The Baghdad Post presents to its readers the latest news updates and breaking news today in Iraq.
Construction of fifth largest dam in Kurdistan to end by November
The construction on the fifth largest dam in the Kurdistan Region is expected to be completed by November 2019, a local official said.
In remarks on Tuesday, Akram Mohammed, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Director for Dams and Water Resources, said the “Dewana dam in Darbandikhan is to be operational in November 2019, with the capacity of storing up to 22 million cubic meters of water annually.”
The dam, according to Mohammed, is being built on the Dewana River in the province of Sulaimani and will be the fifth largest dam in Kurdistan, in terms of storage capacity, after Dokan, Derbandikhan, Duhok, Awa-spi. It will contribute to water security in Kurdistan, and benefit the local population and farmers in Derbandikhan.”
The construction of the dam started in 2011, however, the economic crisis in the Kurdistan Region in the following years hindered access to adequate funding in development and infrastructure work.
Protests likely to be staged on Friday: Media reports
Protests are expected to be staged in the southern parts on Friday due to the poor public services.
The possible demonstrations are reportedly being organized by certain political parties, which are against the cabinet of Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi due to the incomplete formation of the cabinet resulting from the political rivalries in the country, media reports said.
Last year, protests were staged against the poor public services and lack of job opportunities, which resulted in the killing and wounding of hundreds of people.
Salih urges resolving crisis in Syria politically
Iraqi President Barham Salih has stressed necessity of resolving the Syrian crisis politically and facing terrorism to end the suffering of the Syria people.
During a meeting with Russian President’s Special Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev and his accompanying delegation in Baghdad on Tuesday, Salih said there is “a necessity of enhancing ties of friendship and expanding cooperation between Iraq and Russia in the political and economic domains,” the Iraqi presidency official website said.
Moreover, Salih hailed the role played Russia in the war against terrorism and its support to Iraq.
Iraqi president meets Russian delegation over cooperation, regional developments
Iraqi President Barham Salih on Tuesday met with a visiting Russian delegation to discuss cooperation between the two countries and regional developments, a statement by the presidency office said.
During the meeting with the Russian delegation headed by Alexander Lavrentiev, Russian President Vladimir Putin's special envoy for Syria, Salih "praised Russia's role in the fight against terrorism and its support for Iraq," the statement said.
He also stressed the need to end the suffering of the people in neighboring Syria and empowering them to find a political solution based on fighting terrorism and respecting their will of living a free and dignified life, the statement said.
For his part, Lavrentiev reiterated his country's support to the people of Iraq and its interest to boost friendly relations, according to the statement.
The two sides also discussed the developments in the region, and confirmed the need to adopt a positive and frank dialogue among all parties in order to resolve crises, it added.
On Monday, Lavrentiev arrived in Baghdad and held meetings with Iraq Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hakim, during which he expressed Russia's keenness to ensure Iraq's participation in the Astana conference as an observer.
Lavrentiev's visit came amid escalating tension in the Middle East, as the United States has increased its military activities in the region recently, citing a threat of Iranian attack.
Iraq says foreign forces may not fight in Iraq
Iraq’s prime minister says foreign troops and local militia operating inside his country are forbidden from confronting each other and must operate under the supervision and control of the Iraqi armed forces.
Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s order appeared to make clear that Iraqi soil may not be used as a theater for confrontation between the United States and Iran. The U.S. has more than 5,000 troops stationed in Iraq, while Iran backs local militias, known as the Iranian Militias in Iraq and Syria (IMIS).
Iraq has close relations with both the U.S. and Iran.
Tensions have risen to new levels between the United States and Iran. The U.S. has blamed Iran for attacks on two tankers in the Arabian Gulf. Iran denies that. The U.S. has since ordered 1,000 more troops to the Middle East.
Tehran has said it could end its compliance with the nuclear deal with Western powers that has prevented it from enriching uranium beyond certain levels.
Rocket hits site of foreign oil firms in Iraq's Basra, three hurt
A rocket struck the site of the residential and operations headquarters of several global major oil companies, including U.S. giant ExxonMobil, near Iraq’s southern city of Basra early on Wednesday, wounding three people, Iraq’s military said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. It came after two separate attacks in as many days on bases housing U.S. military personnel in Iraq, as tension rose between the United States and Iran.
The rocket hit the Burjesia site west of the city, according to police and a statement released by the military. Police earlier said two Iraqi workers were wounded.
The United States evacuated hundreds of diplomatic staff from its Baghdad embassy last month, citing unspecified threats from Iran against U.S. interests in neighbouring Iraq, where Tehran supports some Shi’ite militias.
Wednesday’s incident came just as Exxon staff who were also evacuated after the diplomats’ departure had begun to return to Basra.
A security source said Exxon was evacuating 21 foreign staff immediately by plane to Dubai.
Oil officials said operations including exports from southern Iraq were not affected by the incident.
Other companies operating at the site include Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Italy’s Eni SpA, the oil officials said.
The rocket was a short-range Katyusha missile, the military said. Police said it landed 100 metres from the part of the site used as a residence and operations centre by Exxon.
Burjesia is near the Zubair oilfield operated by Eni.
Washington has ramped up sanctions pressure on Iran in recent months and says it has sent additional forces to the region over tension with the Islamic Republic.
It blames Tehran for attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week. Tehran denies it was involved.
Both sides say they do not want war, but analysts warn such incidents could escalate violence in the region.
PUK sets conditions to participate in gov't: source
The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) hinted that it will not take part in the Kurdistan government formation unless the party's list of demands is met, a political source said.
The PUK submitted its paper of demands during his meeting with a delegation from the Kurdistan Democratic Party, according to the source.
The demands include normalizing the situation in Kirkuk, and seeking to appoint a new governor for the province from the PUK members, the source said.
The PUK also demands to get the post of the minister of justice in the federal government, according to the source. The party also asks for a true partnership in the government and to get a larger number of posts.
The last demand is to provide a real partnership in the field of oil, and to give full authorities for the parliament members and ministers.
IRGC has a different priority to Tehran government