Iraq may Change Oil Pricing Benchmark for Asia

By John Lee.

Iraq is considering changing its price benchmark for Basra crude oil sales to Asia.

From January, the State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) proposes to price relative to Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME) Oman futures, rather than the average of Platts’ Oman-Dubai quotes.

According to a report from Reuters, this would mark a significant change away from fellow OPEC members Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran, which have been using S&P Global Platts as their benchmark for decades.

SOMO has asked customers to submit their opinions on the plan by the end of August.

(Source: Reuters)

Jordan keen to Reopen Border with Iraq

Jordan has announced its readiness to reopen the Trebil border crossing with Iraq.

Ghaleb Zubi, Jordan’s Minister of Interior said “Jordan is keen to reopen the border with Iraq at any time.”

The Trebil Border Compound, also known as Karameh Border Crossing, connects the Jordanian town of Ruwaished to the Iraqi town of Trebil.

The reopening of Trebil will have positive effects on the economies of both countries. Jordan and Iraq can exchange medical supplies and other goods through this border,” Zubi Added.

(Source: GardaWorld)

Germany, UNDP agree $2.8m Funding for Reconciliation

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the German Embassy in Baghdad signed a cooperation agreement to support civic and community-based reconciliation across Iraq.

Under the leadership of the Implementation and Follow Up National Reconciliation Committee (IFNRC) of the Office of Iraq’s Prime Minister, UNDP has recently launched a major project to support local peace committees and help communities collect information on atrocities and violations committed against citizens during the conflict.

The Ambassador of Germany to Iraq, Dr. Cyrill Nunn, said:

“Reconciliation on a community level is key to a peaceful future of Iraq. As part of Germany’s commitment to the work of UNDP in Iraq, we are very pleased to support this project which will hopefully contribute to building trust between Iraqi citizens and to a more peaceful and resilient Iraq.”

UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq, Ms. Lise Grande, said:

“Reconciliation is the highest priority in the country. Nothing is more important now right after the liberation of Mosul than helping communities find ways to live together in peace after the terrible years of conflict. Germany’s generous contribution to reconciliation comes at just the right time.”

(Source: UN)

Justice Essential to help Victims of ISIL’s Sexual Violence

Justice essential to help Iraqi victims of ISIL’s sexual violence rebuild lives

The Iraqi Government needs to ensure that the thousands of women and girls who survived rape and other forms of sexual violence by ISIL fighters receive care, protection and justice, and that children born as a result of such violence do not face a life of discrimination and abuse, a UN report published today says.

“Women and girls under the control of ISIL, in particular women from the Yezidi and other minority communities, have been especially vulnerable to abuses of human rights and violation of international humanitarian law,” the report by the UN Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) and the UN Human Rights Office says.

Victims have been subjected to rape and sexual assault, forced displacement, abduction, deprivation of liberty, slavery, forced religious conversion, and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.

“The physical, mental, and emotional injuries inflicted by ISIL are almost beyond comprehension. If victims are to rebuild their lives, and indeed those of their children, they need justice and they need redress,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein (pictured).

The Iraqi Government has the obligation, under domestic law and international human rights law, to ensure all victims have access to justice and reparations. This obligation includes ensuring accountability of the alleged perpetrators through trials before independent and impartial tribunals, conducted in a gender-sensitive manner so as not to perpetuate victims’ suffering.

More Strikes Target ISIS in Syria, Iraq

U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria yesterday, conducting 16 strikes consisting of 36 engagements, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

Officials reported details of yesterday’s strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Strikes in Syria

In Syria, coalition military forces conducted 16 strikes consisting of 36 engagements against ISIS targets:

  • Near Abu Kamal, a strike destroyed two ISIS oil stills, two oil tanks and a separator.
  • Near Dayr Az Zawr, a strike destroyed five ISIS oil stills.
  • Near Raqqa, 14 strikes engaged 13 ISIS tactical units and destroyed 26 fighting positions, an ISIS headquarters, a command-and-control node and ISIS engineering equipment.

Strikes in Iraq

In Iraq, coalition military forces conducted eight strikes consisting of 45 engagements against ISIS targets:

  • Near Qaim, three strikes destroyed two ISIS headquarters and two weapons caches.
  • Near Tal Afar, five strikes engaged four ISIS tactical units; destroyed eight fighting positions, seven mortar systems, four ISIS-held buildings, two tactical vehicles, two medium machine guns, a vehicle, an anti-air artillery system, a weapons cache, a command-and-control node, an artillery system and a supply cache; and damaged four supply routes.

Strikes in Previous Days

Officials also reported today details of 30 strikes consisting of 66 engagements conducted in Syria and Iraq on previous days for which the information was not yet available at the time of yesterday’s report:

  • On Aug. 19 near Raqqa, a strike suppressed an ISIS tactical unit.
  • On Aug. 21 near Raqqa, 24 strikes engaged 16 ISIS tactical units and destroyed 33 fighting positions, a logistics node, a mortar system and an anti-air artillery system.
  • On Aug. 21 near Tal Afar, five strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit; destroyed 49 vehicles, 21 oil trucks, three front-end loaders, two command-and-control nodes and a tank; damaged a supply route; and suppressed five mortar teams.

Part of Operation Inherent Resolve

These strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The destruction of ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria also further limits the group’s ability to project terror and conduct external operations throughout the region and the rest of the world, task force officials said.

The list above contains all strikes conducted by fighter, attack, bomber, rotary-wing or remotely piloted aircraft; rocket-propelled artillery; and some ground-based tactical artillery when fired on planned targets, officials noted.

Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike, they added. A strike, as defined by the coalition, refers to one or more kinetic engagements that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single or cumulative effect.

For example, task force officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIS vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against a group of ISIS-held buildings and weapon systems in a compound, having the cumulative effect of making that facility harder or impossible to use. Strike assessments are based on initial reports and may be refined, officials said.

The task force does not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

Zimbabwe Inflation Rate Retreats, 23 AUGUST

23rd August, 2017Subdued demand due to cash shortages in Zimbabwe has resulted in the annual rate of inflation for the month of July 2017, as measured by the all items consumer price index, to retreat to 0.14% on the June rate of 0,31%, economists say.The economists, however, said the downward movement in the rate of inflation was not as “reflective realistically on the ground as costs of


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