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Islamic State renews push for Iraq oil field

Islamic State renews push for Iraq oil field thumbnail

The Islamic State group has launched a renewed push to seize Iraq’s main oil refinery north of Baghdad, battling security forces backed by air support, authorities and witnesses said.

At least three Iraqi security personnel were killed, and seven others were injured in the fighting on Sunday, in which fighters attacked the Baiji refinery from three sides, sources told Al Jazeera.

The attack on Sunday came as Iraq’s next-door neighbour Iran reiterated its support for the new Shia-led government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, with a visit from Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

The fight over the oil field started overnight and continued into the next day, according to news reports.

The Islamic State fighters have repeatedly sought to overrun the refinery, which once accounted for about 50 percent of Iraq’s supplies of refined oil products.

While they have previously managed to enter the refinery compound, security forces were able to push them back at this time.

The unrest has hit northern oil production and shipments, but Iraq’s massive southern fields and export terminals remain unaffected.

Iran-Iraq alliance

The fighting on Sunday comes as Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif began a two-day visit in Baghdad, which is trying to fend off the Sunni-led rebels.

Zarif met his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari as well as the prime minister-designate with the issue of the Iran-Iraq border demarcation also on the agenda.

Iran, which like Iraq is predominantly Shia, was a longtime backer of the outgoing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, before dropping its support of the divisive leader in favour of Abadi.

Tehran has called for Iraqi parties to unite in the face of the Islamic State, which has seized large swathes of the country and says it is providing advice to Iraqi Kurds fighting the armed group.

Dozens of people have been killed in Iraq in the past 24 hours with violence near the Iranian border getting worse.

Zarif said Iran will support Abadi, and try to help the country find stability.

During a press conference with Zebari, Zarif also denied reports that Iranian troops have been deployed across the border to fight the Islamic State in Iraq.

3 Comments on "Islamic State renews push for Iraq oil field"

  1. Plantagenet on Sun, 24th Aug 2014 8:28 pm 

    Obama says that the terrorists have been decimated and ISIS is the JV of terrorism.

    Obviously there is nothing to worry about. Time to head back to the golf course.

  2. Dave Thompson on Mon, 25th Aug 2014 1:20 am 

    The people of Iraq are taking what belongs to them. Namely the oil.

  3. Davy on Mon, 25th Aug 2014 6:29 am 

    Dave, you raised a good point for my morning spiel. You mention oil belongs to the Iraqis. I am asking myself what really belongs to anyone. We have this concept of private property which extends to national sovereignty. In the globalized system we have today some form of ownership is universal across the system in most places. With oil, food, water, and other vitals how far can we go with ownership and responsibility of that ownership in a world at limits of growth? As the carrying capacity overshoot worsens how are we going to share responsibility for proper distribution of these above mentioned vitals? Will we leave this up to the market and international norms of trade and exchange? This has not been dealt with because there is little recognition of limits of growth in the cornucopian MSM. We are getting close to liquid fuel, food, and water shortages on a global scale. Locations are going to fail without these vitals. Regionally are we going to pipe Great Lakes water to the southwest? Should there be some kind of “Oil Depletion Protocol”. Can the US divert so much agricultural produce to biofuels? Can Ethiopia dam the Nile and disregard Egypt? Can Russia deny Europe gas? We have a profound crisis ahead of vital resource availability with population stresses set to multiply in degree and area. Failed states and regions threaten global BAU. Are we going to polarize and risk collapse of the global BAU system or are we going to share on a global basis? These are tough questions we will have to muddle through. It will most likely boil down to national interest yet we are so interconnected this national interest may be global BAU undoing.

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