Protesters gather at main entrance to Iraq’s southern Zubair oilfield

Iraqis wave national flags and hold up signs during a demonstration against unemployment. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 17 July 2018
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Protesters gather at main entrance to Iraq’s southern Zubair oilfield

  • Protesters have vented their anger at several major oilfields since the demonstrations began nine days ago
  • Abadi promised to allocate funds for water and electricity and create jobs in the oil-exporting city of Basra

BASRA, Iraq: Iraqi police used batons and rubber hoses on Tuesday to disperse about 250 protesters who gathered at the main entrance to the giant Zubair oilfield near Basra, police said, in growing unrest across southern cities over poor basic services.
Officials at the field, run by Italy's Eni, said production operations were running normally.
Protesters have vented their anger at several major oilfields since the demonstrations began nine days ago.
Local officials say production has not been affected at any of the fields.
Iraq, the second-largest crude oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries after Saudi Arabia, produced around 4.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in June. Production at the Zubair field was 475,000 bpd, an Iraqi oil official said in May.
"We had orders not to use live fire but we also have orders not to allow anyone to disrupt operations at oilfields and we will take necessary measures to keep the protesters away from the fields," said a policeman at the scene.
Protesters have attacked provincial government buildings, local headquarters of political parties and powerful Shi'ite militias and stormed an airport in the holy city of Najaf.
Demonstrations over the same issues have occurred in the past. The unrest this time is more widespread and is politically-sensitive. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is seeking a second term after a May 12 parliamentary election tainted by allegations of corruption.
In a meeting with government officials carried on state television, Abadi promised to allocate funds for water and electricity and create jobs in the oil-exporting city of Basra.
The Shi'ite heartland south has long been neglected despite its oil wealth, first by Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein and then Shi'ite-led governments after him, including Abadi's.


Iran unveils first domestic fighter jet

Updated 6 min 3 sec ago
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Iran unveils first domestic fighter jet

TEHRAN: Iran unveiled its first domestic fighter jet at a defense show in Tehran on Tuesday.
Images on state television showed President Hassan Rouhani sitting in the cockpit of the new “Kowsar” plane at the National Defense Industry exhibition.
It is a fourth-generation fighter, with “advanced avionics” and multi-purpose radar, the Tasnim news agency said, adding that it was “100-percent indigenously made.”
State TV said the plane had already been through successful testing and showed it waiting on a runway for its first public display flight.
The plane was first publicly announced on Saturday by Defense Minister Amir Hatami, who had said it would be unveiled on Wednesday.
He gave few details of the project, focusing instead on Iran’s efforts to upgrade its missile defenses.
Hatami said the defense program was motivated by memories of the missile attacks Iran suffered during its eight-year war with Iraq in the 1980s, and by repeated threats from Israel and the United States that “all options are on the table” in dealing with the Islamic republic.
“We have learned in the (Iran-Iraq) war that we cannot rely on anyone but ourselves. Our resources are limited and we are committed to establishing security at a minimum cost,” he said in a televised interview.
The US has sold hundreds of billions of dollars of weapons to Iran’s regional rivals, but has demanded that Tehran curb its defense programs, and is in the process of reimposing crippling sanctions in a bid to force its capitulation.