Coronavirus forces partial US Troop Drawdown

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

Coronavirus forces partial US troop drawdown in Iraq

The US-led global coalition to defeat the Islamic State announced today that the coronavirus pandemic has forced "temporary adjustments" in the mission against the terrorist group.

"The unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to the Iraqi and Syrian people, and to our mission, led to temporary adjustments to protect the force during this period, in full coordination with the Iraqi authorities," the coalition said in a joint statement today released by the US State Department.

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Rosneft “Paid Mystery Consultant $250m in Iraq Deal”

By John Lee.

Russia’s state oil company Rosneft has reportedly paid $250 million to an external consultant to help secure deals in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Bloomberg reports that Rosneft Trading SA in 2017 “entered into an advisory agreement with an external consultant for advisory services relating to Rosneft Group’s proposed concession agreement and Production Sharing Contracts (“PSCs”) with the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq (“KRG”)”.

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(Source: Bloomberg)

Iraq 2020 – Discovering Business

Iraq Business News is delighted to bring you a major new guide to business in Iraq.

Published by Allurentis, in association with Iraq’s National Investment Commission (NIC), Iraq 2020 – Discovering Business contains a wealth of case studies, commentary and data; it’s 68 pages of essential reading for everyone with an interest in the redevelopment of Iraq.

And as Salar Ameen, of the National Investment Commission, says in the introduction:

“We are determined to embark on real change and open up to other countries by providing every incentive to invest in Iraq … there is a firm desire to stimulate the private sector.”

We’d like to congratulate Laura Curtis (laura.curtis@allurentis.com) and all her team at Allurentis on a splendid publication.

Iraq Business News is delighted to make this guide available to readers in pdf format: Please click here to view or download the full document.

Iraq Bribery Trial starts in London

By John Lee.

The trial has begun in London of three British businessmen accused of conspiring to pay bribes totalling $6m (£4.6m) to win contracts in Iraq worth $800 million.

According to the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Monaco-based Unaoil bribed Iraqi officials to help Dutch-based SBM Offshore [Single Buoy Moorings], and Singapore’s Leighton Offshore, to secure the contracts between 2005 and 2013.

The Guardian reports that Ziad Akle (44), Unaoil’s territory manager for Iraq, Stephen Whiteley (64), who was a vice-president at SBM until 2009 before joining Unaoil as its manager for Iraq, and Paul Bond (67) SBM’s sales manager for the Middle East, have all pleaded not guilty.

The trial is expected to last three months.

(Sources: The Guardian, Bloomberg)

Chevron pulls US staff from Kurdistan

By John Lee.

Chevron has reportedly removed all of its American oil workers from Iraqi Kurdistan as a security precaution, following the killing of Iranian Quds Force leader Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

The company currently has interests in the Sarta and Qara Dagh blocks.

(Sources: Reuters, CNN)

Oil Trail reveals Turkey funding Syrian Kurdish rivals

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

Oil trail reveals Turkey funding Syrian Kurdish rivals

At the Halifax Security Forum, an annual event attended by high-powered government officials, business titans and assorted other movers and shakers from across the globe, national security adviser Robert O’Brien took the stage with PBS’ Nick Shifrin and let the cat out of the bag.

When the veteran correspondent grilled O’Brien Nov. 23 about President Donald Trump’s decision to keep US troops in northeastern Syria “for the oil,” noting that the Pentagon’s Syrian Kurdish allies were selling it to the Syrian regime in defiance of sanctions, O’Brien responded, “Some of it goes to the regime. Some of it is used locally. Some of it goes to Iraqi Kurdistan. Some of it goes to Turkey.

The key, though, is not where the oil goes but where the revenue goes.” The main thing, he concluded, was to ensure that none of it got to the Islamic State.

Click here to read the full story.

Oil Trail reveals Turkey funding Syrian Kurdish rivals

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

Oil trail reveals Turkey funding Syrian Kurdish rivals

At the Halifax Security Forum, an annual event attended by high-powered government officials, business titans and assorted other movers and shakers from across the globe, national security adviser Robert O’Brien took the stage with PBS’ Nick Shifrin and let the cat out of the bag.

When the veteran correspondent grilled O’Brien Nov. 23 about President Donald Trump’s decision to keep US troops in northeastern Syria “for the oil,” noting that the Pentagon’s Syrian Kurdish allies were selling it to the Syrian regime in defiance of sanctions, O’Brien responded, “Some of it goes to the regime. Some of it is used locally. Some of it goes to Iraqi Kurdistan. Some of it goes to Turkey.

The key, though, is not where the oil goes but where the revenue goes.” The main thing, he concluded, was to ensure that none of it got to the Islamic State.

Click here to read the full story.