Oil Change International

Exposing the true costs of fossil fuels

Kurds Stake Claim to their Oil Reserves

kurdistan_exporting_oilThis was not meant to happen. In the post-invasion planning of Iraq it was meant to be the American and British oil companies that enjoyed the spoils of war and access to the country’s lucrative oil reserves.

But the Kurds keep putting a proverbial spanner in the works. Iraq’s Kurdish leaders adopted a new constitution two weeks ago, a step that has alarmed Bagdad and Washington. And the reason is: oil.

As the New York Times reports today: “The proposed constitution enshrines Kurdish claims to territories and the oil and gas beneath them. But these claims are disputed by both the federal government in Baghdad and ethnic groups on the ground, and were supposed to be resolved in talks begun quietly last month between the Iraqi and Kurdish governments, sponsored by the United Nations and backed by the United States.”

The Obama administration is said to be highly troubled by the Kurdish move. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr, has criticized the move calling it “not helpful”. That Diplomatic speak for being a right pain in the backside.

For the new Kurdish constitution to be agreed it has to be put to a referendum to the Kurdish people, probably as early as September. Most expect that the new constitution will be approved, unless Washington and Baghdad can scupper it.

A showdown seems inevitable. Earlier this week the International Crisis Group warned about the escalating conflict between the federal government and the Kurds, along what military circles are referring to as the “trigger line – a curve stretching from the Syrian to the Iranian border”.

Although ethnic tensions are important – it is oil and gas that is at the heart of the dispute. The International Crisis Group has argued that “If the U.S. administration wishes to leave Iraq without being forced either to maintain a significant military presence or, worse, to return after the country disintegrates, it should craft an exit strategy that both encourages and pressures Iraqis to reach a series of political bargains.

The ICC continues:  “These deals, as Crisis Group has consistently argued, concern a federal hydrocarbons law, a settlement over Kirkuk and other disputed territories and agreement over the division of powers that jointly would pave the way for consensus on amending the constitution.”

It is interesting that groups such as ICC are arguing for the need for a hydrocarbons law – which many observers believe will be flawed and highly biased in favour of the international oil companies. In that sense, it would nothing to reduce the simmering tension in the region. In fact it would make it worse.

Comments (2)

  1. Andy Rowell says:

    The following was submitted. I have taken the unusual step of editing out the swearing sections as this violates the rules of the site. The rest of the post is left in.

    Author : Lordtey
    E-mail : lordtey90@yahoo.com

    Comment: …. [DELETED]. Why shouldnt they you american thieves. America is the biggest enemy of the Kurdish people and that is what i am teaching the Kurds nowadays. They let the Kurds down in WW1 and 1975 so we know how it works for [DELETED] hypocrite westerners, however we really have not predicted more from them.

    WE KURDS always fight for ourthelves never ever give up until we succeed or the world ends. All we need to control our home land, our historical and ancestery land our spirit land is to have modern weapons or alternatively an outside support, unfortunately up to now we have not achieved any of those. From 1st and 2nd Gulf War, today we only use our forces, international law mountains not [DELETED] american self-interested [DELETED.]

    Also let me make it clear that it was us helping America not only them helping us Kurds. The most hated people on planet earth today: are turks and americans. enough people are you not embarrassed

  2. Polla Kerkuki says:

    Kurdistan without Kerkuk is like a human boday without a major organ. Kerkuk for the Kurdish People isnt just oil its history, Kerkuk is heart of Kurdisstan, it has always been a part of Kurdistan. A clear sign that america doesnt want Kerkuk to be normalised so iam telling you america Muslim world hate you, dont also make the 50 MILLION strong outspread Kurds hate you so dont make or force Kurdish people to compromise on disputed areas of Kurdistan anymore. Stop theatening the Kurds we are all Peshmerges anywhere in the world. (Peshmerge) meaning people who prevent death by not fearing to die. We are really not scared to die, death is better than having to live without a strong home-land that defends our rights. We defend our people not to be MURDERED, GENOCIDED, KIDNAPPED, We protect our children not to be raped or kidnapped by turkis arabs and persians so dont support tyranny. You American and Europian provide our neighbours with every modern technological weapons, Chemical Gas then when they think they can manage arabs turks persians dont count you like [DELETED] against you, that is the time you remember the Kurds.

    Moderator – Comment has been edited to remove the swearing.

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