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Saturday, January 20, 2007

This isn't in the plans for the Kurds


Draft Law Keeps Central Control Over Oil in Iraq

By JAMES GLANZ
Published: January 20, 2007


BAGHDAD, Jan. 19 — After months of tense bargaining, a cabinet-level committee has produced a draft law governing Iraq’s vast oil fields that would distribute all revenues through the federal government and grant Baghdad wide powers in exploration, development and awarding major international contracts.

The draft, described Friday by several members of the committee, could still change and must be approved by the Iraqi cabinet and Parliament before it becomes law. Negotiations have veered off track in the past, and members of the political and sectarian groups with interest in the law could still object as they read it more closely.

But if approved in anything close to its present form, the law would appear to settle a longstanding debate over whether the oil industry and its revenues should be overseen by the central government or the regions dominated by Kurds in the north and Shiite Arabs in the south, where the richest oil fields are located.

The draft comes down firmly on the side of central oversight, a decision that advocates for Iraq’s unity are likely to trumpet as a triumph. Because control of the oil industry touches so directly on the interests of all Iraq’s warring sectarian groups, and therefore the future of the country, the proposed law has been described as the most critical piece of pending legislation.

“This will give us the basis of the unity of this country,” said Ali Baban, the Iraqi planning minister and a member of the Sunni-dominated Tawafaq party who serves on the negotiating committee. “We pushed for the center in Baghdad, but we didn’t neglect the Kurds and other regions,” Mr. Baban said.


They may smile and go along, but the Kurds want Kirkuk and the oil

posted by Steve @ 3:06:00 AM

3:06:00 AM

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