Posts Tagged Mosul

Industry Talk: Janus Global Operations Tasked To Clear Parts Of Mosul

Man, this is a story that is not getting the attention it needs, but is very much significant to the war effort. Janus Global is being tasked with clearing the thousands of IEDs and explosive remnants of the battle in Mosul. In the words of a US government official in reference to Mosul, it is ‘like nothing we’ve encountered’. Clearing Mosul will take in some estimates, up to ten years! Not only that, but think about the other areas that ISIS had control over in Iraq or even Syria. Weapons removal and abatement will keep this company and others like it, busy for a long time….

As to the particulars of these contracts, I have no idea if the contractors doing the clearing are using an organic security force or partnering with the host nation forces or subcontracting security. For the CMC projects during the Iraq war, security was a huge deal and it was done internally and contracted out, along with partnering with local security companies. Quite a few security contractors cycled through those projects back then and it was extremely successful in cleaning up old Ammunition Supply Points that were destroyed in the war.

I should note that this has been an incredibly dangerous assignment for this company.  Last year, a Janus Global contractor was killed clearing munitions in Ramadi and I don’t think this will be the last. Good job to the company and I wish everyone good luck as they clear these battlefields. –Matt



Janus Global Operations assists clearance of ISIS-placed booby traps and other explosive devices from Mosul, Iraq, the country’s second-largest city
By Kara Kagarise
Aug 2, 2017
Janus Global Operations (JGO) has been tasked to clear areas of Mosul, Iraq of ISIS- placed booby traps, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and explosive remnants of war in a situation a U.S. government official says is “like nothing we’ve encountered.”
JGO has been working in Iraq since April 2016 on behalf of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement.  Initially, JGO helped clear Ramadi, Iraq of tens of thousands of explosive remnants of war left by ISIS as it was expelled by U.S.-supported Iraqi forces.  Earlier in 2017, having worked in Ramadi and other areas of Anbar province, JGO expanded its work for the State Department by establishing a training facility outside Erbil, in Iraq’s Kurdish region, to support operations in other areas liberated from ISIS.
The coalition against ISIS announced on July 10 that Iraqi forces regained control of Mosul, concluding a months-long effort that was supported by U.S. training and air support. The violent extremist group left behind innumerable explosive devices, as reported by the Washington Post on July 13 in an article headlined: “It could take more than a decade to clear Mosul of explosives, U.S. officials say.”
JGO’s chief executive officer said ISIS’ use of IEDs as a ‘weapons system’ broke new ground, making it much more challenging for Iraq’s displaced citizens to return home and resume their lives.  The State Department-sponsored efforts of JGO therefore utilized systematic ‘strategic clearance’ that focused on clearing critical infrastructure to rapidly enable the resumption of Mosul’s economic and civic life.
“Age, gender, religion – it makes no difference to ISIS.  Its goal is to destroy and kill. Ours is to help make the city safe for people, business, and government services to return to normal. The State Department’s office of Weapons Removal and Abatement is saving lives and restoring hope through its work, and we’re proud to be part of this effort,” said Matt Kaye, JGO’s chief executive officer.
JGO saw in Ramadi how ISIS leaves lethal devices in disguised places and in innocent-looking everyday items, and Kaye said JGO was seeing a similar tactic in Mosul, where such devices numbered into the tens of thousands. Mosul is larger than Ramadi, and ISIS had over two years to construct and hide its explosive devices.
Adding ISIS’ death traps to otherwise expected unexploded ordnance shows the scale of the task ahead.
As Stanley Brown, director of the State Department’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, told the Washington Post: “When I look around the world, in some ways there’s nothing like Mosul that we’ve encountered. The level of contamination is not one where we’re talking weeks and months, we’re talking years and maybe decades.”
Janus Global Operations is an integrated stability operations company that focuses on ‘day after’ support for its clients, allowing them to take strategic steps almost as soon as hostilities cease, allowing citizens more rapidly to resume their lives and broader reconstruction to get underway.  Janus has thousands of employees serving clients in North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.  Its services include munitions response; demining; intelligence support; logistics; life support; risk management; communications; and other services in some of the world’s most challenging and hostile environments.
Story here.

