In a surprise move, Kurdish lawmakers have announced that they plan to oppose Iraq’s controversial US-backed oil law.

Back in February, the Kurds had agreed to support the draft law, which has been heavily criticised as giving too much control to foreign oil companies.

Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani had predicted the draft law would be approved by parliament in April, but it has yet to be debated.

Kurds hold 58 of the 275 parliament seats _ not enough to defeat the measure on their own. But Kurdish objections could delay passage of the bill, whose ratification has been strongly urged by the White House.

But Kurdish spokesman Khalid Saleh has said: “We are not going to support” the provisions in the bill. Some Sunni legislators have also raised now objections, saying the oil law would give foreign oil companies too much power.

So the draft oil law could be in for a tough time before it becomes law. They will be sweating in Houston.

One Comment

  • Interestingly, US media almost exclusively portray the issue solely in terms of allocating oil revenues among the three sectarian groups/regions, and seldom mention the dispute over production sharing agreements with private (multinational) oil companies. The US public is largely uninformed as to how most governments in the world control their nations’ oil/gas resources, and thus has no rational basis for evaluating how the Iraqis might be expected to deal with the issue of sharing their national resources with foreign investors. I can only hope that more US readers –and more importantly, policy makers — will find their way to your website.

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