Iraq Signs Deals with GCC Interconnection Authority to Transmit Electricity

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Iraq Signs Deals with GCC Interconnection Authority to Transmit Electricity

Monday, 16 September, 2019 – 10:30
Iraq’s Minister of Electricity Luay al-Khateeb speaks during a press conference in Baghdad, Iraq December 11, 2018. Hadi Mizban/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
Baghdad – Fadhel al-Nashmi
Iraq signed Sunday a landmark deal with the GCC Interconnection Authority (GCC IA) for a transmission line.

Initially, the line would import 500 megawatts of electricity to its overstretched grid by 2020 and in competitive Gulf market prices, revealed the Iraqi Electricity Ministry.

The 300-kilometer transmission line would run from Kuwait to Iraq’s southern port of Faw and be financed by the GCC IA, according to the ministry.

Electricity Minister Luay al-Khateeb signed the deal, which comes amid other agreements signed with huge western firms under the strategy adopted by the ministry to reform and develop the sector, which has been suffering from a deteriorating power supply.

Iraq partly fills its power shortages by importing both electricity and natural gas from Iran.

Musab al-Mudarres, the spokesperson for the Iraqi Electricity Ministry, told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Iraq seeks to become a promising market for energy by networking with the Gulf system and importing 500 megawatts by 2020, and being the link between the Gulf energy system and Europe’s.

Mudarres stressed that the ministry is working on a road map set to revitalize the energy sector, which depends on the assistance of giant firms such as General Electric (GE) and Siemens.

As for the volume of generated electricity and the target output of the ministry, the spokesperson said that Iraq has a power capacity of around 18,000 megawatts, including the amount imported through Iranian lines. But the ministry aims for 30,000 megawatts in the coming three to four years.

On Saturday, the ministry signed deals with Siemens and Orascom Construction to rebuild two power plants. Also, GE signed a new agreement with Mass Energy Group Holding (MGH) to help boost electricity generation to 4.5 megawatts.

Iraq: Prime Minister to Head to China to Sign MoUs

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Iraq: Prime Minister to Head to China to Sign MoUs

Saturday, 14 September, 2019 – 11:00
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi (Reuters)
Baghdad- Fadhel al-Nashmi
Iraqi political and economic circles are optimistic about the upcoming four-day visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to Beijing on September 19.

It is reported in some economic circles that the visit will lead to the signing of about 30 memorandums of understanding (MoU) between Baghdad and Beijing including construction, services, trade, and industry.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said last week that Asia and Australia Department organized a consultative meeting for a number of representatives of Iraqi ministries and institutions. During the meeting, the officials discussed the MoUs to be signed during the PM’s visit to China.

PM’s advisor Abdul-Hussein al-Hunayen said that Abdul Mahdi will head to China on the 19th of September chairing a large delegation including ministers, advisers and businessmen.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Hunayen said that the program of the visit includes major projects in roads, transportation, services, education, and health among others.

He noted that both sides have prepared for the visit through continuous meetings with major Chinese companies, and the completion of the funding model through the Iraqi-Chinese joint reconstruction fund.

During the visit, the adviser expects the officials to sign a number of contracts and major agreements in the sectors of industry and agriculture, construction of schools, hospitals, housing, roads, trains, and bridges.

Hunayen also noted that Iraq is considering signing a number of agreements with US companies, such as Exxon Mobil, Gi Group, and others. In addition, Iraq opened its doors to neighboring countries for investments, namely Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Gulf countries, and Jordan.

Earlier in April, a large delegation of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) visited Baghdad to discuss Chinese investments in the reconstruction of the liberated areas. The delegation met with Iraqi officials and discussed coordinating Iraqi-Chinese cooperation in the fields of reconstruction, security and economy.

China’s Ambassador to Iraq Zhang Tao told al-Sabah semi-official newspaper that the Chinese side attaches great importance to developing relations with Iraq and looks forward to seizing the opportunity of this visit to make joint efforts with the Iraqi side to further consolidate and deepen bilateral relations.

