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Archive for the ‘Islamic State of Iraq’ Category

Thousands of Iraqis protest against foreign intervention

BAGHDAD (BNO NEWS) — Thousands of supporters of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr gathered in the center of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Friday to protest against foreign intervention in the country, the Aswat al-Iraq news agency reported on Saturday.

Thousands of citizens gathered in central Tahrir square and Sadr City, a suburb district of Baghdad, after Friday prayers concluded to demand an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. They also demanded better social conditions and services as well as the redistribution of a percentage of oil revenues among people.

In Tahrir Square, protesters denounced the intervention of neighboring countries, including Iran and Kuwait, in Iraqi internal affairs. According to Aswat al-Iraq’s correspondent, citizens and civil activists denounced Iranian and Kuwaiti violations against Iraqi sovereignty and the Iranian shelling of Kurdistan borders and targeting civilians in the region.

The protesters also denounced the U.S. troops. Less than 50,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq, more than eight years since the U.S.-led war began on March 20, 2003. According to a security agreement between Baghdad and Washington, all U.S. forces will be withdrawn by the end of 2011.

Last Friday, thousands of Iraqi citizens also took part in anti-government demonstrations across the country. The demands of the demonstrators varied from one group to another, but the majority demanded better services, early elections and an end to corruption.

In the past weeks, civil activists have been using social networks to organize the protests against the government, corruption, and the lack of services. Protesters last week also denounced the assassination of radio journalist Hadi al-Mehdi.

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Source: WireUpdate.

Commerce returns to Iran-Iraq border river

Al-Nashwa, Iraq (AFP)
Feb 7, 2012

Commercial traffic has resumed on the strategic Shatt al-Arab waterway after a three-decade break with the official opening of a port for oil giant Shell, an Iraqi official said on Tuesday.

Part of the 200-kilometre-long (120 miles) waterway forms a section of the border with Iran.

An unresolved boundary dispute was a major reason for the 1980-1988 war between Iraq and Iran that resulted in the waterway’s closure.

“The Shatt al-Arab is reborn again after being closed for 31 years,” Mehdi Badah Hussein, head of a joint committee to develop Majnoon oil field, told AFP at a ceremony to open the port.

“There are other harbors on the Shatt al-Arab, but commercially, this is the first time Iraq succeeded in turning the Shatt al-Arab into a maritime passage which will help in transporting heavy equipment,” Hussein said.

Dia Khalil, an Iraqi engineer and joint committee member, told AFP the journey up the Shatt al-Arab to the new port is about 80 kilometers (50 miles), and that ships will pay customs fees in Umm Qasr to the south before heading to the new harbor.

A consortium of Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell and Malaysia’s Petronas signed a contract with Iraq in January 2010 to operate the enormous Majnoon field.

“We believe this is the first jetty harbor to bring in ships that can come from all over the world back off the river with heavy equipment in 31 years,” Shell Majnoon general manager Ole Myklestad told AFP.

“This is very important,” Myklestad said at the ceremony. “I hope that ships leaving this harbor in the future will also be carrying goods.”

Myklestad said the first ship arrived at the harbor on January 5 and clarified that the port would not be used to export oil which is to be carried by pipeline.

“This is a happy day,” said Khalaf Wadi, deputy manager of Iraq’s Southern Oil Co, a partner with Shell and Petronas. “We are officially opening the first commercial jetty in the Shatt al-Arab since the start of the war with Iran.”

The port’s main function will be to facilitate the transportation of equipment to the massive Majnoon oil field.

But ordinance in the field, which was a major battleground during the eight-year war with Iran, poses a danger.

Simon Mawdslag, Shell’s Explosive Remnants of War Coordinator, said “over 4,000 individual items of ordinance” have been located and removed from a roughly eight square kilometer (three square mile) area — the only part cleared so far.

“These items are handed over to the Iraqi armed forces and their explosive ordinance disposal team. They actually do the destruction of the items,” he said.

The Majnoon field was discovered in 1975 by Brazilian firm Petrobras but its work was interrupted in 1980 by the beginning of the Iran-Iraq war, after it had drilled 20 wells.

In 1990, French firm total negotiated a contract for the field but was unable to sign due to international sanctions after Saddam Hussein’s Iraq invaded Kuwait in August of that year.

Oil sales account for the vast majority of Iraqi government income and around two-thirds of gross domestic product.

Source: Energy-Daily.

Iran, Kurds to work to combat PJAK

TEHRAN, Aug. 16 (UPI) — Iran and Kurdish officials in Iraq have plans to set up a joint committee to fight Kurdish rebels along their border, an Iranian official said.

Hassan Danaifar, the Iranian envoy to Baghdad, said delegates from Tehran discussed forming an action plan with authorities in the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq to combat the guerrilla campaign of the Party for Free Life of Kurdistan, or PJAK, Iran’s state-funded broadcaster Press TV reports.

Danaifar added that high-ranking military officials from both sides would work to establish the committee.

Iranian officials have acknowledged sending troops to the border region and moving across the Iraqi border allegedly in pursuit of PJAK gunmen. Baghdad expressed frustration over Iranian action against PJAK, though Kurdish leaders told Iranian media recently that PJAK militancy presents a serious security concern in the region.

PJAK is considered a close affiliate of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which was blamed for killing Turkish soldiers near the border with Iraq in July.

Reports from Turkish news agency Today’s Zaman say Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech marking the 10th anniversary of his Justice and Development Party that Ankara’s patience with the PKK was wearing thin.

Source: United Press International (UPI).

Iraqi tribes feud over nightingale

AMARA, Iraq, July 12 (UPI) — A pair of Iraqi tribes in the province of Missan are feuding over a nightingale a member of one tribe allegedly stole from the other, locals say.

The Azzaman newspaper reported the theft of the nightingale has led to calls for violence from the tribe that owned the bird due to a violation of its “tribal honor.”

The newspaper said surrounding tribes are attempting to smooth the ruffled feathers and prevent violence from breaking out while the chieftains of the two tribes are planning a summit to discuss the issue.

Tribe members said any settlement reached between the chieftains would have to involve the return of the bird and the payment of “a generous ransom.”

Source: United Press International (UPI).

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