samedi 5 janvier 2008

Opinion: Iraq's Oil Capitals BASRA and KERKUK have six-month make-or-break window in 2008...

Published by

at January 5, 2008 in News Feed.

Plus:*Kirkuk oil stopped, Ceyhan filled*Future of Kirkuk*Baghdad Park Bridges Sectarian Divide*Much, much more
Iraq’s crude capital, Basra, and perhaps its most controversial city, Kirkuk, also flush with oil, face a formidable 2008.

The futures of both depend on how the post-2003 power vacuum plays out, though the latter could be settled with a political compromise in Baghdad.

In Basra, after nearly five years of a U.S. occupation that focused on sectarian divisions, intra-Shiite politics have taken hold.

“It is about the struggle for control of the most important governorate in Iraq, in terms of the oil economy,” said Reidar Visser, editor of the Iraq Web site and an Iraq expert at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. “This struggle is by no means decided yet. It’s not over by any sense.”

Read my entire story for United Press International, click HERE.

Exports of Kirkuk oil have stopped as storage in Turkey fills up, UPI reports.

Iraq’s Parliament and the oil-rich Kirkuk provincial council are divided on a constitutional referendum to decide the province’s fate, UPI reports.

N. Iraq oil exports stop, storage full
Published: Jan. 4, 2008 at 4:17 PM
KIRKUK, Iraq, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Iraq has stopped exports via its northern pipeline because storage tanks in Turkey have been filled.Abdul Razzak Mohammed al-Jiboori of the North Oil Co., a state-run firm, said levels will be drawn down over the next few days after expected sales.Iraq Directory reports the storage reservoirs in Ceyhan, Turkey, reached 6.8 million barrels of oil produced from the Kirkuk oil fields.This is a major feat considering the pipeline from Kirkuk to Ceyhan was mostly offline since 2003 because of attacks from insurgents.In August the Iraq Oil Ministry said repairs and revamped security of the pipeline would improve it.Iraq was averaging about 2 million barrels per day production last year but ended November

More on the Kirkuk council from

The internal struggle for the Iraqi oil law continues, by Munir Chalabi at

A year has passed since the landmark deadline of December 2006, which was ‘publicly’ imposed by the IMF, the Iraqi Study Group (ISG), the US administration and the International Oil companies (IOCs) on the Iraqi government to deliver the long awaited Iraqi oil law.
But it still seems that we are no closer today to seeing the new law approved than we were back in December 2006.

More on the Kurdish-Iraqi debate over Kirkuk as well as the KRG deals by Eric Watkins in Oil & Gas Journal.

The Portrait from Iraq: How the Press Has Covered Events on the Ground, by The Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The myth of sectarianism: The policy is divide to rule, by Dahr Jamail, who spent eight months in Iraq as an independent journalist. Jamail is author of Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq.

Home Thoughts From Abroad: Some U.S. soldiers have spent so much time in Iraq, it feels like home, by Lawrence Kaplan in

Life After the “Islamic State”: Things are getting back to normal as security improves in Baghdad’s residential areas, but no one is quite certain the stability will last, the first in a new series of first-person reports from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting in Iraq called “Iraqi Women’s Voices.”

Baghdad Park Bridges Sectarian Divide: Old friendships between Sunni and Shia friends are revived on neutral ground - a central park in the Iraqi capital, by Bassim al-Shara for IWPR Iraq.

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