Zhang expressed his hope that Abdul Mahdi’s visit will contribute to upgrading the level of mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields. He also hoped it will enhance human and cultural communication between the two friendly countries in the framework of the strategic partnership.

Differences Between Iraq, Kuwait over Border Issues

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Differences Between Iraq, Kuwait over Border Issues

Wednesday, 4 September, 2019 – 11:15
Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad Sahhaf (MOFA)
Baghdad – Fadhel al-Nashmi
Iraq’s Foreign Ministry acknowledged Tuesday sending two identical letters to the UN secretary-general and president of the UN security council on controversial border issues with Kuwait. It also referred to a similar letter sent earlier by Kuwait in this regard.

Contrary to the convulsive statements made by Kuwaiti and Iraqi deputies in light of the complaint submitted, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, through its spokesman Ahmad Sahhaf, appeared to have sought to “calmly” deal with the issue.

In a statement, of which Asharq Al-Awsat has received a copy, Sahhaf said that there is a “legal dispute with Kuwait over dealing with a maritime border issue between the two countries.”

“It is in dealing with a border site which we refer to as (base) while the Kuwaiti side refers to it as (island) as the baseline adopted in drawing the maritime border between the two countries at a certain point after sign 162,” he explained.

He also pointed to the ongoing negotiations on the specific point of view.

It is noteworthy that Iraq has already expressed its objection over Kuwait’s unilateral construction projects in the disputed area.

“Kuwait has sent letters to the UN on its position in this regard, prompting Iraq to send identical letters to both the UN secretary-general and president of the UN security council,” Sahhaf explained.

Iraq’s goal is to indicate the legal interpretation of the situation, which would most probably serve Iraq’s favor, Sahhaf added.

Press reports in Kuwait quoted Monday UN diplomatic sources as saying that the Iraqi Permanent Representative to the UN, Mohammed Bahr al-Uloom, delivered a letter to the president of the Security Council requesting it to be circulated as an official document.

Reports added that the Iraqi government has called on the UN to document its official complaint against Kuwait’s’ geographical changes carried out in the maritime area after the sign 162 in Khor Abdullah by installing a port structure over Fisht Al-Eij area unilaterally without taking Iraq’s consent.

Latest developments between Iraq and Kuwait take place after years of calm and communication, which followed a long rivalry as a result of Saddam Hussein’s occupation of Kuwait in 1990.

Through Ignorance World Leaders Wasted Our Blood And Gold

Through Ignorance World Leaders Wasted Our Blood And Gold

 

Yes I did say our, as in (you and I) we are all part of this world conversation we call our lives. There is a section of the world’s population who have no faith system of any kind, what percent, I don’t know that answer but it probably varies from nation to nation wouldn’t you think? What I am going to get at is this, you don’t have to believe in something, for that something to kill you. Here in the States there are a lot of Atheist type folks who through their lack of knowledge degrade Christianity and Judaism every chance they get. Unfortunately we find many of these people in seats of power throughout many nations.

I want to ask you what you thought when your nation (if yours did) put blood and money into these Islamic nations, putting our soldiers in direct open conflict with various Islamic faith factions. I totally agree that after 911 when the experts figured out that Osama was behind it and they learned that he was in Afghanistan being protected by the Taliban whom would not give him up, we should have removed them from the face of the earth. The bigger problem after running those Satanic embers out of power was in how to rebuild this broken nation both physically via helping them build a national infrastructure and a solid national pride in getting all of it’s people a quality education both boys and girls. But, big but, how do you cure the inside of a person when their moral fiber is evil and they refuse to change their beliefs or culture within their own brains?

Our nations leaders should all have known that there is no way to help create a puppet government that can only stand for as long as we prop it up with a lot of our blood and money and honestly expect the nations of fundamental Islam to not retake everything once we leave? O, but isn’t that the same lesson our leaders didn’t learn in Iraq either? There is a fundamental reality about the Islamic faith at it’s core, they do not believe in democracies as the rule of law.

