The energy deal putting Iraq's $55 billion oil project at risk

OILPRICE | Since firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr became the effective leader of Iraq after the victory of his‘Sairoon’(‘Marching Forward’) power bloc in the May 2018 general elections, the practical application of that power has been constrained by his electoral message of not allowing Iraq to become overly dependent on any one country. This ambiguity allowed Iraq to continue to benefit on the one hand from U.S. security and financial support but on the other hand to benefit from incoming financial and technical support from Russian and Chinese companies embarking or expanding on oil field exploration and development projects. Given the announcement last week that Iraq has signed a two-year contract – the longest deal yet - for the export of electricity from Iran, despite persistent U.S. calls for it to bring the arrangement to an end, al-Sadr is either taking a huge gamble that the U.S. holds out sufficient hope of bringing Iraq back into its power bloc or he has decided now to firmly and finally align Iraq with the Iran-Russia-China bloc.

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