Meanwhile In Iraq… Islamic State Attacks Kirkuk Oil Field

Authored by Irina Slav via OilPrice.com,

An attack with an explosive device on an oil field in the northern Iraqi region of Kirkuk was blamed on Islamic State militants, according to an unnamed source who spoke to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency.

No damage was done to the field, Bai Hassan, according to the source.

Earlier this year, suspected Islamic State militants blew up two oil wells at the Bai Hassan field, killing at least one security officer and setting the oil wells ablaze.

The Bai Hassan field that can produce around 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil has more than 120 oil wells. Based on these reports, it is an attractive target for the Islamic State, which despite international efforts, is alive and well in Iraq and Syria.

A recent report by VOA News cited intelligence agencies as saying that the terrorist group remained resilient and ready to spring back out when the U.S. implemented its plans to “recede deep into the background.”

“The group has evolved into an entrenched insurgency, exploiting weaknesses in local security to find safe havens and targeting forces engaged in counter-ISIL operations,” a report by the UN sanctions monitoring team said.

“Attacks in Baghdad in January and April 2021 underscore the group’s resilience despite heavy counter-terrorism pressure from Iraqi authorities,” the report also said. Islamic State “is likely to continue attacking civilians and other soft targets in the capital whenever possible to garner media attention and embarrass the Government of Iraq.”

Based on what we are currently witnessing happening in Afghanistan, the deeper in the background the U.S. recedes, the more emboldened IS will become, which could mean more attacks on oil fields in the oil-rich Kirkuk region. This would interfere with OPEC’s second-largest exporter of crude with plans to boost its production considerably once the OPEC+ agreement expires.

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Multiple rockets land near Baghdad International Airport, US-led coalition base, triggering alarms – reports

Multiple rockets reportedly fell near Baghdad International Airport. There have also been reports of air-raid sirens going off inside Camp Victory, which houses US coalition forces. No casualties are being reported.

According to local media sources, a total of three rockets went off in the vicinity of the airport. Security forces are now examining the platforms from which the rockets were launched.

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Why Victoria Nuland Is Dangerous and Should Not Be Confirmed

Victoria Nuland exemplifies the neocons who have led US foreign policy from one disaster to another for the past 30 years while evading accountability. It is a bad sign that President Joe Biden has nominated Victoria Nuland for the third highest position at the State Department, Under Secretary for Political Affairs.

As a top-level appointee, Victoria Nuland must be confirmed by the US Senate. There is a campaign to Stop her confirmation. The following review of her work shows why Victoria Nuland is incompetent, highly dangerous and should not be confirmed.

Afghanistan and Iraq

From 2000 to 2003, Nuland was US permanent representative to NATO as the Bush administration attacked then invaded Afghanistan. The Afghan government offered to work with the US remove Al Qaeda, but this was rejected. After Al Qaeda was defeated, the US could have left Afghanistan but instead stayed, established semi-permanent bases, split the country, and is still fighting there two decades later.

From 2003 to 2005 Nuland was principal foreign policy advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney who “helped plan and manage the war that toppled Saddam Hussein, including making Bush administration’s case for preemptive military actions based on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.” The foreign policy establishment, with Nuland on the far right, believed that removing Saddam Hussein and installing a US “ally” would be simple.

The invasion and continuing occupation have resulted in over a million dead Iraqis, many thousands of dead Americans, hundreds of thousands with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at a cost of 2 to 6 TRILLION dollars.

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Iraqi activists eye political mainstream after protest movement crushed

By Charlotte Bruneau and Amina Ismail

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi lawyer Hussein al-Ghorabi said he left his hometown of Nassiriya four months ago after an armed group threatened him over his political activism.

Now, as he moves around Iraq, he is trying to set up a political party that he and some fellow activists hope will challenge those in power whom they accuse of corruption and ineptitude.

He is one of scores of people from Nassiriya, the city at the forefront of a mass anti-government uprising in 2019, who have fled after receiving threats.