The whole world is in a position to have it’s ground stained with the blood of their own children. There are many major brewing and open conflict areas on the globe, all are dangerous, but no conflict can ever be as dangerous as one that is about what a group’s Faith teaches, especially if that Faith teaches global enslavement by force. I would like to say to the world, please wake up, but I have no faith that we will. Folks the world of Islam is very much at war with you and they will kill you whether you believe in them or not, they would prefer we all be foolish, it makes us all easier to kill. Only Islamic believers can put an end to Islamic violence that is generated by Islamic believers who believe that they are following the teachings of G-d via the Quran and the Hadith. I believe that there is little chance of this ever happening as I believe that way to many folks within the different clans are complicit with this evil.

 

Report: Beirut strike will delay Hezbollah missile program by at least a year

Report: Beirut strike will delay Hezbollah missile program by at least a year

Powerful planetary mixer used in creation of solid state fuel is said to have been destroyed in drone explosion; was reportedly flown in from Iran

Two crates reportedly belonging to Hezbollah containing critical technical machinery that were destroyed in a drone strike attributed to Israel in Beirut on August 25, 2019. (Twitter)

Two crates reportedly belonging to Hezbollah containing critical technical machinery that were destroyed in a drone strike attributed to Israel in Beirut on August 25, 2019. (Twitter)

The target of a drone attack on a Hezbollah facility in Beirut early Sunday that has been attributed to Israel was an expensive and rare industrial mixing machine used in the creation of solid fuel, and the raid set back the terror group’s plans to develop long-range precision missiles by at least a year, according to Hebrew media reports late Tuesday.

In the predawn hours of Sunday morning, two copter-style drones flew into the Dahiyeh neighborhood of Beirut. One crashed and was recovered by Hezbollah, while the other exploded while still in the air, causing damage and sparking a fire.

Hezbollah and the Lebanese government have blamed Israel for the drone strike. Israeli officials have refused to comment on the matter, and many analysts have suggested the drones were Iranian, not Israeli.

While Israel has been facing off against Hezbollah and its patron Iran, following the 2006 Second Lebanon War, the Israeli military has largely refrained from carrying out large strikes against the terror group inside Lebanon, instead, according to foreign reports, focusing the fighting in Syria and more recently Iraq.

Though Israel has been accused of conducting limited airstrikes against Hezbollah deep in Lebanon in the 13 years since the war, this week’s drone attack in the heart of Beirut would mark a shift to a more aggressive defense policy for the Jewish state.

A Lebanese soldier walks past military intelligence investigators inspecting the site where two drones crashed earlier in the day, in the south of the capital Beirut on August 25, 2019. (ANWAR AMRO / AFP)

According to Lebanese media Tuesday, the country’s military believes that the unmanned aerial vehicles were launched from within eight kilometers of the site of the explosion, indicating that they were either launched within Lebanon or came in from the sea.

Hezbollah has claimed that only its media offices were damaged by the blast.

However, on Tuesday afternoon, the British Times newspaper reported that the targets of the strike were two crates that held materials for a Hezbollah program to turn its stock of simple rockets into precision-guided missiles — a project that is of deep concern to Israel as it would significantly increase the threat posed by these projectiles.

Last September, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the United Nations General Assembly in a speech that Israel knew of this Hezbollah plot and even provided the geographic coordinates for the facilities where the missiles were allegedly being produced.

Following Netanyahu’s remarks and the increased scrutiny in Lebanon, the terror group reportedly moved these factories to different locations.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York September 27, 2018, and holds up a placard detailing alleged Hezbollah missile sites in Beirut. (AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

This Hezbollah program is focused on two main goals: locally manufacturing long-range precise missiles and upgrading its current stock of simple rockets into precision-guided ones.

According to Israeli defense officials, the terror group has not yet succeeded in these goals and possesses only a small number of precision-guided missiles.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has denied the existence of the factories but said his organization does possess such weaponry.

On Tuesday night, several Hebrew media outlets reported additional information about the two targets of the Beirut drone strike — the specialized industrial mixer and a computerized control unit.

