Iraq’s Unity at a Breaking Point over Oil Export Disputes
The escalating tension between Iraq’s semi-autonomous northern Kurdish region and the central government in Baghdad is reaching a critical point. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), in defying Baghdad’s authority over oil drilling and exports from the Kurdish region, has been challenging the central government’s authority and legitimacy since 2007. The completion last December of an independent oil pipeline, which can carry 400,000 barrels a day from Kurdistan to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, has further angered the federal government.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s administration has been stressing over the years that the Iraqi constitution grants no rights to KRG to export oil from the region without an agreement with the central government. Baghdad refused to acknowledge any oil drilling contracts