“We want to change the political class. Protesters have been asking, what can be an alternative to existing political parties? So we started to discuss creating that alternative,” he said.

At least 500 protesters were killed during demonstrations which broke out in October, 2019, over jobs and poor services. Tens of thousands took to the streets calling for the overthrow of Iraq’s ruling elite.

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Sadr Brigade Takes to Streets of Baghdad in Show of Force

Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. (Reuters file photo)
Baghdad – Asharq Al-Awsat

Members of the Saraya al-Salam, an armed brigade of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, have deployed in droves to several districts of the Iraqi capital after receiving information about “threats” to holy sites.

Iraqi official security and intelligence forces did not comment or release information about the existence of such threats that could spark a deadly civil war in the country.

Saraya al-Salam claimed that the threats were directed at both Sunni and Shiite holy sites.

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Iraq’s Shia leader al-Sadr backs early vote ‘supervised’ by UN

Muqtada al-Sadr said he backed early elections overseen by the UN, warning that further delays would be a ‘disaster’ for Iraq.

The elections were initially set for June, nearly a year ahead of schedule, but have since been pushed back to October [File: Alaa al-Marjani/Reuters]

Iraqi Shia Muslim leader Muqtada al-Sadr on Wednesday called for early elections overseen by the UN, in a rare news conference outside his home in the southern city of Najaf.

Iraq is expected to hold early parliamentary elections this year, a central demand of an anti-government protest movement which erupted in 2019 and backed by al-Sadr’s supporters.

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The ‘humanitarian’ left still ignores the lessons of Iraq, Libya and Syria to cheer on more war

By Jonathan Cook

The instinct among parts of the left to cheerlead the right’s war crimes, so long as they are dressed up as liberal “humanitarianism”, is alive and kicking, as Owen Jones revealed in a recent column on the plight of the Uighurs at China’s hands.

The “humanitarian war” instinct persists even after two decades of the horror shows that followed the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the US and UK; the Western-sponsored butchering of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi that unleashed a new regional trade in slaves and arms; and the West’s covert backing of Islamic jihadists who proceeded to tear Syria apart.

In fact, those weren’t really separate horror shows: they were instalments of one long horror show.

The vacuum left in Iraq by the West – the execution of Saddam Hussein and the destruction of his armed forces – sucked in Islamic extremists from every corner of the Middle East. The US and UK occupations of Iraq served both as fuel to rationalise new, more nihilistic Islamic doctrines that culminated in the emergence of the Islamic State group, and as a training ground for jihadists to develop better methods of militarised resistance.

That process accelerated in post-Gaddafi Libya, where Islamic extremists were handed an even more lawless country than post-invasion Iraq in which to recruit followers and train them, and trade arms. All of that know-how and weaponry ended up flooding into Syria where the same Islamic extremists hoped to establish the seat of their new caliphate.

Many millions of Arabs across the region were either slaughtered or forced to flee their homes, becoming permanent refugees, because of the supposedly “humanitarian” impulse unleashed by George W. Bush and Tony Blair.

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When Israel and Arab nations unite, world should take note, says UN ambassador

 Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan reflected on 2020 and how “Israel’s future looks brighter than ever” in his address on Sunday night at the Zionist Organization of America’s Virtual Superstar Gala.

Erdan, also Israel’s incoming ambassador to the United States, received the ZOA’s Woo KaiSheng Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Diplomacy. In his acceptance speech, he said that while this past year “supplied a fair amount of hate, it also delivered a fair amount of peace.”

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Iran Cuts Power Supply To Iraq On Unpaid Debt

Iran has reduced exports of natural gas to its neighbor Iraq claiming the latter owed it more than $6 billion for supplies already made. The cuts were made two weeks ago, and further cuts will be made, Iranian officials said.

“The Iraqi electricity ministry owes more than $5bn to NIGC for gas imports from Iran,” the National Iranian Gas Company said, as quoted by Argus, adding, “Of this, $3bn is blocked and inaccessible in the [state-owned] Trade Bank of Iraq, and more than $2bn has not even been released yet by the electricity ministry.”

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