As Iraq seeks to manage its worst fiscal crisis in almost three decades, tensions between the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) are once again on the rise. Not for the first time, the dispute is over Baghdad’s conditions for the transfer of budget funds to the KRG in Erbil.
At its heart, the battle is constitutional. Ever since Saddam Hussein’s regime was ousted in 2003, there has been disagreement over how political power should be shared. On finances, hydrocarbons, defence, and a number of other issues, both Baghdad and Erbil has claimed competent authority at the expense of the other.… Seguir leyendo »
Reports that a number of international oil companies are on the brink of signing contracts with Iraq have prompted a furious reaction in certain parts of the media and on Capitol Hill. The deals have been widely characterized as no-bid contracts, implying that Big Oil has somehow used its political clout to muscle in on Iraq and renewing suspicion that the whole U.S. intervention in Iraq was primarily a grab for natural resources. In the Senate, senior Democrats have argued that the contracts would heighten Iraq's sectarian tensions, and those lawmakers are threatening to cut financing for some nonmilitary programs in Iraq if the deals go ahead without prior passage of new hydrocarbons legislation.… Seguir leyendo »