Iraq's oil production surged to its highest level in over 30 years last month. In its monthly oil report published March 14, the International Energy Agency said Iraq's oil output jumped by half a million barrels a day in February to average 3.6 million barrels a day. The country hasn't pumped that much oil since 1979, when Saddam Hussein rose to power. (WSJ, March 14) Paradoxically, the jump comes amid a new outbreak of Iraq's terrorist insurgency. A series of car bomb attacks targeting commercial areas and a restaurant killed at least 19 people March 15 in Baghdad. On March 9, a suicide car bomber detonated his explosive-laden vehicle at a checkpoint where dozens of cars were lined up in the southern city of Hillah, killing 21 civilians—the deadliest of a series of attacks that killed 42 people that day. Last year, Iraq saw the highest death toll since 2007. The UN said violence killed 8,868 last year in Iraq. (AP, March 15; AP, March 9)
See our last post on the struggle for Iraq's oil.