Iraq-Kurdistan oil dispute could mark end of national partnership
Officials in Iraq and the Kurdistan region are taking a firm stand as a national oil dispute boils over. Baghdad has given the Kurds just a fraction of the billions of dollars requested for oil companies in Kurdistan. The Kurds say all the money should have been included in Iraq’s budget. But the budget was passed last week amid a boycott by all Kurdish MPs in Iraq’s parliament and half of the opposition Iraqiya bloc. Some observers say this now marks the end of national partnership.
Kurdistan previously agreed to restart oil exports via Baghdad’s pipeline. In exchange, Baghdad agreed to pay the expenses of the region’s oil companies.
Baghdad made one payment but Kurdistan suspended exports in December, criticizing the delay in the payments. Baghdad withheld the rest of the money when Kurdistan cut its exports.
The Kurds are now refusing to export oil through Baghdad’s pipeline. Iraq’s Kurdish vice president says he will not return to work until the Kurds’ rights are upheld. Some say the Kurds are now forced to seek other options to achieve their goals. There’s talk of legal action through the federal court.