According to these reports, the mixer was the far more significant target, as it is necessary for the creation of the solid fuel used in long-range missiles and was the only machine of its kind inside Lebanon.

This type of device — known as a vertical planetary mixer — is used around the world in militaries and space programs to produce solid fuels. Due to the delicate nature of this work, these machines must be incredibly precise and are therefore difficult to manufacture.

A drone that crashed in the Lebanese capital of Beirut on August 25, 2019. (Lebanese state media)

According to Channel 13 news, the planetary mixer targeted in the Beirut strike had recently been flown into Lebanon from Iran. It was being held temporarily in Dahiyeh before being transferred to the factory where the actual work on the precision missile project was being performed.

This mixer and the fuel that it would help produce would have been used by Hezbollah to create a locally-produced, precise long-range rocket.

The damage to the mixer rendered it unusable and is believed to have set back this aspect of Hezbollah’s precision missile program by at least a year.

The computerized control unit was reportedly tied to the second aspect of the terror group’s missile project — upgrading existing stocks of rockets.

It was not immediately clear how valuable a target this was.

On Tuesday, Hezbollah said the drone that crashed in Beirut contained an explosive device weighing more than five kilograms (11 pounds).

The scene of where an alleged Israeli drone fell in southern Beirut on August 25, 2019. (screen capture: Twitter)

“Experts dismantled the first drone that crashed in Beirut’s southern suburbs; it was found that it contained a sealed explosive device” of around 5.5 kilograms, Hezbollah said in a statement.

“We confirm that the purpose of this first drone was not reconnaissance but the carrying out of a bombing attack,” it added.

The latest discovery, Hezbollah said, confirms that Sunday’s drone attack involved not one but two explosive-rigged drones — one which exploded and the other that did not because of a technical failure.

On Monday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun denounced the alleged Israeli drone attack as a “declaration of war.”

Hezbollah, considered a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States, is a major political actor in Lebanon and also a key government backer in war-torn Syria.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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US, Russia gave Israel green light to strike Iran in Syria, Iraq

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Report: US, Russia gave Israel green light to strike Iran in Syria, Iraq

Under alleged agreement, Jerusalem allowed to conduct attacks against Iranian threats in Middle East, but can’t publicly acknowledge them

Explosions at an arms depot of a Shiite militia group in Iraq, August 20, 2019 (video screenshot)

Explosions at an arms depot of a Shiite militia group in Iraq, August 20, 2019 (video screenshot)

Israel has conducted several strikes on Iranian-controlled bases in Syria and Iraq in recent weeks with permission from the United States and Russia, a Western diplomatic source told a Saudi-owned newspaper Wednesday.

Moscow and Washington agreed that the Jewish state could conduct these attacks on Iranian targets in order to “ensure Israel’s security,” the source told the London-based Arabic-language Asharq Al-Awsat.

In recent weeks, a number of explosions have been reported in Iraqi military installations connected to pro-Iranian Shiite militias, including on Tuesday night in an arms depot north of Baghdad.

As part of the reported agreement, Israel would not publicly acknowledge carrying out the strikes. However, this has not prevented Israeli officials from hinting at their involvement in these attacks.

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Asked about Tuesday night’s blast at the pro-Iranian militia base, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israeli reporters, “Iran has no immunity, anywhere… We will act — and currently are acting — against them, wherever it is necessary.”

The explosions have occurred in bases and warehouses belonging to militia groups under the umbrella of the mainly Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). The state-sanctioned PMF militias have fought alongside Iraq’s regular armed forces against the Islamic State group.

Iraqi MP Karim Alaiwi told pro-Hezbollah Lebanese network al-Mayadeen on Wednesday that evidence pointed to Israel being behind recent attacks on Shiite militias, adding that the Jewish state was trying to weaken the PMF.

Alaiwi said American forces controlled Iraqi airspace and reasoned that no one could be conducting airstrikes without US knowledge.

The Iraqi Civil Defense said in a statement that Tuesday’s blast occurred near Balad air base, one of the country’s largest. A Shiite militia group is stationed nearby.

