Foreign Policy Blogs

Weekend Roundup: China-Iraq Oil Deal, Sadr Ceasefire, Lawsuit Against US Company, and More

The International Herald Tribune reported last week that the US is turning security control over the Anbar Province to Iraqi security forces.  As you may remember, Anbar has been a violent area in the past, once serving as a stronghold for Sunni insurgents.  This is a big development for the both countries, as Anbar is the first province bordering Baghdad to be turned over to Iraq.

BBC reported Thursday that a US jury acquitted a US ex-marine charged with voluntary manslaughter and assault during a 2004 battle in Falluja.  Other marines had claimed to witness Jose Luis Nazario kill two prisoners while their house was being searched, and further, ordered two marines to shoot two other unarmed prisoners.  Nazario was acquitted when the marine witnesses refused to testify. 

Muqtada al-Sadr, influential Shi’a leader, indefinitely extended a ceasefire last week.  In a written statement, Sadr claimed that anyone in violation of the ceasefire would no longer be considered part of his militia, the Mahdi army.  Instead, he is urging his followers to peacefully protest each year on the first Friday of Ramadan until US forces leave.  He did not, however, specify if his militia would disarm. 

The BBC also reported last week that a group of Nepalese citizens are suing the US company KBR for human trafficking.  One man and the relatives of 12 others claim that the firm recruited the men to work in a hotel in Jordan.  However, their passports were later seized, and they were told that they would have to work on a US Air Force base in Iraq, providing menial labor.  12 of the men were kidnapped and killed by Islamic militants, and the 13th was still forced to work at the base against his will. 

Iraq has signed an oil deal with the China National Petroleum Corporation worth up to $3 billionThe New York Times reported Thursday that this is the first major Iraqi oil deal with a foreign country since 2003.  However, the contract still needs to be approved by the Iraqi cabinet.  This is considered an extension of a 22-year deal signed in 1997 under Saddam Hussain, and Iraq is slated to provide some security for Chinese workers.  The contract further states that China will be paid in money, not oil. 

Finally, I leave you with the newest edition to the Baghdad Bureau blog from The New York Times.  Anwar Ali, an Iraqi journalist for the Times, describes his experience traveling in and out of Iraq.  While Americans are hearing that security conditions have drastically improved, this blog entry shows that this may not be the case.  I’m still not sure what to believe about safety for Iraqi civilians. 



Jennifer Bushaw

Jennifer Bushaw holds an MA from the University of Chicago in Middle Eastern Studies with an emphasis on policy. She focused her research, including her Thesis, on modern Iraq and the Iraq war. She also has a Bachelor's in History from the University of Michigan. Jennifer is currently working as an Investigative Research Associate for a security advisory and management firm in Chicago, Illinois.

Areas of Focus:
Iraq-US Policy; Security; Coalition Operations;