The Iraqi budget is still in negotiations, and recent media reports have said the price of oil within the federal budget decreased from $70 to $60. There is no confirmed price. Everyone is an agreement that there will be a deficit in the 2015 federal budget.
The Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is moving towards Iran. News reports in Iraq are saying that the KRG would like to strengthen relationships with Iran according to Prime Minister Massoud Barzani. One of the reasons is that the United States was very slow in providing support to the KRG when they needed it last summer. The Iranians provided support by arms and other military equipment the very next day when the Islamic State captured Mosul. The United States needs to get serious and provide every support tangible to the Iraqi government. If they need more airstrikes then give it to them. If they need more light and heavy weapons then by all means lets support them.
It looks like the new Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is not making Team USA and coalition jubilant. PM al-Abadi is unwilling to reach out to the Sunni groups by not giving them much needed weapons to help fight the Islamic State or (ISIL). The fear is that the Sunni groups with their new issued weapons may turn them against the Shia led Iraqi government. PM al-Abadi can terminate hundreds of corrupt military commanders and locate or eliminate “ghost soldiers” from the payroll, but he don’t see the logic in arming the Sunni groups. Until al-Abadi arms, the Sunni’s and gets them into the government there is not going to be any peace any time soon.
It did not take long for the American Army soldiers in Iraq to get back into combat working with the Iraqi army. The fight was near the Al-Asad air base in western Iraq as the Iraqi army was conducting a counter attack against the Islamic State. The US Army and Iraqi soldiers supported by F-18 air support hovering overhead and directing pinpoint missiles on top of Islamic State fighters. We all know who will win that battle any day of the week. The Islamic State terrorists fled the area, as they are no match for a band of U.S. Army soldiers and Iraqi Army working together in the Anbar province. Expect more combat for our American soldiers the fight is not over with the Islamic State as they will regroup and try again to take over the al-Asad air base. If you didn’t know the al-Asad air base is where a contingent of U.S. soldiers is training the Iraqi army.
In Erbil, the financial situation has been taking a dive as the Islamic State terrorist organization scared off companies that were willing to invest in Erbil. Big oil players like Chevron and ExxonMobil have decided to hold off on any investments in Kurdistan. It does not mean the KRG region will not be exporting oil it just means they have to make do with their current infrastructure. All the expansions and upgrades they planned are now on hold. The Iraqi Kurdistan also says that next year in 2015 oil exports could total 800k bpd.
We will be talking about the Islamic State terror organization for several more years as it appears that they are not going away. Their recruiting is very active, and each week are filling their ranks with local and foreign fighters. Iraq’s largest oil refinery in Baiji was lost by the Iraqi security forces and militia forces fighting against the Islamic State. Today, the Islamic State have regained the lost territory in the city of Baiji. The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) along with Sunni militia fighters have been running low on ammunition and were unable to be resupplied by the Iraqi government. The ISF and Sunni militia groups decided to leave the city, and the Islamic State moved back into seven neighborhoods in Baiji. The Baiji refinery is still under the Iraq government control, and reinforcements are badly needed for the Baiji refinery.
The Tuesday night gurus continue with their disinformation. They continue to publish on their phone calls that the Islamic State is finished as a terror group. Please do not think that things are over in Iraq with the Islamic State. I am all for destroying the Islamic State, however if you look at the slow and delayed response by the U.S. it only harmed the effort. We will be talking about the Islamic State well into 2015 as the Iraqi Security Forces, and the army are being trained to combat Islamic State in the future. Make no mistake the Islamic State is a regional threat to the Middle East, and it will take more than just a few “Hits” that these disinformation gurus are dreaming. Be careful listening to these groups.