Saturday, June 28, 2014

Mapping Iraq's fighting groups - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Mapping Iraq's fighting groups - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

German exporters hit by Ukraine crisis - Reuters

...In the first four months of this year, exports to Ukraine and Russia declined by more than 2.0 billion euros ($2.7 billion), according to data compiled by the Committee on Eastern Europe Economic Relations.

Exports to Ukraine plunged by 31 percent or by 500 million euros and exports to Russia were down 14 percent or by 1.7 billion euros, the committee calculated....

Some 60 percent of them said they are already feeling the economic fall-out on their Russian activities from Ukraine, including 10 percent who described the impact as "very negative".

Around half of those companies that had planned to invest in the region have put those plans on ice.
Some 44 percent said they opposed economic sanctions on Russia....

-bth: So it is hard to imagine the Ukrainian market or the Russian economy thriving in this politically charged environment.

Unprecedented Kurdish peshmerga deployment in Iraq - Reuters

... The peshmerga are deployed along areas that far exceed the previously accepted borders of the Kurdish region.

That includes the disputed oil hub of Kirkuk, a city Kurdistan has long hoped to control over objections from the Iraqi federal government.

On Friday, Barzani declared that there was no going back on Kurdish control of Kirkuk and other areas held by his troops.

"Now, this (issue)... is achieved," he said, referring to a constitutional article meant to address the Kurds' ambition to incorporate disputed territory.

Yawar said the current line of deployment would hold, ruling out the peshmerga either retreating to the old borders or advancing to seize territory from the militants.

"Our strategy at the moment is just to defend this line... to prevent any terrorists from entering the region," he said.

"And we are not going to be involved in any military operations beyond that line."

'Worst is over' in Iraq, ex general in US-led invasion says - Reuters

... Until now, ISIL has primarily made inroads in Sunni Arab areas in the north of Iraq, supported by Sunni militants that loathe current Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

"The worst is over," Conway said.

"The ISIS (as ISIL is often also called) are probably surprised themselves with their degree of success."

But "they will not mess with the Kurds, they will not be able to take Baghdad and they can't go into the south where the oil fields are because it's all Shiite territory".

The Kurds already have their own autonomous region in the north and have defended key towns outside this area against the militants after federal forces withdrew.

Conway said that the Kurds may take advantage of the current situation and "establish once and for all a separate Kurdistan"....

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Iraq's Kurdish Leader Says It's Time For Self-Determination - Radio Free Europe

The president of Iraq's autnomous Kurdish region, Masud Barzani, has expressed strong support for Kurdish self-determination.

Barzani told CNN, "During the last 10 years, we did everything in our ability, we made every effort, and we showed all flexibility in order to build a new, democratic Iraq."

But he added, "Unfortunately, the experience has not been successful the way that it should have."

Barzani said Iraq was falling apart and reiterated a threat to hold a referendum on independence from the rest of the country.

Barzani concluded, "It is the time now, the time is here for the Kurdistan people to determine their future, and the decision of the people is what we are going to uphold."

bth: looks like the Kurds are about to make their move for independence.

Successful Test of the CE-II Ground Based Interceptor

Broadsword: Industry, MoD brass closing ranks to cap defence F...

Broadsword: Industry, MoD brass closing ranks to cap defence F...: By Ajai Shukla Business Standard, 21st June 14 At a meeting scheduled in New Delhi on Saturday between senior MoD brass and defe...

Standard learns that CII is likely to discuss the issue internally and then issue
a revised press release on June 24, recommending a 49 per cent cap on FDI in
defence. Like Ficci, CII could propose that foreign companies be allowed
majority stakes, even full ownership, only if they fulfil stringent conditions
such as transferring cutting-edge technology, retaining Indian control and
employment, and keeping Intellectual Property Rights in India.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Acute shortages of gasoline and electricity in Mosul - France24

...For those who stayed on in Mosul, life is getting increasingly difficult. “Mosul is out of everything,” said Abu Ibrahim, a Mosul resident who drove 40 kilometers to get to this pump. “There is no petrol, no water, no electricity. There’s nothing. Everyone has fled to Kurdistan, which has created a crisis here. Before, it was not like this. There was no problem with the gas here. But after one week, it’s like this,” said Ibrahim gesturing to the lines of vehicles.
On the other side of the street, Ahmad, the taxi driver, blames the residents of Mosul for exacerbating the problem. “People from Mosul just fill their tanks here and sell the gasoline for much more over there,” he says.
Zaher Sharif, the manager of the gas station, agrees. “People buy gas here for 500 Iraqi dinars (around 30 cents) per liter, and sell it on the other side for more than 2500 dinars (around 1.60 euros) per liter....

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Battle of the Baghdad Belt 2006

Shiite cleric issues threat to US military advisers as Iraq militants take border post - Fox News

A high-level Shiite cleric in Iraq issued a warning to American military advisers bound for Iraq Friday, hours before Sunni militants captured a crossing on Iraq's border with Syria and Shiite militia members paraded in Baghdad and other cities.

Sky News reports that Nassir al-Saedi, a cleric loyal to the firebrand Muqtada al-Sadr, referred to America as "the occupier" in a sermon during Friday prayers and added "We will be ready for you if you are back."...

-bth: so basically our advisers would be targets to Sadr's Shiite militia

Iran rejects US action in Iraq - IOL

Anbar, Iraq - Iran's supreme leader condemned US intervention in Iraq on Sunday, accusing Washington of seeking control as Sunni insurgents drove toward Baghdad from the Syrian border and consolidated positions in the north and west.

The statement by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was the clearest statement of opposition to a U.S. plan to dispatch of up to 300 military advisers in response to pleas from the Iraqi government and runs counter to speculation that old enemies Washington and Tehran might cooperate to defend their mutual ally in Baghdad.

“We are strongly opposed to US and other intervention in Iraq,” IRNA news agency quoted Khamenei as saying. “We don't approve of it as we believe the Iraqi government, nation and religious authorities are capable of ending the sedition.”

The Iranian and the US governments had seemed open to collaboration against al Qaeda offshoot the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which is fighting both the US-backed, Shi'ite-led government of Iraq and the Iranian-backed president of Syria, whom Washington wants to see overthrown.

“American authorities are trying to portray this as a sectarian war, but what is happening in Iraq is not a war between Shi'ites and Sunnis,” said Khamenei, who has the last word in the Islamic Republic's Shi'ite clerical administration.

Accusing Washington of using Sunni Islamists and followers of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, he added: “The US is seeking an Iraq under its hegemony and ruled by its stooges.”...

-bth: to say it is not a sectarian conflict is to live in fantasy land.