After years of war-induced economic stagnation, Iraq is showing the potential to dramatically increase its capacity to export oil in anticipation of higher oil production. With much of this oil and infrastructure development taking place in Iraq's Shiite-concentrated south, the biggest external beneficiary of Iraq's increased oil output would be Iran. Through a web of alliances including Iraqi politicians, unions, oil syndicates and militias, Iran is already well-positioned to extract oil revenues from southern Iraq via informal channels. This allows Iran to draw from a large stash of resources to maintain its regional influence while insulating itself against an intensifying sanctions campaign targeting Iranian oil exports.
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