Closing the gap between Regional Kurdish Administration and the central government in Baghdad necessary in order to attract foreign direct investment in the region
An introductory booklet prepared by the Regional Kurdish Administration, or KRG, to promote the northern Iraqi autonomous region to attract more foreign direct investment reveals a huge gap between the Iraqi Kurds and the central government in regard to the management of energy-rich fields.
“There have been well-advertised problems between the administration and the Federal Iraqi Government,” President Massoud Barzani said in his foreword to the booklet. Edited by professor Brendan O’Leary, the booklet was published in 2009 and has been distributed worldwide. The French and British foreign ministries also contributed to the booklet through short celebratory pieces.
“There has not been any progress on the drafting of Iraq’s oil and gas law since 2007. The Baghdad Oil Ministry, judged objectively simply by its performance, has been a failure; it has failed all Iraqis, not just the people of the Kurdistan Region,” Barzani wrote.
The Kurdish administration, granted some autonomy through the new Iraqi constitution, is demanding more rights including the signing of contracts with foreign oil and gas companies under its own regional laws.
“We believe that revenues from oil and gas belong to all the people of Iraq, in all the regions and provinces. There are no disagreements on this matter,” he said, adding that his regional government was ready to use the Iraqi oil pipeline that goes through Turkey, namely the Kirkuk-Yumurtalık line. “The key problem has been that the federal government has not been willing to cooperate and is simply unwilling to allow anyone else in the provinces of Iraq,” he said.
On ties with Turkey, though he preferred not to elaborate in detail, Barzani simply mentioned his administration was enjoying much better relations with its neighbors, Turkey in particular.
Kurdish administration assures Turkey
In the overview of the booklet, the Kurdish administration assured good neighborly ties with Turkey. “The Prime Minister [Nachirvan Barzani] has put on the record that the KRG will not allow its territory to be used for the launch of attacks on any neighboring country, making it clear that it will not allow either Turkish or Iranian Kurds to use its soil for military actions,” it read.
Without direct reference to the government’s current efforts to solve the Kurdish question, it said: “Instead, the KRG promotes a peaceful and democratic resolution of the Kurdish question in all neighboring states, Turkey, Iran and Syria.”
Growing Kurdish diaspora
In the foreword written by co-chairs of the Kurdish-American Congressional Caucus, Lincoln Davis and Joe Wilson, described Northern Iraq as “the beacon of stability” and said: “Over the course of a decade, Iraqi Kurdistan has transformed into a beacon of stability, security and prosperity in Iraq, as well as the entire Middle East.”
Both co-chairs also touched on how Kurdish-American ties were important for both sides. “Today, there are many thousands of Kurds residing in the United States, some of whom we have had the pleasure of meeting and befriending. The growing Kurdish diaspora in the U.S. and around the world is representative of one of the largest ethnic groups,” they said.