On January 3, U.S. President Trump ordered a drone "scheduled removal" of Iranian general Suleimani at Baghdad International Airport. In the following week, every move of the two countries still affected the nerves of the world. 基地发射导弹。 On January 8, in retaliation, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards fired missiles at two US military bases in Iraq.
On the morning of January 8th, Eastern Time, US President Trump addressed the White House. He said Iran "looks like it's gone" and the United States is ready to "embrace the peace that everyone wants."
Judging from his speech, the United States, like Iran, wants to cool down tensions that are about to erupt. Trump's statement has undoubtedly relieved the whole world. Among them, in addition to the people of the United States and Iran, it is the Iraqi people who are most afraid of the situation.
The facts continue to prove that the most immediate victim of this tense conflict is undoubtedly Iraq. Although the situation has cooled, Iraq's plans to revive the oil industry have been affected.
Storm Center of Iraq
The day after Suleimani was killed, thousands of Iraqi people flocked to the streets of Baghdad. According to the Washington Post, they cried beside Suleimani's coffin, and, like the Iranians, vowed to avenge him. On this day, except for Suleimani's funeral procession, the streets of Baghdad were almost empty. Suleimani's death shook Iraq and exacerbated long-standing fears that this land will once again become the center of a bloody shadow war between Washington and Tehran.
It turns out that these concerns are becoming a reality. In this escalating conflict, where the violence took place all over Iraq, the Iraqis also understand that their country has been at the center of the storm in the dispute between the United States and Iran.
On December 3, 2019, protesters set fire to the house in front of the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad. According to the Associated Press
According to the Washington Post, Iraq is Iran's neighbor and the two countries have a 900-mile border. Historically, Iraq has been part of Persia for hundreds of years. In modern times, relations between the two countries have been very tense.
In 1980, former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iran sparked an eight-year war that killed hundreds of thousands of people. After the Saddam government was overthrown by the United States in 2003, the situation began to change.
According to the British Independent, Iran has usually been ahead of the United States in any struggle for Iraqi influence since Saddam Hussein was overthrown. The main reason for this situation is that Shia groups, which account for two-thirds of Iraq's population and are politically dominant, have been seeking support from their Iranian compatriots.
U.S. forces withdrew from Iraq in 2011, but after the extremist group Islamic State (ISIS) ran rampant in Iraq, it returned to the army in 2014 at the invitation of the Iraqi government. The emergence of ISIS has made Iraq the center of a tug-of-war between Iran, the United States, and ISIS. At the same time, the United States and Iran, which have been in tension for a long time, have temporarily become "ally"
However, with the demise of ISIS last March, the United States and Iran are facing a new round of conflict. To combat ISIS, the United States has deployed about 5,000 soldiers in Iraq, and many of the Shiite militia that have risen in the fight against ISIS have allied with Iran. As a result, Iraq has become the arena of the United States and Iran.
With 40 years of experience in crises and war, Iraqis are also soberly aware that Iraq has been a tit-for-tat battlefield between Iran and the United States for many years.
An Iraqi said people around him were generally depressed because they believed that the next war between the United States and Iran could begin in Iraq. "A lot of my friends are so nervous that they use severance pay when they leave to buy a house in Turkey." She said she was considering doing the same.
US, Iran "confrontation" Iraqi oil economy suffers
Although the situation has cooled, Iraq's plans to revive the oil industry have been affected.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Iraqi oil company executives and Iraqi officials have stated that Iraq ’s desire to compete with Saudi Arabia for the dominance of oil in the Middle East has begun to be hit by a decline in foreign investment. This escalating conflict has brought new challenges to the revitalization of the Iraqi oil industry.
According to International Energy Agency data, in the next 10 years to 2030, Iraq is expected to become the third largest contributor to the growth of global oil production, after the United States and Brazil. However, last Friday, the United States launched a drone attack in Iraq, posing risks to foreign oil companies operating in Iraq.
An oil field in northern Basra, Iraq. According to the Wall Street Journal
"Iraq is at risk," said Croft, global head of commodities strategy at RBC. ExxonMobil and Chevron said that after the US government notified US citizens on Friday to evacuate Iraq, they have also evacuated Iraqi staff.
Analysts say that if the conflict is frequent, Iraq can maintain oil production levels despite relying on local workers. But the loss of U.S. and European corporate managers and engineers could cost Iraq the expertise needed to further develop its oil reserves. This undoubtedly makes Iraq's plan to revitalize the oil economy even more difficult.
According to the World Bank, foreign direct investment in Iraq has halved between 2012 and 2018 to $ 5 billion after several large deals with global oil giants. 。 The opaque regulatory environment and security issues have become concerns for foreign investors.
The declining flow of foreign capital into the Iraqi oil industry has had disastrous consequences for the Iraqi economy. After all, oil supplies account for about 92% of Iraqi government revenue. Compared to a surplus of 7.9% in 2018, Iraq's budget deficit will reach 3.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020.
Mills, CEO of Dubai consulting firm Qamar Energy, said Iraq ’s underground oil reserves were more than double its production, challenging Saudi Arabia ’s position as the largest oil producer in the Middle East. "But for Iraq, investment, logistics, and export capabilities have always been problematic. These are the things that actually support oil production, not the size and quality of the field," he said.
Over the past 10 years, Iraq has ambitiously hoped to increase its daily output to 9 million barrels, and later lowered its target. According to the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, Iraq's current goal is to increase daily oil production by more than one-third to 6.5 million barrels by 2022.
The International Energy Agency predicted last year that by 2030, Iraq ’s daily oil output would increase by 25% to 6 million barrels, surpassing Canada and becoming the fourth largest oil producer in the world. However, in the face of years of underinvestment and ongoing conflict, an Iraqi oil official told the Wall Street Journal that he was not sure whether such expectations were realistic.
Comprehensive report by Red Star News reporter Wang Yalin
Editor Peng Yi Back to Sohu, see more