Australia PM Visits Iraq as 44 Are Killed

by , January 16, 2016

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad on Saturday. During the unannounced trip Turnbull also spoke to troops at the nearby military base in Taji, where about 300 Australian soldiers are stationed.

The state-run South Oil Co.‘s deputy director general Salah Mahdi says oil exports are passing through Basra without tribal clashes affecting them. Tensions between rival Shi’ite clans recently forced the Iraqi government to send in an armored division and police force to tamp down on the fighting. The clashes are unrelated to the war against the Islamic State.

The Kurdish Regional Government’s Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, fears that plummeting oil prices will seriously damage the K.R.G.’s ability to fight the Islamic State militants. Iraq’s main source of income is oil, but even when oil prices were much higher, both governments had difficulty paying their bills. In the Kurdish government’s case, the shortfall is hurting its ability to pay Peshmerga security forces. Subsequently, the government may have to sell off some of its assets, such as parts of its electricity sector.

At least 44 people were killed and one more was wounded:

Militants executed 19 people from Hajj Ali village.

Three bodies were found in Laylan.

In Sadr City, a man was gunned down.

A woman was wounded during a shooting in Baghdad.

In Muhammadi, airstrikes left nine militants dead, including a mufti.

Eight militants were killed in Sheikh Massoud.

Four militants were killed during an operation in Albu Issa that liberated two hostages.

Read more by Margaret Griffis