New U.S. sanctions blacklist nearly one-third of Iraq’s banks

By August 1, 2023

Iraq (MNN) — Iraq turns to a coalition of Gulf nations for relief from the scorching summer heat.

Temperatures climbed to 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius) as Baghdad hosted the Gulf Cooperation Council on Monday. Iraqi leaders want to connect their power-poor country to the GCC power grid.

A Gulf deal could provide aid sooner than Iran, the traditional go-to for Iraq. Samuel* of Redemptive Stories explains, “Since the U.S. pulled out [of Iraq] a few years back, the connection between Iran and Iraq has become stronger and stronger.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani meets Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi in Iran International Conference Hall in July 2020.
(Photo, caption courtesy of Mehdi Ghorbani/Wikimedia Commons)

The U.S. uses Iraq to keep pressure on Iran, sanctioning 14 private banks in Iraq on Thursday. Nearly a third of Iraqi banks are now blacklisted. “Certain banks are funneling money to Iran through Iraq,” Samuel says.

“Thus, sanctions are imposed primarily on these banks, but [they] will also have a secondary effect on the overall economy.”

Iraq’s war-torn economy is already faltering. “Anywhere from 50 to 60 percent of the population are under the poverty line and struggling to make ends meet,” Samuel says.

The latest sanctions will “most likely result in increased inflation, which we’ve seen in Syria, and then that will only exacerbate the existing humanitarian crisis.”

And yet, hope remains. “God seems to use bad things to make amazing things happen,” Samuel says.

“Whenever an economic crisis occurs, unique new opportunities arise because there’s more need and desperation.”

Pray that Iraqi Christians will be faithful to share the Gospel with those searching for truth. Pray for Muslim-background believers in Baghdad, where persecution is rising.

“Pray for governmental transformation in Iraq,” Samuel requests.

“[Iraq] has amazing natural resources. [It] could be another beautiful place of human flourishing. But because people in power use those resources for their own gain, the regular people suffer.”





Header image depicts a pile of Iraqi money. (Photo courtesy of Haider AL_Baghdady/Unsplash)