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Advisors close to Prime Minister Kadhimi are elevated to top executive positions over economic and security issues.
Oil Minister Ihsan Ismaael, then-director general of the Basra Oil Company, listens to workers during an inspection of work to reinforce berms at the Majnoon oil field following an excess of floodwaters from Iran, on April 9, 2019. (JASSIM AL-JABIRI/Iraq Oil Report)
Following publication of this story on Sept. 14, Iraq Oil Report obtained an Aug. 18 note from the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers that explained the Aug. 17 Cabinet decision: to amend the INOC law; to create the INOC governing board and advisory board and conduct a valuation of all companies to be moved from the Oil Ministry to INOC authority; and “to task the Oil Minister Ihsan Abduljabbar Ismaael to perform the tasks of INOC director in addition to [being Oil Minister], to start the formation of the board to ensure the implementation … and to start its tasks and responsibilities according to the law.”
As one senior government official close to Cabinet processes explained: “Ihsan is made head of this so he can manage this process.”
In addition to new leaders of the Central Bank of Iraq, Trade Bank of Iraq, and executive branch institutions that report to Kadhimi, Oil Minister Ihsan Ismaael has been named the presumptive head of the Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC), which has not yet been formed as negotiations over the legislation for the company continue.
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