The stars aligned for Iraqi prime minister Haidar al-Abadi, allowing him to flex his political muscle this week. Strong popular demand for reform and a nod from Shiite Iraq’s highest authority, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, allowed Abadi to put forward the biggest shake-up to the domestic political system since the 2003 US-led invasion.
Iran boasts the world’s second largest natural gas reserves. And supreme leader Ali Khamenei has hubristically threatened to withhold them from the US and EU should sanctions remain in place.
But the Iranian dream of becoming a major player in the natural gas exporters club is far, far from reach even if the EU is now casting its eye towards the Middle East and central Asia for a partial alternative to Russian gas.