Kur­dis­tan Re­gion en­ergy pro­file

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Till F. Paasche and Howri Mansurbeg

Since the 1991 Gulf War and the Kur­dish up­ris­ing against the regime in Bagh­dad, the Kurds in the north of Iraq have en­joyed in­creas­ing au­ton­omy. With the set­tle­ment of the Kur­dish civil war and the fall of the Baath party in the wake of the US-led in­va­sion in

2003, this au­ton­omy in­creased, lead­ing to de­vel­oped and au­ton­o­mous in­sti­tu­tions, in­clud­ing a par­lia­ment, and fast-de­vel­op­ing trade and diplo­matic re­la­tion­ships with other coun­tries. This led sev­eral schol­ars to con­clude that the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion gov­erned by the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment man­i­fests it­self as a “state-like en­tity” (Stans­field

2013, 259–260), de facto state (Gunter 1992, 2011b), or a quasi-state (Natali 2010). In ad­di­tion, the KRG has con­trol over its own se­cu­rity forces in- clud­ing a 100,000 strong Kur­dish army.

How­ever, the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion’s bud­get still comes from the gov­ern­ment in Bagh- dad. Dur­ing ver­bal dis­putes, es­pe­cially around oil deal­ings, Bagh­dad re­peat­edly with­held the re­gion’s bud­get as part of its sovereign power-games.1 Although for­mally Kur­dish par­ties have been part of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment since its im­ple­men­ta­tion in 2005, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment is com­monly per­ceived as a Shia-con­trolled en­tity fol­low­ing its own in­ter­ests. Presently, the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion is en­ti­tled to 17 per­cent of Iraq’s to­tal oil reve- nues, and this con­sti­tutes the vast ma­jor­ity of the re­gion’s bud­get (in re­al­ity, ac­cord­ing to John­son [2014], the rev­enue share is closer to around 12 per­cent). This re­liance on Iraq’s oil rev­enues leaves the re­gion vul­ner­a­ble to the gov­ern­ment in Bagh­dad.

If Kur­dis­tan de­vel­oped their own ex­port routes, then 83 per­cent of the rev­enues would still go to the cen­tral gov­ern­ment. How­ever, the vi­sion of the KRG is to in­clude a Turk­ish bank or com­pany in the process. Right now 100 per­cent of all rev­enues go to Bagh­dad from where, in the­ory, 17 per­cent flow back to the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion. With a Turk­ish me­di­a­tor, 17 per­cent would go straight to the KRG with­out the de­tour via Bagh­dad. With the devel­op­ment of oil and gas ex­port routes through Turkey, the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion would be­come less vul­ner­a­ble to the crip­pling halts of pay­ments from the cen­tral gov­ern­ment in Bagh­dad that were wit­nessed in early 2014, as some of the rev­enues would by­pass the cen­tral gov­ern­ment. Thus, start­ing to self-gov­ern oil ex­ports is yet an­other step to­ward in­creased in­de­pen­dence and the so­lid­i­fi­ca­tion of the de facto state dis­course as Bagh­dad loses its main pres­sure point on the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

Ge­o­graph­i­cally, the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion refers to the three gov­er­norates: Duhok, Er­bil, and Su­lay­maniya, which are gov­erned by the KRG. In ad­di­tion, the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion claims the three so-called dis­puted ter­ri­to­ries: the Nin­eveh Gov­er­norate, the Kirkuk Gov­er­norate, and the Diyala Gov­er­norate, as well as the Makhmur Dis­trict (which is part of the Er­bil gov­er­norate) as part of their re­gion (see Fig­ure 2) (Bartu 2010; Natali 2008; Ro­mano 2007; Wolff 2010).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Iraq

© PressReader. All rights reserved.