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Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict

– Trump has said the US will move more troops into the Middle East as Iraq faces the most critical challenge to its regime since the fall of Saddam Hussein, and as protesters for the first time threaten oil production – the revenues from which are at the heart of mass protests. This is backing Iran into a corner as well, and reports that are impossible to confirm say that Iran is moving missiles into Iraq to go on the offensive and attempt to salvage its fragile foothold in the wake of the resignation of Iraqi PM Mahdi, which leaves a dangerous political vacuum and still has done nothing to appease protesters. That danger notched up significantly late on Thursday when pro-Iranian militia supporters marched on Tahrir Square in Baghdad to clash with anti-government protesters. More than a dozen people had been stabbed as of late Thursday.

– Libya is experiencing more trouble at its El Feel oilfield, which last week we noted was the scene of an armed power struggle between the forces of General Haftar and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA). The GNA managed to briefly wrest control of the oilfield from Haftar, who retook it later the same day with airstrikes right outside the compound. Now, the Libyan National Oil Company (NOC) says that the oilfield, which has just resumed production, has been shut down again over a valve closure on an export pipeline. That takes 73,000 bpd offline and out of the market. Those…

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