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Iraq: Exxon Mobil Leads The Charge North, As The Shine Of The South Wears Off

Iraq has ambitious plans to develop its huge southern oilfields – potentially the world’s biggest source of new oil over the next few years – and few oil firms dare risk being barred from such a bonanza by angering Baghdad.
But increasingly, some executives say, Kurdistan’s potential is also coming up in boardroom discussions, as sluggish output, red tape and infrastructure bottlenecks in the south take some of the shine off the central government’s oil program.
Oil majors are now waiting on the sidelines, watching the outcome of Exxon’s balancing act between Baghdad and Arbil, the northern capital. France’s Total is the latest company to provoke Baghdad’s ire by acknowledging interest in Kurdistan.
“What companies are trying to do is get to the point where they are investing in the north and the south,” said one industry source working in Iraq……Firms have experienced problems getting visas for contractors and security staff, delays in bringing in armored vehicles and holdups securing operating licenses. Such hassles make Kurdistan’s offerings look more tempting by comparison.

“Every delay we face cuts off a significant part of the internal rate of return,” said one oil company source. “Sometimes I wonder if we picked the wrong region.”

This is some interesting business going on in Iraq. Oil companies are playing a risky game in Iraq, and yet they are the actors that will more than likely drive Iraq to ‘pull it together’. It also looks like Exxon Mobil is leading the charge in this game as well.

I say this, because the divisions in Iraqi parliament/central government, along with corruption, is causing oil companies to seek safer and more stable leadership/relationships to do business with in order to keep extracting and shipping oil. For example, Exxon has signed contracts both in the North and the South, and it looks like they are starting to lean more towards moving north with the hopes that this will send a message to parliament. Of course parliament reacted by saying they cannot bid on any more contracts in the south.

The other area of interest with this, are the contracts signed in the disputed areas. Specifically the area near Mosul, which is the second largest city in Iraq.  I could see Exxon having all sorts of problems in that region unless some serious deals were made, and I was curious as to what the motivation was?  Perhaps the clues are in the state of affairs within the city itself. Check this quote from an interview with Mosul’s governor?

Mosul is an agricultural and oil region. However, it cannot properly and sufficiently use Iraq’s oil revenues. Mosul is also uncomfortable with the recent agreements between foreign oil companies and Arbil to extract oil from Mosul’s soil. For instance, Exxon-Mobil signed a contract with the KRG despite the fact that the site it will explore for oil is in Mosul. Nujaifi is holding talks with Exxon-Mobil and the KRG to resolve this problem. In addition, under the Iraqi constitution, Mosul should get 11 percent of Iraq’s oil revenue. However, it receives only 2 percent. According to Nujaifi, if the oil bill is not adopted and the oil revenues are not distributed evenly by the provinces, a political crisis will erupt. The poverty rate in Mosul is 23 percent, whereas it is 3 percent in the KRG. Nujaifi notes that the rising tension along the borders of Mosul is creating tension for them as well. As the KRG becomes more popular, it is impossible to explain the recent state of backwardness in Mosul.

I highlighted the key parts in this quote, and I think that is most significant. With poverty as high as it is, and a neighbor like KRG enjoying the good life, who do you think Mosul will want to do business with?  Especially if Iraq is only giving Mosul 2 % of Iraq’s oil revenue.  They are definitely getting the short end stick in this deal, and either the South pays up, or Mosul will probably join the Exxon party.

Also, the news of Kurdistan signing a deal with Turkey for a new pipeline that would completely shut out Baghdad is definitely some news to talk about here. That would mean they would have a way to capitalize on oil extraction without paying Baghdad. They could possibly bring cities like Mosul into the mix with this pipeline, and especially if Mosul can capture a better deal.

