Friday, June 20, 2014

In The News: Iraq Update. 'End The Fed' Protests Gathering Steam

Here are all the latest news and updates from the rapidly-changing situation in Iraq, courtesy of Bloomberg.

  • Iraqi govt troops retain control of 310k b/d Baiji refinery, but facility surrounded by territory held by ISIL-led militants
  • Aerial photos yday showed some storage tanks on fire
  • Fierce battles near Baiji and Tal Afar airport: BBC
  • Fighting continues around Tal Afar, halfway between Mosul and Syrian border
  • Clashes reported between ISIL and Kurds south of Kirkuk
  • U.S. to send 300 military advisors to Baghdad; lack sufficient intelligence for imminent air strikes: Gen. Dempsey
  • Saudi Arabia warns against outside intervention in Iraq, blames “exclusionary policies” of Iraqi cabinet: Saudi ambassador writes in Telegraph
  • ISIL hands over captured foreign workers to police

  • Obama declines to endorse Maliki, but stops short of calling for him to step down
  • Challengers emerging to replace Iraq PM: NYT

  • Current output from Iraq’s northern fields cut to 30k b/d; supplying Kirkuk refinery
  • Northern fields were producing ~650-700k b/d before March 2 closure of export pipeline to Turkey

  • Exports from Iraq’s northern fields cut since March 2 when the Iraq-Turkey pipeline was bombed
  • Exports of Kirkuk crude from Turkish port of Ceyhan fell to 24k b/d in March, zero in April: Oil Ministry
  • NOTE: Iraq still exports crude from southern fields via Persian Gulf
  • Kurdish forces have taken control of Kirkuk oil field and city after central govt forces fled
  • Kurds fighting ISIL forces at Bayshir, south of Kirkuk
  • Ashti Hawrami, Kurdish Regional Govt’s natural resources minister, offered to export Kirkuk via Kurdish pipelines, but was rebuffed
  • Kurds to boost exports to 200k-250k b/d in July from 125k b/d now; targeting 400k b/d by end-2014

  • Sprawling complex of storage tanks, processing units
  • Primary source of products for N Iraq; also supplies Baghdad
  • Linked power plant provides electricity to region
  • Represents ~40% of Iraq’s refining capacity; processes      crude delivered by pipeline and rail from Kirkuk, Ajeel (formerly Saddam) and other fields operated by North Oil Co.
  • Lies on Iraq-Ceyhan pipeline; important source of fuel for both govt and ISIL
  • Storage tanks full: Iraq Oil Ministry
  • Capture would provide immediate source of fuel for insurgents’ vehicles and for sale in N Iraq.

  • Production in south unaffected by fighting so far
  • Iraq plans to ship 2.79m b/d from Basrah Oil Terminal in July; most since before 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War
  • BP, Exxon, CNPC and Petronas started to evacuate non- Iraqi staff from nation
  • Shell ’monitoring the situation very carefully’: Andy Brown, head of Shell Upstream International
  • Lukoil has increased security at West Qurna field, where it started production in March
  • Southern oil facilities not beyond ISIL’s reach: Barclays

  • Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is also known as Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)
  • A Sunni jihadist group led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
  • Broke away from al-Qaeda in 2013
  • Want to create a Sunni caliphate across Iraq, Syria and neighboring countries
  • Control large parts of northern Syria
  • Well funded through sales of Syrian oil and antiquities
  • Vowed to attack Baghdad and Shiite holy cities of Karbala and Najaf

  • ISIL insurgents have overrun large parts of northern and central Iraq; Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Shiite Muslim-led govt now seeking to regain control
  • 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and subsequent rise to power of Shiite-Muslim majority alienated Sunni Muslims; Sunnis felt marginalized under Maliki; some support ISIL
  • Maliki accuses ISIL of an alliance with Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath party
  • Shiites constitute majority in southern Iraq

The unfolding end of Iraq as we have known it began with the Syrian civil war. The detached, feckless U.S. response many now counsel for Iraq was first pioneered in Syria. The result if that same course is taken now will be worse.
Iraq is in shambles. The Iraqi army collapsed with stunning speed in major portions of the country that are dominated by aggrieved Sunnis. The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has nearly cut Iraq in half. The “al-Sham” of its name — what Syria was called after its conquest by Muslims in the seventh century — is an indication of the long historical grievances ISIS seeks to remedy. Not only are the borders of Iraq and Syria — borders that were established in the wake of World War I — on the chopping block; ISIS seeks the restoration of an Islamic caliphate, and it is willing to murderously take on all apostasies, including Shia Islam, secular Muslim states, and Western-style freedom.

The Sunni army we see fighting today against the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Maliki is not a remnant: It is a reincarnation birthed across the border in Syria. After the Arab Spring swept that nation in early 2011, President Obama demanded that the dictator Bashar al-Assad “step aside” and said he supported “an effort to bring about a Syria that is democratic, just, and inclusive for all Syrians.”
Except he didn’t. Obama refused to arm secular rebels — the actual humans who could have effected the “effort” Obama envisioned. He dithered until late 2013, and even then offered only token arms. Previously, his first secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, had  ignored the jihadist threat and focused on predictably fruitless efforts to talk Russia into abandoning its ally in Damascus.

Now this horrendous bout — not just Sunnis versus Shiites, but also Islamists versus non-Islamists, and Iranian proxies versus everyone else — has spread from Syria across Iraq. And the worst actors are seemingly in the best positions: ISIS, a derivative of al-Qaeda, dominates Sunni Iraq; and Iran is poised to dominate Shiite Iraq, especially as Tehran offers troops to Baghdad.

The news comes as US President Barack Obama has announced he was not planning to launch airstrikes in support of Iraqi troops fighting the ISIL militants, but would not rule out future “targeted and precise military action.”

He said this would not include returning US combat troops to Iraq, but announced the deployment of 300 special forces troops to Iraq to act as advisers to Iraq forces and provide surveillance and intelligence. This deployment comes on top of the reinforcements already sent to strengthen defences at the US' sprawling Baghdad embassy.

"We have had advisers in Iraq through our embassy, and we're prepared to send a small number of additional American military advisers – up to 300 – to assess how we can best train, advise, and support Iraqi security forces going forward," Mr OBama said during a White House press conference.

This is a fascinating development and one that I had no idea was happening until today. It seems that rallies are spreading throughout Germany protesting the corrupt and dying global status quo. One of the key targets of these groups is the U.S. Federal Reserve system, which as I and many others have maintained, is the core cancer infecting the entire planet.
As I tweeted earlier today:

As I have said many times before, future generations will look back at Central Banking as we look back at slavery.

According to the organizer of these rallies, they have now spread to up to 100 cities and have a combined attendee base of around 20,000. What is also interesting, is that the mainstream media in Germany is calling them Nazis. In Germany, if you don’t support Central Banking, this apparently means you are a Nazi. What a joke. Just more proof mainstream media everywhere is complete and total propaganda. It is also a good sign, since it shows the desperate lengths to which the power structure will go to keep their criminal ponzi alive.
Do these folks seem like Nazis to you?

Also see:

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