Baghdad admits Region’s oil exports as constitutional
Last week, Nechirvan Barzani, KRG’s Prime Minister visited Baghdad along with a high delegation. In addition to Iraq's three legislative powers, they had meetings with Shia and Sunni political parties as well.
The meetings were thought to be positive, and as both parties say, they’ve made good agreements to take the fundamental steps to solve the problems between Hawler and Baghdad. The most important thing hit the headlines of Baghdad’s papers was that Al-Abbadi has stated that the Region’s oil export is constitutional. This is the removal of the biggest barrier. As a result, the Region can be more independent and faster in exporting its oil with fewer problems.
This time, Baghdad carried out the initial meetings quickly and did not hand over everything to the committees, which has of course its reasons. Haidar Al-Abbadi might want to demonstrate that he’s different from Nuri Al-Maliki and has good intentions to solve the controversial issues. Baghdad is facing a series of threats of financial crisis too. It’s not impossible that Baghdad would financially collapse if Kurdistan Region didn’t contribute to rising oil production. Moreover, the security threat is a menace to Baghdad. Bear in mind that for convincing the Sunnis and reducing their cooperation with ISIS, Baghdad must be consistent and concordant with Kurdistan Region. They could no longer say that Peshmerga are not a national and decisive force because now they are the only force fighting ISIS on the ground. The Region’s delegation was guaranteed the official recognition of Peshmerga force firstly, and providing their budget as the second important achievement.
Both parties have gained advantages of this agreement. Now, Kurdistan is legally sending out its oil. It gets %17 of the Iraqi budget which helps it out of the current financial crisis. An important point for Baghdad is that the KRG is exporting 300.000 bpd of Kirkuk oil beside another 250.000 bpd via SOMO of the Region's oil. This is another positive opened gate, because the Region is exporting the oil through Turkey and can maintain and develop its relations with it as well. It means that the authority of Kurdistan over Kirkuk is a de facto and should be dealt with accordingly. The mismanagement of oil will also be prevented and Kurdistan Region can overcome the issue of giving Baghdad the amount of oil revenue.
The important question here is : is the trust now being established between Baghdad and the Region so that such agreement lasts for long? Trust as we know needs proved actions and practical steps. The situation has changed. Peshmerga have shifted the balance of power in favor of Kurdistan Region’s policy inside Iraq, the area and the world too. The international coalition against ISIS is strong and deals with Kurdistan directly. Al-Abbadi inherited a weak and a bankrupt government. So even if their mind and opinion haven’t yet fundamentally changed towards Kurdistan, but the political, economical and military reality has significantly changed. So, we believe that both parties feel they need one another to develop their relations and then settle their longstanding disputes.
The Iraqi government’s persistence of adapting failed policies against us the Kurds and people’s refusal to surrender to economic sanctions turned out to build a new horizon and notable achievements. It’s also time for the Region to reconsider its national economic policy as well.