Officials say attacks inside and around Baghdad have killed at least seven people. A police officer says drive-by shooters killed a pro-government Sunni tribal sheikh along with his three guards in the town of Tarmiyah, 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Baghdad. Another officer said three civilians were killed and nine wounded in a bomb explosion at an outdoor marker in Baghdad's western Ghazaliyah neighborhood.
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Massive oil fields are Iraq’s biggest asset — and a huge liability — in the fight against the Islamic State
Tucked away in the southeast corner of Iraq, right on the border of Iran, is Basra Province. Under this dusty, humid, and scorched piece of earth sit some of the world's largest proven oil reserves. Estimates now suggest that Iraq is sitting on close to 144 billion barrels of oil, accounting for almost 90 percent of all revenue in the war-ravaged country. Most of this oil is being exported from "super fields" in Basra, which have been licensed to major international oil companies (IOCs) like Shell, BP, Lukoil, CNPC, and Exxon. Put into a more digestible financial perspective, just one of these fields alone — BP's Rumaila field — accounts for more than 50 percent of Iraq's total budget revenue, making it the single most valuable asset in the country.
The historic nuclear diplomacy taking place in Vienna’s elegant Coburg Palace has roots in a gritty war between Iran and Iraq that ended more than a quarter of a century ago. Iran suffered more than a hundred and fifty thousand dead between 1980 and 1988. In Tehran, it’s called the Sacred Defense. In the final stages, U.S. aid to Iraq contributed to Iran’s decision to pursue nuclear capability—the very program that six world powers are now negotiating to contain.
Back in the eighties, Western intelligence agencies questioned whether Iran’s eighteen-month-old revolution could survive for even a few weeks after Saddam Hussein’s surprise invasion. Tehran scrambled to mobilize remnants of the Shah’s army, the new Revolutionary Guards, and almost anyone, of any age, for a volunteer paramilitary. Tehran’s Holy Defense Museum has pictures of thirteen-year-old kids and eighty-year-old men who signed up. (Three per cent of the dead were fourteen or younger.)
Every day, Iraq inches closer to hunger. The United Nations estimates that approximately 4.4 million people across Iraq require food assistance. About 30 percent of Iraqis live below the national poverty line, and this number is much higher in the poorest districts. These communities are already struggling with limited resources and basic foodstuffs, a situation made worse by the growing number of internally displaced persons (IDPs). The country faces a stark and multifaceted food security challenge. In the short term, protracted conflict is generating localized food shortages. In the longer term, inflexible policies and government illiquidity are leading to decreased domestic food production and higher import dependency.In June 2014, with ISIS incursion into Salahuddin, Ninevah, Kirkuk and Anbar – the breadbasket governorates comprising Iraq’s cereal belt – the country lost the majority of its annual wheat and barley harvests from these areas, which combined contributed over one-third of Iraq’s cereal production.
Iraqi forensic teams in Basra have found a mass grave containing 377 bodies believed to be mainly women and children killed by Saddam Hussein's forces during the failed Shia uprising of 1991. The mass grave was found in the east of Basra province, and is the second largest ever discovered in southern Iraq, Mehdi Tamimi, an Iraqi government human rights officer said in a statement.
Farah Qasim El-Saad, a mother of three who had her shoulder and jaw partially blown off in a street bombing in Baghdad a year ago, says she would be living a very different life today if not for this: After receiving initial trauma care at an emergency room in the Iraqi capital, she decided to go to Lebanon for follow-up treatment at the American University of Beirut Medical Center.
There, doctors took CT scans and created 3-D images of her skull to determine her bone and fat loss. They then grafted stem cells from her abdominal fat onto her face to replace fat that was destroyed as a result of the injury and to correct the contour she had lost. Ms. El-Saad was the first blast-wound patient at the hospital to undergo the procedure, which previously had been used only on cancer patients there.
Iranian influence in Iraq has grown greatly since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Shortly after I returned to Iraq in July 2003, I had driven with Iraqi friends down to see the marshes which Saddam Hussein had ordered drained in order to try to extinguish the Marsh Arabs’ thousands-year way of life. On our way back, we stopped at a roadside fruit and drink stand on the outskirts of Kut. Peeking out from behind a bunch of bananas was a portrait of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran’s revolutionary leader. A month later, I stopped unannounced at a tribal leader’s house in al-Amara. When I had scheduled a visit with him through local Coalition Provisional Authority officials a week before, he was obsequious to the Americans; when I came back unannounced, there in his reception room where he had served us tea a week before was a huge portrait of Khomeini.
Today is the first anniversary of the declaration of a caliphate across Syria and Iraq by the militant group known as Islamic State. The declaration came after the group took control of Mosul, Iraq's second city, and appeared to threaten Baghdad. The Iraqi capital remains a dangerous and difficult place to live, though the nightly curfew has been lifted.
In the 1990s, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein drained the marshes of southern Iraq in order to punish the indigenous Shi'ite tribes that opposed him after the first Gulf War. The desiccation of the marshes destroyed wildlife and the livelihoods of the local people who herded water buffalo there. In 2003, the marshes were re-flooded and and many local buffalo breeders returned to the area.
An Iraqi official said the Kurds who govern the north of the country have no right to sell their own bonds, opening a new dispute between the Baghdad government and the breakaway region. The Kurdistan Regional Government says it has hired Goldman Sachs International and Deutsche Bank AG to gauge interest in a sale of dollar bonds, and meetings with international investors are scheduled this week. “How can they issue them? Who will guarantee them?” Muneer Mohammed Omran, director general of the central bank’s investor department in Baghdad, said by phone. “They’re not allowed to issue international bonds, this is a federal measure. Only the federal government can do that.”