- In an unexpected turn of events indicative of the United States loss of power in Iraq, an Iraqi court has issued an arrest warrant for Trump in connection with the assassination last year in Iraq of Iranian General Qassim Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the head of a group created to fight ISIS. The warrant is for charges of premeditated murder and is, of course, not expected to be carried out but to carry specific symbolism.
- In Libya, the October-agreed ceasefire still holds, though mercenaries have not been withdrawn from the Sirte flashpoint (no one trusts anyone enough to lose position here). The first hiccup with exports came earlier this week when Petroleum Facilities Guards (PFG) blockaded the Hariga port over unpaid wages. The blockade was lifted by January 7th, but temporarily caused a drop in the Libyan dinar, which had gained some positive ground over a long-awaited Central Bank move towards a single official exchange rate.
- A South Korean oil tanker has become cannon fodder in the cat and mouse game between Iran and the United States. Earlier this week, Iran seized a South Korean tanker for alleged pollution, while observers are speculating that the move was retaliation for South Korea’s role in freezing Tehran’s access to $7 billion held in South Korean banks due to U.S. sanctions. At the same time, Iran is demanding, tongue-in-cheek, that the U.S. pay $70 billion in damages for lost oil…