Following his recent visit to Iran, Iraqi Prime Minster Adel Abdul Mahdi announced April 9 that he will soon visit Saudi Arabia to sign economic and security agreements, as Iraq has done with Jordan and Iran. A high-ranking Saudi delegation visited Iraq last week and signed several agreements, including ones involving electricity imports to Iraq and the construction of a large stadium.
Iraq depends on Iran for a large portion of its electricity supply. The United States has warned Iraq several times to cut its electricity imports from Iran. Previously, Washington granted a short-term waiver to Iraq exempting it from US sanctions and allowing it to import electricity and gas from Iran. The waiver was extended a few times, but as US rhetoric against Tehran intensifies, Washington’s tolerance with Baghdad’s imports won’t last forever.
Iraq has realized that US tolerance regarding electricity imports is limited, and thus has attempted to find alternate electricity sources in the region. Iraqi parliamentary speaker Mohammed al-Halbusi traveled to Kuwait in February and discussed the possibility of importing electricity to Iraq. In another meeting with the Kuwaiti ambassador in Baghdad, Salem Ghassab al-Zamanan, Halbusi thanked the Kuwaiti government for its efforts to improve the situation in Basra, particularly in the fields of electricity and water. Iraq is also considering importing electricity from Saudi Arabia.
Washington is tightening the noose on Iranians in Iraq and the region. It recently added the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to its list of foreign terrorist organizations. This will affect the Iraqi Shiite militias that are working under the Popular Mobilization Units, as they are in direct contact with the IRGC and Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani.
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