syria

Coalition military forces conducted 18 strikes consisting of 24 engagements against ISIS targets in Syria:

  • Near Shadaddi, a strike destroyed a vehicle-borne bomb.
  • Near Raqqa, three strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed a vehicle, a tactical vehicle and a mortar system.
  • Near Dayr Az Zawr, seven strikes destroyed six oil wellheads, an oil tanker truck and a front-end loader.
  • Near Palmyra, seven strikes engaged two ISIS staging areas and an ISIS tactical unit; destroyed five storage units, three tanks, two vehicles, an oil storage tank, a pump jack and an ISIS-held building; and damaged two oil storage tanks.

Strikes in Iraq

Coalition military forces conducted 23 strikes consisting of 84 engagements against ISIS targets in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

  • Near Huwayjah, a strike destroyed an ISIS headquarters.
  • Near Beiji, seven strikes engaged five ISIS tactical units and destroyed five vehicles, two ISIS compounds and a tunnel entrance.
  • Near Kisik, two strikes destroyed an ISIS headquarters and an ISIS-held building.
  • Near Mosul, seven strikes engaged four ISIS tactical units; destroyed 15 fighting positions, 11 mortar systems, three vehicles, three weapons caches, two ISIS-held buildings, two vehicle-borne bombs, a sniper position, an ISIS headquarters, two heavy machine guns, an artillery system, an unmanned-aerial-vehicle staging area and a supply cache; and suppressed 14 mortar teams, two ISIS tactical units, an artillery team and a rocket-propelled-grenade team.
  • Near Tal Afar, six strikes destroyed four ISIS headquarters, a vehicle and a tactical vehicle.

Part of Operation Inherent Resolve

These strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The destruction of ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria also further limits the group’s ability to project terror and conduct external operations throughout the region and the rest of the world, task force officials said.

The list above contains all strikes conducted by fighter, attack, bomber, rotary-wing or remotely piloted aircraft; rocket-propelled artillery; and some ground-based tactical artillery when fired on planned targets, officials noted.

Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike, they added. A strike, as defined by the coalition, refers to one or more kinetic engagements that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single or cumulative effect. For example, task force officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIS vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against a group of ISIS-held buildings and weapon systems in a compound, having the cumulative effect of making that facility harder or impossible to use. Strike assessments are based on initial reports and may be refined, officials said.

The task force does not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

‘Encouraging Initial Successes’ for Western Mosul

Iraq Business News (en) - Sun, 02/26/2017 - 10:45pm

Iraqi forces, backed by coalition strikes, are making gains in efforts to liberate western Mosul from Islamic State of Iraq and Syria terrorists, Defense Department spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters at the Pentagon on Friday.

“The [Iraqis] have captured villages to the west of Mosul and they have penetrated the formal city limits from the south,” he said, adding, “We’ve seen some encouraging initial successes.”

About 75 percent of the Ghazlani military base southwest of Mosul has been secured, he said. In addition, Iraqi forces have a “strong foothold” on liberating the Mosul airport, Davis said. The Iraqis have cleared terrain to the south and west of Mosul, he said, gaining 24 square miles within the last day, for a total of 100 square miles since the offensive began five days ago.

The captain pointed out the total territory gained since Oct. 17, when the battle for Mosul began, is about 1,500 square miles. That figure includes recently cleared eastern Mosul, he said.

Tough Fight Expected

Resistance around western Mosul is “moderate,” Davis said, with the terrorists using improvised explosive devices and indirect fire to “harass and slow down” Iraqi forces. The terrorists have pulled back into west Mosul, he said, noting that the coalition expects a “very challenging fight,” since ISIS is entrenched in the area.

“That’s dense urban terrain, more dense than what we saw in east Mosul in a place where they are well-dug in,” the captain said.

Meanwhile, Iraqi forces continue defensive holding operations in eastern Mosul, he said, and the coalition continues to hit ISIS targets around Mosul. In the past 24 hours, Davis said, coalition forces conducted six strikes in a total of 80 engagements. Targets included ISIS tactical units, mortar systems, rocket launchers, anti-air artillery systems, fighting positions, vehicles and weapons caches, he said.

Syria Update

Coalition efforts are ongoing to support efforts to isolate the Syrian city of Raqqa, and operations for the city of Bab, Davis said.

Bab “does appear to be largely liberated,” he said, explaining the Turkish military and vetted Syrian opposition forces are conducting operations in the vicinity of the city.

Yesterday, the 112th day of operations to isolate Raqqa, Syrian Arab coalition forces conducted offensive operations northeast of that key city, Davis said.

Those efforts resulted in the clearing of large swaths of terrain along two axes and the taking of 67 square miles, he said, along with the liberation of several villages.

30-Day Plan to the President

The Pentagon will meet Monday’s deadline for the 30-day review that President Donald J. Trump ordered about the plan to fight ISIS, Davis said.

As the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, highlighted Thursday, the review is a “whole of government plan that deals holistically with ISIS,” he said.

Davis described the plan as a “framework for a broader plan.” However, he said, details of the strategy will remain private, explaining it is a “plan to attack an enemy and I don’t think we’re going to want to telegraph too much of it.”