Iraqi security forces’ vehicles are seen at the delivery ceremony of four new US- made F-16 fighter jets at Balad air base, 75 kilometers (45 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq, July 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

The officials who confirmed the explosion spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity in line with regulations. They said the blast occurred in a depot belonging to the PMF and that an investigation was underway.

The mysterious blasts have given rise to a host of theories, including that Israel may have conducted airstrikes.

No one has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s blast or other recent explosions.

In July, an explosion took place at a PMF base in Amirli, in Iraq’s northern Salaheddin province, killing two Iranians and causing a huge fire.

Last week, a massive explosion was also reported at the al-Saqr military base.

Israel has struck Iranian bases in neighboring Syria on numerous occasions, and there has been speculation that it might be expanding its campaign to target Iranian bases in  Iraq. However, neither the Iraqi government nor Israel has addressed the reports.

Satellite photo of a weapons depot in southern Baghdad controlled by a pro-Iranian militia that was hit in an alleged Israeli operation on August 12, 2019. (ImageSat International)

Israeli officials have identified Iraq as a likely growing base of operations for Iran-backed efforts against the Jewish state. But Israeli officials have so far neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the strikes.

Raphael Ahren, AP and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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5 Oldest Cities in Asia (Middle-East)

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 Oldest Cities in Asia

Humans have been building communities for a long time. A really long time. There are people living in places that have seen millennia of human settlement, particularly on the Asian continent, widely considered to be the place where civilization started. Ranking the age of some of these cities is going to be mind-boggling, to say the least, so we’d recommend trying to think about time less as a human would and switch more to a geological scale. It might make it easier. These are the five oldest cities in Asia.

Erbil, Iraq

Erbil, Iraq

Credit: sadikgulec/iStock

~7,000 Years

You may remember learning in elementary school that the earliest civilized people in the Fertile Crescent built their homes out of mud bricks. We do, anyway. We also remember thinking bricks like that can’t be as permanent as ours. Well, they aren’t, which is how the city of Erbil got its start. Roughly located in the center of the city is the Erbil Citadel, a massive fortified dirt mound on an otherwise flat plain. The mound is man-made and the result of thousands of years of settlements built on top of settlements built on top of settlements. The reason people were able to build on top of settlements is the wearing down of those mud bricks we mentioned earlier. Over time, the bricks disintegrate in place, adding a thin layer of dirt to the growing mound. Multiply that by a few thousand years and thousands of residents and Erbil grows from the result.

Byblos, Lebanon

Byblos, Lebanon

Credit: benedek/iStock

~7,000 Years

In Phoenician mythology, Byblos was founded by the god El at the beginning of time. While that might not be completely factual, the mythological truth of the statement can’t be denied. It’s a city so old it’s at least partially responsible for naming the Bible, thanks to its booming papyrus trade (the main thing the Bible was printed on at the time) and the Greek word for book, biblos. Before it accidentally named the second largest religion’s main publication, it was famous for its shipbuilding industry and enabled the Phoenicians to solidify their reputation as world-class sailors. Even before that it was an important port for Mediterranean trade, exporting prized Lebanese cedar to the powerful Egyptian empire. The city’s declined somewhat since its ancient glory, though Ernest Renan, a prominent French historian, contributed to its rejuvenation when he published the mostly forgotten history of Byblos in 1860.

Ray, Iran

Ray, Iran

Credit: mazzo1982/iStock

~7,500 Years

The true age of Ray is difficult, maybe impossible, to determine. A lot of the “archaeology” that went on in the city in the late 1800s and early 1900s amounted to little more than destructive treasure hunting, meaning the trace evidence that could prove the city’s true edge may have been permanently destroyed. But the city’s resilience proved more than treasure hunters could completely destroy. Excavations in the 1990s and 2000s turned up what would be classified as “horizon pottery of Češmeh Ali” and puts Ray’s founders among the very first settlers of the Iranian plateau around 5,500 B.C.

Today, Ray’s been incorporated into the larger metropolitan area of Tehran, no slouch of a city itself. But Ray still has the Iranian capital beaten by a few centuries at least.

