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Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Who is really in charge in Iraq?

Q&A: Ihsan Ismaael, DG of South Gas Company Iraq is set to increase gas product exports and reach agreements on gas with with IOCs operating southern oil fields, said Ismaael, who is also the chairman of Basra Gas Company. Ihsan Ismaael, director general of the South Gas Company, in his Basra office on Jan. 29, 2017. (ALI AL-AQILY/Iraq Oil Report) By Ben Lando of Iraq Oil Report Published Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 In the few months since Ihsan Ismaael took over as director general for the state-run South Gas Company (SGC), the gas sector has received an infusion of support from Baghdad.Ismaael attributes this to Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luiebi, whose "achievement is to create a healthy environment for the gas industry," Ismaael said in an interview with Iraq Oil Report on the sidelines of the Iraq Finance 2017 conference in Beirut.There was an immediate budget allocation increase after Luiebi took ... Inside Mosul: May 9, 2017 Detailed updates from Islamic State militant-held areas of Ninewa province, gathered via Iraq Oil Report's network of reporters and contacts. A Peshmerga Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle pushes forward towards Bashiqa, 12 kilometers northeast of Mosul, as soldiers try to clear an IS-used car off the main road on Nov. 7, 2016. (PATRICK OSGOOD/Iraq Oil Report) By Staff of Iraq Oil Report Published Tuesday, May 9th, 2017 Iraqi forces declare liberation of Sina’a neighborhood Federal Police gain partial control of 17 July neighborhood IS militants launch VBIED attack on Federal Police in Old Mosul Airstrikes hit VBIED factory in Tal Afar’s Askary neighborhood Editor's Note: Iraq Oil Report gathers daily updates on security and humanitarian developments inside Mosul city and surrounding IS-held areas in Ninewa province from a network of local reporters, residents, resistance fighters, and IS militants. Because of the physical risks associated with information-gathering in these areas, these reports are not comprehensive, and many cannot be immediately confirmed via multiple, reliable sources. Nonetheless, we believe there is a significant public inter... Iraqi Cabinet decisions: May 9, 2017 Whenever the media office of the Council of Ministers releases decisions of the Cabinet, Iraq Oil Report publishes a translation from the original Arabic. Iraq's Council of Ministers meets in Baghdad on May 9, 2017. (Source: Iraqi Cabinet media office) By Staff of Iraq Oil Report Published Tuesday, May 9th, 2017 The Iraqi Council of Ministers held its normal session on Tuesday, May 9, headed by Prime Minister Dr. Haider al-Abadi. The Council voted in favor of the second amendment to the Iraqi Central Bank Law No. 56 of 2004, which was enacted by the temporary coalition government, and submitted it to parliament.  The Council discussed several topics related to the farming and agricultural sector, and transferred the funds owed for wheat crops to... Kurdistan pushes for independence referendum Production stops falling as Iraq claims OPEC compliance Q&A: Ihsan Ismaael, DG of South Gas Company Assassins kill North Gas Company deputy DG Turkey kills allies in strike on Sinjar Q&A: Kamal Taib Wartyi, head of the KRG Directorate of Taxation Q&A: Deputy Minister for National Security Affairs Akeel al-Saffar Iraqi Cabinet decisions: Apr. 11, 2017 Inside Mosul: April 10, 2017 Q&A: Sadi Ahmed Pira, PUK politburo member Mini-Hizballahs, Revolutionary Guard Knock-Offs, and the Future of Iran’s Militant Proxies in Iraq Published Tuesday, May 9th, 2017 Michael Knights and Michael Eisenstadt write for War on the Rocks: As the war against the Islamic State enters the final stretch, with less than a quarter of Mosul left to liberate, the Iraqi government must decide whether to allow a residual U.S. military support mission to stay on in Iraq. Iranian-backed Iraqi Shiite militias have already weighed in on the matter. In early May 2017, Jafar al-Hosseini, a spokesman and senior commander of the Kata’ib Hizballah militia, told Iranian state media: “If [the] Americans fail to leave Iraq [following the defeat of Islamic State] they will be in the crosshairs of the Iraqi Islamic resistance.” Statements such as these, delivered confidently with little fear of government reproach, raise the question: Who is really in charge in Iraq? The future of Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi, or Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), and their constituent militias is one of the most consequential policy challenges facing the Iraqi government and its coalition partners, such as the United States. Raised by a religious fatwa and a political executive order, the PMF played a crucial role in stemming the advance of Islamic State in June 2014, eventually incorporating both Shiite and non-Shiite fighters. But the PMF consist of diverse elements. These include Iranian-backed Shiite militias, “shrine PMF” (whose leaders were selected by the quietist Shiite clergy in Najaf), and Sunni PMF. The latter two groups are assets for Iraq that will hopefully be incorporated into Iraqi Army, Counter-Terrorism Service and police forces. The Tehran-backed PMF, however, are a different matter and their future is a source of acute concern for Washington. Click here for the entire story Related Stories Inside Mosul: May 6 & 7, 2017 Turkey kills allies in strike on Sinjar Iraqi Cabinet decisions: Apr. 25, 2017

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