Kirkuk wants to sell its oil independently
Iraq's semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan will sell its oil independently of Baghdad if the national government does not send the money it owes, the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government told CNBC over the weekend.
Oil-rich Kurdistan, which has historically had a very tense relationship with the rest of Iraq, has been in dispute with the federal government in Baghdad since 2014 over oil exports and budget distribution. Since 2014, the national government funding for the region has been erratic, amid accusations that the region is selling oil without Baghdad's consent and failing to meet production quotas.
"Either Iraq will commit to the agreement that they have and will pay the Kurdistan region or in another case we will be selling our own oil and collecting our own rev- enues," Masoud Barzani told CNBC during the World Economic Forum in Jordan.
Kurdistan has previously threatened to start independently selling its oil—despite doubts over whether it has the international support to do so. However, Barzani said that the region would give Baghdad only "one or two more months" before taking action.
The fall in the price of oil, the huge refugee and IDP influx and the war against the IS have hit the KRG’s finances hard.
And Barzani once again appealed for arms: “Unfortunately in terms of the weapons, we have not really received the kind of equipment that we demand to fight and defeat the IS.
“I have raised this issue with the US administration and other government officials and we are hopeful that they will respond positively and there will be some changes in this regard,” he said.
The recent fall of Ramadi, which has been described as a capitulation by some US officials, is a result of policies implemented by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri alMaliki, Barzani claimed.
“The problem is actually with the previous regime in Iraq that provided an environment for the sort of problems that we see in the Iraqi military.
“The way that they managed the Iraqi military… unfortunately changed the national army to a more sectarian army and those people that were supposed to fight for the country didn’t really have the cause and that was the main reason why the Iraqi military wasn’t able to succeed,” he said.