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Jericho

Jericho

Credit: Gosiek-B/iStock

~11,000 Years

Jericho’s roots grow so deep that the term “settlers” is more accurate than it is for other places. The earliest traces of human habitation around Jericho point to Mesolithic hunters who just decided to stay put one day. Like the hunters simply got tired and literally settled down. A thousand years after that, the hunters’ descendants started work on a huge stone wall around the town, with evidence of at least one huge tower incorporated into the wall. That’s 10,000 years of walled defense. So while Jericho might not be the oldest settlement in human history, its famous wall certainly is.

Damascus, Syria

Damascus, Syria

Credit: uchar/iStock

~10,000 — 12,000 Years

Twelve thousand years is a ridiculously long time, almost too long to conceptualize. To put it in some kind of perspective, Damascus possibly being 12,000 years old would put its founding during the Ice Age. During. Humans were settling down in Damascus at the same time half the Northern Hemisphere was buried under 4 kilometers of ice.

To make an even more of a dramatic statement of humanity’s ability to build cities, Damascus retains excellent examples from each of the major civilizations to contribute to its construction. Examples of Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic architecture are all on full display in the city, with the major examples being the Roman Temple of Jupiter, Roman walls and gates, and the Great Mosque built by Umayyad Caliphate. Essentially, what the city is today is a living, breathing Arabic city built on a hybrid Greek and Roman city plan in a location that’s seen human habitation since most of the Earth’s surface was made of glaciers.

Iraqi Police: ISIS Attack Kills Seven Security Forces

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Iraqi Police: ISIS Attack Kills Seven Security Forces

Thursday, 1 August, 2019 – 09:45
Iraqi security forces gather at the site of a car bomb in New Baghdad, January 11, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad
Asharq Al-Awsat
At least seven members of Iraq’s security forces were killed and 16 wounded overnight in two separate attacks by ISIS, police said on Thursday.

Three members of the paramilitary Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) and two policemen were killed in an attack in the Sayed Gharib area north of Salahuddin province’s Dujail district, 50 km north of Baghdad, late on Wednesday, police said, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, a mortar attack against Kurdish forces in Kola Jawi village of Sulaimaniya province’s Kalar district at midnight killed two members of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government’s Asayish internal security forces and wounded 14, an Asayish source said.

However, ISIS has not claimed responsibility for either attack.

According to Reuters, Iraq declared victory over ISIS, which once held large swathes of the country, in December 2017.

Israel: Israel said to hit Iranian sites in Iraq, expanding strikes on missile shipments

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL NEWS)

 

Israel said to hit Iranian sites in Iraq, expanding strikes on missile shipments

IAF F-35 jets said to be behind 2 strikes on Iran-linked targets near Baghdad in 10 days; no comment from IDF

Illustrative: An Israeli Air Force F-35 Lightning II fighter jet takes part in a graduation ceremony for IAF pilots at the Hatzerim base in Israel's Negev desert on December 26, 2018. (Jack Guez/AFP)

Illustrative: An Israeli Air Force F-35 Lightning II fighter jet takes part in a graduation ceremony for IAF pilots at the Hatzerim base in Israel’s Negev desert on December 26, 2018. (Jack Guez/AFP)

Israel has expanded its operations against Iranian targets to Iraq, where Air Force jets have struck twice in ten days, a report said Tuesday morning.

Israel commonly conducts strikes in Syrian territory, targeting Iranian missile shipments meant for Lebanese terror group Hezbollah to use against the Jewish state, but strikes in Iraq by Israel have not been reported since the 1981 bombing of a nuclear reactor.

Asharq Al-Awsat, an Arabic-language newspaper published in London, cited Western diplomatic sources as saying an Israeli F-35 plane was behind a July 19 strike on a rocket depot in a Shiite militia base north of Baghdad.

The IDF has not commented on the report.

The Saudi-based al-Arabiya network reported at the time that members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and Hezbollah had been killed in the strike. It said the base had shortly before the strike received Iranian ballistic missiles, which had been hidden inside trucks.

