Bahrooz Jaafar holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from Cyprus International University in Nicosia, and he is also the founder and head of the Mediterranean Institute for Regional Studies.

Key takeaways:
Russia and Iraq have rich oil and gas resources and a common interest in fostering a favorable energy investment and trade atmosphere.
Russian-Iraqi cooperation in the energy sector has bloomed with the significant participation of major Russian energy companies (Rosneft, Gazprom, Lukoil, and Bashneft) in Iraq’s burgeoning oil industry. Russia’s economic hegemony in Iraq will reach $19 billion in 2023.
Russia, along with its main geopolitical ally, China, has embarked on trade and investment in Iraq. They probably want to control everything and are seeking an end to Western hegemony in the Middle East from Iraq!
Russian hegemony began in three stages in the Kurdistan Region (northern Iraq) in 2017. By the end of 2023, the Russian company Lukoil had almost controlled most of the rich areas in the south of Iraq.
As geopolitical chess pieces move, Moscow, with Beijing as its ally, strategically advances towards controlling the energy narrative and investment in Iraq, an effort to distance Baghdad from Western energy engagements and align it with the emerging Iran-Saudi Arabia axis.  By 2023, Russia’s stake in Iraqi energy would have reached $19 billion. Furthermore, in March 2023, the Iraqi state-owned Dhi Qar Oil Company (DQOC) ratified the development plans for Block 10 reserves. These include the entire Eridu field, the largest oil field discovered in Iraq since 2003. Preliminary estimates indicate that Iraq’s Eridu oil field has between 7 and 10 billion barrels of reserves. The exist of Inpex, a Japanese corporation, from its 40 percent holding in Block 10, which boasts the substantial Eridu discovery, has facilitated a streamlined path for Lukoil to assert dominance over this resource-rich expanse. Concurrently, the departure of Exxon Mobil from the lucrative West Qurna oil field in Basra has allowed Lukoil to reacquire its shares.
The tapestry of military and energy collaborations between Russia and Iraq shows their deepening cooperative relationship. An enterprise such as Lukoil has channeled up to $11 billion into Iraq’s southern provinces, notably the Basra region. Beyond the oil fields, the maritime sector emerges as a fertile ground for Russian-Iraqi collaboration. With Iraq’s strategic placement along critical maritime conduits complemented by Russia’s seasoned expertise in port development and maritime logistics, the convergence of interests is unmistakably evident. Such collaborative ventures aimed at enhancing Iraqi port infrastructure and fostering robust maritime cooperation are anticipated to significantly bolster the efficiency and throughput of Iraq’s maritime trade routes, attracting heightened trade and investment flows.

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