On Sunday, Iraqi Kurdistan unveiled an agreement to sell oil through Turkey into the international markets, thereby leaving Baghdad completely out of the loop. The Kurdish oil minister Ashti Hawrami said Iraqi Kurdistan will construct a huge 1 million barrel per day pipeline over the next 12 months through which oil and gas will be carried through Turkey.
“We envisage the building of a new pipeline taking Kurdistan’s oil, particularly the heavier component part to Cihan,” Hawrami said at a conference with Taner Yildez, the Turkish energy minister.
Baghdad believes such an arrangement contravenes Iraqi laws, while Kurds assert they can sign any contract regarding their natural resources according to the terms of the constitution.

Oil fields like this also provide jobs to the locals and infuse money into the local economy. Security will be crucial–which means local security companies will be a huge player in this. (although if you look at how MEND operates in Nigeria, you could see the same thing happening in Mosul with insurgents) The question here is would Baghdad send the troops to protect these oil fields? lol Probably not, unless they are included in the oil deal. That is where this get’s interesting, and I am sure criminal groups and insurgents are looking at how they could use this to their advantage.

The other thing to look at is if Exxon and other oil companies have another pipeline they can use, that is being managed by a government that knows what it is doing and is stable, then I could totally see how this would be a better bet for those companies.  This is also another signal to Baghdad that ‘hey guys, if you come together and square away your house, then you too can enjoy the same prosperity as the Kurds’.

Or, the Iraqi government can try to exert influence or pull some military moves up north, but good luck there. lol The Peshmerga and terrain will dictate otherwise.

So we will see how it goes. My guess is that Exxon and others will continue to play the North against South in order to keep extracting. They will keep these two players of the country competing for these companies and their capability. That back and forth interaction, might be the kind of business that will force the country to square itself away in order to finally realize their oil extraction goals. The alternative is to be driven apart.

There is a lot of money in the ground, and if Iraq wants it, it will have to do business with the companies that know how to get it out and into the market. That takes compromise and leadership, and a divided parliament and corrupt government in the south will only force companies to take the path of least resistance. –Matt



Analysis: In Iraq, oil majors play north versus south
By Patrick Markey and Peg Mackey
Thu Apr 5, 2012
In the weeks before Iraqi Kurdistan revealed that Exxon Mobil had signed up to explore for oil there, executives at rival Shell faced a dilemma over whether or not to join the U.S. oil major in its foray north and risk angering Baghdad.
The fields in the autonomous region offered rich potential, an easier working environment, better security and attractive contracts. That seemed a winning combination for smaller oil companies already working there, such as Norway’s DNO, even though they struggled to collect profits.
But at the 11th hour, industry sources say, Royal Dutch Shell backed out and decided to focus on a $17 billion gas deal in the south rather than sign exploration contracts with the Kurdish Regional Government, which the central government could dismiss as illegal and could prompt reprisals.
Shell’s caution, Exxon’s silence on its deals and this week’s renewed dispute between Baghdad and Kurdistan over export payments reveal how delicate is the balance companies must manage between a central government and a Kurdish authority locked in a struggle over who controls Iraq’s vast oil wealth.
The dispute over oil is at the heart of a wider disagreement between Iraq’s central government in Baghdad and the Kurdish region, which are also increasingly at odds over regional autonomy, land and political influence.
Iraq has ambitious plans to develop its huge southern oilfields – potentially the world’s biggest source of new oil over the next few years – and few oil firms dare risk being barred from such a bonanza by angering Baghdad.

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Industry Talk: Attack On British Security Firm In Mosul Iraq Kills Four

    Rest in peace to the fallen.  As more information comes in, I will make the edit. –Matt

Edit: 07/20/2010- The company was Aegis.

Edit 07/21/2010- The name of the British security contractor was Nicholas Crouch.