Iraq’s military said at the time that one fighter was killed and two Iranians wounded, saying the strike was carried out by an unmanned drone. The United States denied involvement.

In this photo from July 1, 2016, members of the Iran-backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq paramilitary group take part in a Quds Day march in Baghdad, Iraq. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban, File)

Asharq Al-Awsat also said that Israel was behind another strike in Iraq carried out Sunday at Camp Ashraf, the former headquarters of the exiled People’s Mujahedin of Iran, located 40 kilometers northeast of Baghdad and 80 kilometers from the Iranian border.

That strike targeted Iranian advisers and a ballistic missile shipment, the report cited sources as saying.

The report also mentioned a strike in Syria last week blamed on Israel, in which nine were killed including six Iranians fighting for the Syrian regime, claiming it was meant to prevent Iran from taking over a strategic hill in the Daraa province in the country’s south.

Israeli missiles targeted “military positions and intelligence facilities belonging to Iran and [pro-Iranian] militias” in the southern provinces of Daraa and Quneitra early on Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at the time.

The other three killed in the strike were pro-regime Syrian fighters, it added.

Illustrative: Explosions seen near Damascus on July 1, 2019, during a purported Israeli airstrike. (Screen capture/Twitter)

Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria since the beginning of the conflict in 2011, targeting Iranian and Hezbollah forces in the country, as well as those loyal to the Assad regime, as part of a stated policy to prevent arms transfers to Hezbollah in Lebanon and the entrenchment of Iranian military forces across from Israel’s northern border.

Israel does not usually comment on specific reports of strikes, but does insist it has the right to defend itself by targeting positions held by Iran and Hezbollah.

Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi boasted last week that Israel is the only country in the world that has been “killing Iranians.”

In a speech to the UN General Assembly last September, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that “Israel will do whatever it must do to defend itself against Iran’s aggression. We will continue to act against you in Syria. We will act against you in Lebanon. We will act against you in Iraq. We will act against you whenever and wherever we must act to defend our state and defend our people.” An excerpt from that speech was utilized in a recent Likud election campaign clip.

Times of Israel staff and agencies contributed to this report.

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Saudi: Iraq, Iran Sign Agreement to Establish Investment Funds

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Iraq, Iran Sign Agreement to Establish Investment Funds

Tuesday, 30 July, 2019 – 11:15
Baghdad – Asharq Al-Awsat
Head of Iran’s Securities and Exchange Organization (SEO) Shapour Mohammadi announced the conclusion of a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) with Iraq.

One of the most important objectives of this MoC is the establishment of mutual investment funds.

The signing ceremony was attended by Chairman of Iraq Securities Commission Alaa al-Saedi and Iraq’s Ambassador to Iran Saad Jawad Qandil.

Fars news agency quoted Mohammadi as saying that the MoC includes the establishment of an SEO branch in Iraq and the creation of a platform for exporting and importing goods through this branch, as well as providing legal and technical advice on the capital market.

“Unifying the legal regime of the Iranian and Iraqi capital market is one of the provisions of the memorandum, which will be overseen by a bilateral joint committee,” Mohammadi said.

Saedi, for his part, said that with the “conclusion of this agreement, exchange of information and experience with Iran will take place in a specialized and advanced manner.”

He added that the Commission seeks to take advantage of Iran’s experiences in the field of securities exchange business.

Qandil said the MoC is a great step towards bilateral cooperation and will contribute to bilateral economic dealings.

An Iraqi official source, who spoke of condition of anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the MoC includes only covers the stock exchange, noting that the Commission’s law allows such agreements between countries and companies.

However, Iraqi economic expert Bassem Jamil Antoun doubted that the agreement could be implemented given the US sanctions imposed on Iran.

“The Iraq Securities Commission has the right to conclude agreements with countries in case there are agreements that allow it. However, any transfer of money in dollars from Iraq to Iran cannot be performed because Iraq’s Central Bank is committed to applying sanctions on Iran,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“Any money transfer in dollars must pass through the United States.”