Iraq’s Kurdish region rejects ruling imperiling oil sector

Mar 3, 2022, 5:00 AM | Updated: 5:09 am

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region rejected on Thursday a ruling by the Supreme Court in Baghdad that ordered it to end its oil sector’s de facto independence.

Regional Prime Minister Masrour Barzani told reporters that the surprise Feb. 16 decision to annul Kurdish oil and gas law was “political” and violated the country’s constitution.

Defiant of Baghdad’s wishes, the Kurdish region manages its oil sector independent of the federal government, signing contracts with foreign companies and collecting revenues that it does not share.

The Supreme Court decision essentially struck down the legal justifications for that oil policy, calling into question the future of the region’s main source of funds. The federal government has not taken any action to implement the court ruling.

“We will continue with our oil policy,” Barzani said. “We will not implement this decision in the Kurdistan region.” He also called into question the legality of the court itself.

The timing of the ruling — based on a complaint filed by the federal government in 2012 — was unclear. It came at a sensitive time, with political parties struggling to form a government.

The week prior to the ruling, another decision from the Supreme Court disqualified Hoshyar Zebari, the presidential candidate from the Kurdistan Democratic Party — the Kurdish-region’s main ruling party of which Barzani is a member.

The suspension was a blow to the ambitions of Moqtada al-Sadr, who’s party gained the most votes in the October federal election, to push through a government that excludes Iran-backed Shiite rivals.

If implemented, the court ruling could cripple the Kurdish region. Barzani said his administration only benefitted from 41% of oil revenue of the region’s 450,000 barrel per day market, after debts and other payments were deducted.

Defending the region’s decision to export oil independently via Turkey, Barzani said with little income from the federal government trickling in, the region had no other choice. “What were we supposed to do?” he said.

The region depends on budget transfers from Baghdad to pay salaries for public employees and other government expenditures. These payments have routinely been delayed due to frequent cash shortfalls. Barzani said these now would be delayed again due to lack of revenue.

___ Kullab reported from Kabul.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Republican presidential candidates, from left, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former New Jers...

Associated Press

3rd Republican presidential debate is set for Nov. 8 in Miami, with the strictest qualifications yet

The third Republican presidential debate will be held in Miami on Nov. 8, a day after several states hold off-year elections.

3 days ago

During the equinox, the Earth’s axis and its orbit line up so that both hemispheres get an equal ...

Associated Press

The fall equinox is here. What does that mean?

The equinox arrives on Saturday, marking the start of the fall season for the Northern Hemisphere. But what does that actually mean?

3 days ago

Ray Epps Ray Epps, an Arizona man who became the center of a conspiracy theory about Jan. 6, 2021, ...

Associated Press

Ray Epps, an Arizona man who supported Trump, pleads guilty to Capital riot charge

Ray Epps, the target of a conspiracy theory about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge.

5 days ago

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly declined in an interview aired Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, to ...

Associated Press

Trump refuses to say in a TV interview how he watched the Jan. 6 attack unfold at the US Capitol

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly declined in an interview aired Sunday to answer questions about whether he watched the Capitol riot.

9 days ago

This frame grab from video, provided by the Mexican government, shows Ovidio Guzman Lopez being det...

Associated Press

Mexico extradites son of ‘El Chapo,’ Ovidio Guzman Lopez to US

The son of notorious cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, Ovidio Guzman Lopez was extradited to the U.S. on Friday.

9 days ago

impeachments in US history...

Associated Press

A look at notable impeachments in US history, including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was acquitted Saturday on during his impeachment trial. Here's a roundup of impeachments in U.S. history.

9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Home moving relocation in Arizona 2023...

BMS Moving

Tips for making your move in Arizona easier

If you're moving to a new home in Arizona, use this to-do list to alleviate some stress and ensure a smoother transition to your new home.


Ignite Digital

How to unlock the power of digital marketing for Phoenix businesses

All businesses around the Valley hopes to maximize their ROI with current customers and secure a greater market share in the digital sphere.


OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

5 mental health myths you didn’t know were made up

Helping individuals understand mental health diagnoses like obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder or generalized anxiety disorder isn’t always an easy undertaking. After all, our society tends to spread misconceptions about mental health like wildfire. This is why being mindful about how we talk about mental health is so important. We can either perpetuate misinformation about already […]

Iraq’s Kurdish region rejects ruling imperiling oil sector