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Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict

Thousands of protesters loyal to Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr stormed the Iraqi parliament on Wednesday, leading to an ongoing political standoff for OPEC’s second-largest oil producer. The protesters, completely controlled by al-Sadr, arrived in response to the nomination of a pro-Iranian force as Iraq’s new leader. The nomination comes from a figure largely controlled at this point by Iran–former PM Nouri al-Maliki, al-Sadr’s fiercest rival. Al-Sadr, extremely influential, is fighting for an anti-Iranian government in Iraq, and Wednesday's storming of parliament was a show of his power. He had them storm the parliament and then disperse by way of suggesting that al-Maliki take some time to think about his decision and whether he wishes to unleash the full force of al-Sadr. Parliament remains in a standoff as Shi’ite rivals (pro-Iranian and anti-Iranian) jockey for more leverage.

Rocket attacks earlier this week targeted a gas facility owned by the UAE’s Dana Gas in Northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region, with no claim of responsibility. This is the fourth time the facility has been attacked since June, along with other energy facility targets. The Khor Mor gas field was also attacked this week. With no claims of responsibility for these energy infrastructure attacks, they are likely meant to cause instability at a time when the Iraqi authorities and the Kurdish authorities are locked…

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