US pulls out of Iraqi cities

US troops pulled out of Iraq's cities yesterday as its oil ministry held auctions for six of the country's biggest oilfields - disparate events yet united in the goal of allowing Iraq to control its own destiny. About 130,000 US soldiers will now be stationed outside urban areas as part of an accord between Baghdad and Washington that calls for the United States to quit Iraq completely by the end of 2011.

There were street celebrations in the Iraqi capital as part of a national holiday decreed by the prime minister, Nouri al Maliki. Although most of the day passed without noticeable violence, a car bomb in a market area of the mixed-population city of Kirkuk - near northern Iraq's biggest oilfield - killed 26 people and wounded 70. The reduced US presence did not calm fears that violence would begin again, especially in key trouble areas of the war-torn country.

"I do not know why people are celebrating this day," said Sheikh Mohammad Saleh al Khafaji, a leader in a US-allied Sahwa council in Diyala province. "We are not celebrating here. We are very concerned about the situation." Sahwa, or "awakening" councils have been key to weakening supporters of al Qa'eda-style groups in Iraq. Sunni tribes who had been allied with insurgents have instead worked with the US military to fight against Islamic militants. In return, they were put on US payrolls.

Some fear that, with the gradual reduction of the US presence in Iraq, those payments might stop and disgruntled Sahwa fighters may rejoin the insurgency. In the oilfield auction, Government officials managed to award only one contract by the day's end, albeit for Iraq's biggest field. Contracts for five other oilfields and two gasfields were not auctioned off, largely because the international energy companies bidding for them ignored government requests for lower bids.

"The bidding round in Iraq went differently than we had expected, especially due to the fact that there was a large gap between Iraqi expectations and the companies' willingness to bid at a low cost of production per barrel," said Mari Dotterud, a spokeswoman for the Norwegian state-controlled StatoilHydro, which had bid unsuccessfully on one of the fields. A venture headed by BP, the British oil group, and its partner, the state-owned Chinese National Petroleum Corp, won the giant Rumaila oilfield contract after agreeing to lower its bid by nearly half.

The companies agreed to drop their asking price to US$2 per barrel from $3.99 after the Iraqis said the lower figure was the most it would pay. A rival bid by an alliance led by the American firm Exxon Mobil was withdrawn. Rumaila, with about 17 billion barrels of proved reserves, is one of the world's largest oilfields. Left on the table were Kirkuk, which has 8.6bn barrels of proved reserves, and the West Qurna oilfield in the south, with reserves of 8.7bn barrels.

One consortium bid on the Akkaz gasfield - which Baghdad had reserved for exports to Europe - but it walked away from the auction.

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Milestones on the road to union


October 26: Bahrain withdraws from a proposal to create a federation of nine with the seven Trucial States and Qatar. 

December: Ahmed Al Suwaidi visits New York to discuss potential UN membership.


March 1:  Alex Douglas Hume, Conservative foreign secretary confirms that Britain will leave the Gulf and “strongly supports” the creation of a Union of Arab Emirates.

July 12: Historic meeting at which Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid make a binding agreement to create what will become the UAE.

July 18: It is announced that the UAE will be formed from six emirates, with a proposed constitution signed. RAK is not yet part of the agreement.

August 6:  The fifth anniversary of Sheikh Zayed becoming Ruler of Abu Dhabi, with official celebrations deferred until later in the year.

August 15: Bahrain becomes independent.

September 3: Qatar becomes independent.

November 23-25: Meeting with Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid and senior British officials to fix December 2 as date of creation of the UAE.

November 29:  At 5.30pm Iranian forces seize the Greater and Lesser Tunbs by force.

November 30: Despite  a power sharing agreement, Tehran takes full control of Abu Musa. 

November 31: UK officials visit all six participating Emirates to formally end the Trucial States treaties

December 2: 11am, Dubai. New Supreme Council formally elects Sheikh Zayed as President. Treaty of Friendship signed with the UK. 11.30am. Flag raising ceremony at Union House and Al Manhal Palace in Abu Dhabi witnessed by Sheikh Khalifa, then Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

December 6: Arab League formally admits the UAE. The first British Ambassador presents his credentials to Sheikh Zayed.

December 9: UAE joins the United Nations.

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The criminal can then access any online service that requires security codes to be sent to a user's mobile phone, such as banking services.

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  • High fever
  • Intense pain behind your eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
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If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days


The flights
Emirates, Etihad and Malaysia Airlines all fly direct from the UAE to Kuala Lumpur and on to Penang from about Dh2,300 return, including taxes. 

Where to stay
In Kuala Lumpur, Element is a recently opened, futuristic hotel high up in a Norman Foster-designed skyscraper. Rooms cost from Dh400 per night, including taxes. Hotel Stripes, also in KL, is a great value design hotel, with an infinity rooftop pool. Rooms cost from Dh310, including taxes. 

In Penang, Ren i Tang is a boutique b&b in what was once an ancient Chinese Medicine Hall in the centre of Little India. Rooms cost from Dh220, including taxes.
23 Love Lane in Penang is a luxury boutique heritage hotel in a converted mansion, with private tropical gardens. Rooms cost from Dh400, including taxes. 
In Langkawi, Temple Tree is a unique architectural villa hotel consisting of antique houses from all across Malaysia. Rooms cost from Dh350, including taxes.


Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

The bio

Date of Birth: April 25, 1993
Place of Birth: Dubai, UAE
Marital Status: Single
School: Al Sufouh in Jumeirah, Dubai
University: Emirates Airline National Cadet Programme and Hamdan University
Job Title: Pilot, First Officer
Number of hours flying in a Boeing 777: 1,200
Number of flights: Approximately 300
Hobbies: Exercising
Nicest destination: Milan, New Zealand, Seattle for shopping
Least nice destination: Kabul, but someone has to do it. It’s not scary but at least you can tick the box that you’ve been
Favourite place to visit: Dubai, there’s no place like home


1) Kepa Arrizabalaga, Athletic Bilbao to Chelsea (£72m)

2) Alisson, Roma to Liverpool (£67m)

3) Ederson, Benfica to Manchester City (£35m)

4) Gianluigi Buffon, Parma to Juventus (£33m)

5) Angelo Peruzzi, Inter Milan to Lazio (£15.7m


Uefa Champions League semi-finals, first leg
Liverpool v Roma

When: April 24, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government


Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5


Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5


Jersey 147 (20 overs) 

UAE 112 (19.2 overs)

Jersey win by 35 runs