Attack on British security firm in Iraq kills 4

Mon Jul 19, 2010

A suicide car bomber plowed into a convoy of a British security company in northern Iraq on Monday, killing four foreigners and wounding five Iraqi civilians, Iraqi security officials said.

The British embassy said one of the dead was a Briton. The nationalities of the others were not known.

The suicide bomber targeted the last vehicle of the convoy in restive Mosul, a dangerous city where al Qaeda remains active, and the force of the blast threw the armored vehicle 40 meters (yards) into a ravine, killing everyone inside, police said.

“I saw the other members of the convoy bring out four dead foreign civilians from the smashed car. One of them was beheaded,” an Iraqi military officer, asking not to be named, said by telephone from the site of the attack in northern Mosul.

“We can confirm that a British national was killed in an attack on a British private security company convoy in Mosul this morning. We have offered consular assistance,” the British embassy said in a statement.

Mosul is on the front line of a longstanding feud between Iraq’s Arabs and minority Kurds over land, power and oil wealth.

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Iraq: The Falcon Club– Paragliding Over Mosul!

     This looks fun, but what really makes this unique is that this is a paragliding club in Mosul.  I guess you could call this sport, ‘combat paragliding’. lol Either way, I think this is great and I certainly hope this catches on and becomes a popular sport there. –Matt


Mosul Paragliders

Holly Pickett for The New York Times Ziad Abdulsattar lifts his feet when taking off with a parachute with Falcon Club near Mosul.

Paragliding Over Mosul – Because Iraq Just Isn’t Dangerous Enough Already


July 1, 2010

Holly Pickett for The New York Times Members of the Falcon Club paragliding near Mosul.

MOSUL, Iraq – The risk-averse will tell you that it takes a special sort of foolishness to jump from a mountain with just a paraglider strapped to your back.

So what, then, does that make the members of the Falcon Club, an Iraqi group of daredevils who sail through the air above Mosul, which is perhaps Iraq’s most dangerous city?

Holly Pickett for The New York Times Ahmed Assad prepares his parachute before paragliding with the group.

As if flying flimsy contraptions in a war zone was not enough, the Falcon Club faces the added danger of having been a favorite of Saddam Hussein – whose former friends and allies continue to be hunted down by Shiite militias and others.

Indeed, their recklessness leaves even the club’s members seeking a reasonable explanation.

“Flying is like a disease,” said Saba Yasin Fathi, 43, the club’s leader and a former Iraqi air force pilot who lost his left pinky finger to a propeller last year. “You do it once, you want to do it again and again.”

So the Falcon Club endures the suspicions of Iraqi soldiers at Mosul’s innumerable checkpoints who have never heard of a paraglider, have never seen a hot air balloon outside of an American movie and who believe — reasonably — that Iraq is dangerous enough without courting death.

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Video: Failed IED Attack on Security Contractors in Mosul

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News: Roadside Bomb Kills 3 KBR Workers in Iraq


 I had also heard that the fourth person killed was a Wackenhut employee.  Rest in peace. –Head Jundi



Roadside bomb kills 3 KBR workers in Iraq

 July 9, 2008, 6:36PM


WASHINGTON – Three KBR employees in Iraq were killed and as many as 13 others were injured Monday when an armored passenger bus traveling near Mosul struck a roadside bomb, company officials confirmed today.

The bus, carrying 34 passengers, was traveling between Qayyarah Airfield West and Camp Diamondback in Mosul, when it is believed to have hit a large improvised explosive device, said Heather Browne, a spokeswoman for the Houston-based military contracting giant.

Citing their families’ privacy, KBR would not provide any other details about the victims.

A military spokeswoman for the Multi-National Force Iraq  declined to discuss the incident beyond saying that four people in all were killed and eight were injured. KBR said the fourth fatality was not one of its employees.

The discrepancy in the KBR and military injury counts could not be reconciled Wednesday.

To date, 87 KBR workers have been killed and another 849 wounded by hostile action in Iraq. The company has not said how many were Americans.

Article Link 

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