As the government of Iraqi Kurdistan reiterates that the oil deals it has signed with foreign companies this year are legal and says most of the returns would be shared with the rest of Iraq, the New York Times wades into the debate with an interesting Op-Ed.

The Times says: “The quickening pace of oil deals between Kurdish regional leaders and foreign companies is another sign that Iraq is spinning out of control and the Bush administration has no idea how to stop it.”

Whilst the leader writer says: “We cannot blame the Kurds for wanting to get on with exploiting their region’s lucrative oil deposits for energy and for profit, “ it says “the oil contracts, however, are a dangerous attempt to establish facts on the ground, fanning even more distrust and resentment” but “Foreign oil companies are so eager for profits that they don’t seem worried about whether the deals are legally binding or how they may contribute to Iraq’s chaos.”

The Times finishes by saying “the White House needs to send a clearer warning to these companies — American and foreign — about the dangers of their course. It should also urge the companies to bring their own pressure on Iraqi officials to adopt a law that ensures that whatever system emerges is transparent, accountable and profitable for all Iraqis. Ignoring that is a recipe for continued chaos.”