Kirkuk wants to sell its oil in­de­pen­dently

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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