Iraq as finally managed to form a new government (MEES, 8 May), but several key cabinet positions – including oil minister – remain vacant as political parties continue to jostle for influence in the new government. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is acting oil minister for now, and will rely on the deputy ministers following Thamir al-Ghadhban’s departure. Mr Kadhimi has assured parliament that the new minister will be from Basra, home to the country’s biggest oil fields.

Following the government formation, the US State Department granted Baghdad yet another sanctions waiver – this time for 120 days – to continue importing natural gas from Iran. The US continues to grant Iraq waivers as long as they make long term progress toward ‘energy independence’ (MEES, 27 March). (CONTINUED - 121 WORDS)