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

(Picture: Iraqi soldiers practice weapon safety during urban environment training at Camp Taji, Iraq, Feb. 20, 2017. The soldiers were part of the junior leader course led by coalition forces in support of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve. Army photo by Spc. Christopher Brecht)

Iraq seeks to Clamp Down on Gun Ownership

Iraq Business News (en) - Fri, 02/24/2017 - 8:28pm

By Wassim Bassem for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

Iraq is working to regulate the activities of private security companies and rein in the chaotic circulation and use of weapons.

On Feb. 21, a group of armed tribesmen shot at an Iraqi comedian’s house in Baghdad after he criticized some tribal values in his TV show, “Walayat al-Battikh.” Another example of the security chaos is the firing of Katyusha rockets into Baghdad’s Green Zone on Feb. 12, following bloody demonstrations in the capital.

Also, the parliament’s Security and Defense Committee said Jan. 27 that some security companies operating in Iraq were out of control.

To address the security chaos and impose the rule of law, the parliament passed a law Jan. 26 to regulate private security companies. Two days later, the parliament also passed a law on weapon ownership.

“Many foreign companies operating in Iraq are either outside the law or regulated by outdated laws that are not suitable for the current situation,” the parliamentary Security and Defense Committee reported.

Committee member Ibtisam al-Hilali told Al-Monitor, “Security firms across the country are not subject to state laws or regulations in many of their operations, meaning they are beyond the control of the official security services.”

She said that the new bill would impose strict conditions on security companies, forcing them to comply with Interior Ministry regulations and systems.

“Previously, their work, along with gun licensing and weapons store regulations, was the portfolio of regional governors, but the new law centralizes all these powers in the hands of the interior minister,” Hilali said. “The large number of security companies in the country require a new law that covers the companies guarding the US Embassy in Baghdad and other embassies.”

Amnesty International’s Annual Report on Iraq

Iraq Business News (en) - Fri, 02/24/2017 - 8:27pm

According to a report from Amnesty International, Iraqi government forces, paramilitary militias and the armed group Islamic State (IS) committed war crimes, other violations of international humanitarian law and gross human rights abuses in the internal armed conflict.

IS fighters carried out execution-style killings targeting opponents and civilians fleeing IS-held territory, raped and otherwise tortured captives, used civilians as human shields and used child soldiers.

Militias extrajudicially executed, forcibly disappeared and tortured civilians fleeing conflict, and destroyed homes and other civilian property. Thousands remained detained without trial on suspicion of links to IS.

Torture in detention remained rife. Courts sentenced terrorism suspects to death, frequently after unfair trials. Executions continued at a high rate.

The full report can be viewed here.

(Source: Amnesty International)

Military Strikes Continue Against ISIS in Syria, Iraq

Iraq Business News (en) - Fri, 02/24/2017 - 8:27pm

U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria on Wednesday, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported yesterday.

Officials reported details of yesterday’s strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Strikes in Syria

Coalition military forces conducted 24 strikes consisting of 32 engagements against ISIS targets in Syria:

  • Near Abu Kamal, three strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed four oil refinement stills and a vehicle.
  • Near Bab, four strikes engaged three ISIS tactical units and destroyed a vehicle-borne bomb.
  • Near Shadaddi, three strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units and destroyed four fighting positions and an ISIS headquarters.
  • Near Raqqa, seven strikes engaged three ISIS tactical units and an ISIS staging area and destroyed three pump jacks, a command-and-control node, a fighting position and a tactical vehicle.
  • Near Tanf, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed two tactical vehicles.
  • Near Dayr Az Zawr, three strikes destroyed seven oil separation tanks, and oil wellhead, an oil tanker truck and an oil inlet manifold.
  • Near Palmyra, two strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units and destroyed four tactical vehicles.
  • Near Tamakh, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed a tactical vehicle.

Strikes in Iraq

Coalition military forces conducted 14 strikes consisting of 62 engagements against ISIS targets in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

  • Near Beiji, three strikes engaged three ISIS tactical units; destroyed a tactical vehicle and a heavy machine gun; and suppressed a mortar team.
  • Near Mosul, five strikes engaged four ISIS tactical units; destroyed three mortar systems, two ISIS-held buildings, two vehicle-bomb factories, a supply cache, a fighting position, a front-end loader, an excavator, a dump truck, a generator trailer, a weapons cache and a vehicle; damaged 15 supply routes and three tunnels; and suppressed 17 mortar teams and an artillery team.
  • Near Qayyarah, a strike destroyed a weapons cache.
  • Near Rawah, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed three ISIS-held building and a vehicle.
  • Near Tal Afar, four strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and an ISIS staging area and destroyed two weapons caches, a vehicle-borne bomb, a front-end loader, an improvised-bomb factory and an ISIS-held building.

Part of Operation Inherent Resolve

These strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The destruction of ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria also further limits the group’s ability to project terror and conduct external operations throughout the region and the rest of the world, task force officials said.

The list above contains all strikes conducted by fighter, attack, bomber, rotary-wing or remotely piloted aircraft; rocket-propelled artillery; and some ground-based tactical artillery when fired on planned targets, officials noted.

Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike, they added. A strike, as defined by the coalition, refers to one or more kinetic engagements that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single or cumulative effect. For example, task force officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIS vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against a group of ISIS-held buildings and weapon systems in a compound, having the cumulative effect of making that facility harder or impossible to use. Strike assessments are based on initial reports and may be refined, officials said.

The task force does not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

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