By Anna Driver and Ahmed Rasheed HOUSTON/BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq scrambled to gain control of a cargo of Kurdish oil worth $100 million off the Texas coast on Tuesday after a U.S. judge ordered its seizure in a bid by Baghdad to halt oil sales by the autonomous region of Kurdistan. A U.S. magistrate overnight approved a request from Baghdad's lawyers on Monday that laid claim to the oil, saying the cargo of some 1 million barrels of crude from Iraqi Kurdistan was sold without its permission. Oil sales are seen as central to Kurdish dreams of independence, which Baghdad opposes, and the latest dispute over exports reflects Iraqi Kurds’ emboldened steps toward seizing greater political and economic autonomy. While the rulers of the country’s northern Kurdish enclave have long aspired to independence, their position has strengthened in recent months as Kurdish Peshmerga troops have outperformed Iraqi soldiers against Islamist militants.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats and Republicans in Congress vowed urgent support Tuesday for a $225 million missile defense package for Israel, boosting the likelihood that legislation will clear Congress before lawmakers begin a monthlong vacation at week's end.