Bagh­dad ad­mits Re­gion’s oil ex­ports as con­sti­tu­tional

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Gazi Has­san

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.

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