Iraq announced two deals with countries that Iran hopes can be gradually moved further into its sphere of influence. One of the two, Lebanon, is already seen by Tehran as a key player in the Shia crescent of power that it has been meticulously developing for years – as a counterpoint to the U.S.’s own sphere of influence centred on Saudi Arabia – that stretches from Syria and Lebanon through Iraq and Iran and then south into Yemen. According to comments last week from Iraq’s new Oil Minister, Ihsan Abdul Jabbar, following a meeting in Baghdad with his Lebanon counterpart, Raymond Ghajar, Iraq will begin exporting fuel to Lebanon this month. The geopolitical imperative underpinning this announcement cannot be overstated, given that Iraq itself suffered from extreme power shortages over the summer and remains subject to intermittent power failures in various regions. So poor is Iraq’s own ability to […]