"On November 16th, Iran and Iraq agreed on the establishment of a free trade zone, according to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
“We have agreed to create a free trade zone between the two countries, which will enable us to launch joint ventures,” Rouhani said at a press conference held after the meeting, as broadcast by Press TV.
According to Rouhani, currently Iran-Iraq trade amounts to approximately $12 billion, but with some effort could grow to $20 billion.
Rouhani also said that the two leaders also talked about electricity and gas swap, as well as cooperation on petroleum products and oil exploration.
During the joint press conference Salih declared that the relationship between the two neighboring countries is a “fixed principle” that is “rooted in shared history, faith and geography.”
“We care about our relationship with Iran,” Salih declared. However, he did not give full details about the free-trade zone.
All of this follows a meeting between Rouhani and Iraqi President Barham Salih in Tehran, during which they discussed bilateral cooperation and regional development." SF
Did the Borg and the neocons really think the US controlled Iraq enough to prevent this? An inability to deal with Middle Eastern realities has marked neocon induced policies for a long time. IMO this blindness is caused by the universally understood truth that to challenge Israel's fantasies about the malleability of Middle Eastern attitudes is suicide in the Borg (foreign policy establishment) and the neocons are just an arm of Israeli foreign policy.
As further proof of the fragility of the US position in Iraq we had the spectacle of the US supported and maintained SDF/YPG walking away from the fight on the east bank of the Euphrates to move north to bolster their Kurdish compatriots. CENTCOM cannot have been pleased with that. They are trying to keep the land routes to Iran from Syria closed. To do this control of the Deir al-zor – Baghdad leg of one of the two roads (the other runs through al-tanf) requires SDF control of the border crossing alongside the river as well as dependable Iraqi blockage of the road on the other side of the border.
In light of the evident CENTCOM/US lack of grip on the actions of the SDF/YPG and the foreign policy of Iraq, it would seem that there is not much of a future for a strong US presence in Iraq. pl