In the early hours of April 6th, rockets struck near a site connected with foreign oil firms and state-run companies in Iraq’s southern city of Basra.
According to Reuters, citing oil and police sources there were no damages and no casualties as a result of the attack.
The rockets, which police said were three Katyusha and were launched at about 3 a.m. local time, hit the Burjesia residential and operations headquarters west of Basra, they said.
The area has been largely empty in recent weeks because of the evacuation of nearly all foreign personnel due to the coronavirus crisis.
Two officials with state-run Basra Oil Co. (BOC), which oversees oil operation in the south, said the attack had not affected production and export operations.
US News, citing police sources said that a rocket launcher and unused rockets were found in a nearby farmland area.
Meanwhile, due to the oil price war initiated by Saudi Arabia, Iraq is spiraling in a crisis.
#Iraq security forces say 3 rockets fired at Halliburton base in Burjasiya, another 11 found in launchers nearby.
Sources near field say US workers evacuated long ago, but Iraqis & other foreigners do live 300-400m away.
Last rocket attack on oil field was June 2019
— Maya Gebeily (@GebeilyM) April 6, 2020
As mentioned above, the US company Haliburton operates in the Zubeir oil field, and this was the first such attack since June 2019.
The attack near Haliburton is no accident, and it is not isolated. Iraq’s biggest Shiite armed groups announced in a joint statement that U.S. troops in the country will be dealt with as an occupation force from now on.
“You [U.S. forces] have proven to everyone that you are occupation forces and that you only respect the language of force, on these bases you will be dealt with and be aware that all operations which were carried out against you were only a minor response to your aggressions as the decision to carry out operations [against U.S. forces] was not taken back then,” the statement, that was released on April 4, read.
The statement was signed by Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, Kata’ib al-Imam Ali, Harakat al-Awfiy’a, Saraya Ashura, Harakat Jund al-Imam and Saraya al-Khurasani.
The attack could potentially also be from Usbat al-Tha’ireen (UT) (The movement of Revolutionary Association; the League of Revolutionaries), a new group who has issued several statements in threat of the US, and has taken responsibility for at least one attack on US bases.
“The movement of Revolutionary Association, Usbat al-Tha’ireen, promises the Iraqi people, the families of martyrs and the people who were wounded by the enemies and their allies, the devil America, we promise that what happened in Taji and Basmea is nothing but a simple message to clarify the fact that this is the least that we can use against them, also to clarify that our victorious, blooming, full of pride and dignity resent has more long rang weapons that can perish you in the land of your spoiled child Israel,” the group’s member said in a video which revealed the group.
Separately, the political and economic crisis in Iraq seems far from over.
In his first interview on TV, Iraqi Prime Minister designate Adnan Zurfi said that if the oil prices don’t recover,
In first TV interview, PM designate @adnanalzurfi sounding alarm on economic situation. “We’re going to drown,” he tells #Iraq state TV on collapsed oil prices. “We won’t be able to pay half the (public) salaries next month.”
— Maya Gebeily (@GebeilyM) April 5, 2020
Iraq’s prime minister designate Adnan al-Zurfi announced that he has sent his list of cabinet candidates and agenda to parliament for approval on April 4th, according to state media, in a bid to tackle the country’s political stasis.
The policy agenda submitted includes items related to the government’s coronavirus response, improving relations with the Kurdistan Regional Government, and women’s empowerment. As per the Iraqi constitution, the PM designate has 48 hours to send the resumes of the selected candidates to parliament.
The PM-designate faces parliamentary opposition to Allawi, with both the Iran-backed Fatih coalition led by former militia commander Hadi al-Amiri and the State of Law coalition led by former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki voicing their opposition to Zurfi’s candidacy.
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