BP moves to front line of Iraq-Kurdistan stand-off

January 18, 2013 at 3:38 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Thu Jan 17, 2013 

* Former BP CEO Hayward working with KRG as head Genel

Iraq wants to raise output to 600,000 bpd from 280,000

* KRG also seeks to raise output on its side of field

By Peg Mackey and Andrew Callus

BAGHDAD/LONDON, Jan 17 (Reuters) – BP’s deal to develop an Iraqi oilfield that straddles the border with the autonomous Kurdish region puts it in the front line of a sectarian stand-off, in which rivals and its former CEO have chosen the other side.

Under the draft agreement revealed by Reuters on Wednesday, BP will undertake work to arrest declining production at the Kirkuk oilfield.

Kirkuk’s oil riches are at the centre of a crisis within the national government of Sunni, Shi’ite and Kurdish parties over how to share power amid increasing worries the country may relapse into wide-scale sectarian bloodshed.

At least 25 people died on Wednesday in a Kirkuk suicide bombing.

BP will be working on the Baghdad-administered side of the border on the Baba and Avana geological formations. Kirkuk’s third formation, Khurmala, is controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Continue Reading BP moves to front line of Iraq-Kurdistan stand-off…


Iraq ‘lost fight against Arbil’ says Mehmet Sepil of Genel Energy

August 12, 2012 at 9:07 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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The northern Iraqi oil fields have proven their potential, while the slow action in southern Iraq is pushing energy firms toward the north, according to Mehmet Sepil (inset) of Ankara-based Genel Energy. Hürriyet photos

Iraq ‘lost fight against Arbil’

ISTANBUL – Anatolia News Agency

The central government in Baghdad has lost its energy fight against the regional administration in Arbil, says Mehmet Sepil, the chief executive of Genel Energy, which is active in the lucrative northern Iraqi oil fields

The central Iraqi government in Baghdad has lost its energy struggle against the rapidly developing Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which controls the autonomous north, according to Mehmet Sepil, the chief executive of Genel Energy, one of the most influential companies operating there.

The lingering problems between Baghdad and Arbil over opening the northern oil and gas fields to international companies has been solved “de facto,” Sepil told Anatolia news agency in an interview.

“Baghdad has lost its oil and natural gas fight against northern Iraq,” Sepil said. “Let’s take a look at companies operating there currently: Exxon, Chevron, Total and Gazprom. These are some of the largest oil companies in the world. What’s more, Exxon, Total and Gazprom are also working in Baghdad [oilfields]. Baghdad says it will put those who operate in northern Iraq on a blacklist, but the largest companies in the world are working there. This issue is over. In addition, Baghdad operates too slowly, so the oil companies are escaping from there and moving to the north. The energy fight is over today. The important question is when Baghdad will admit this.”

Ankara-based Genel recently bought 21 percent of U.S.-based Hawler Energy’s share in the Bina Bawi field, raising its share there to 44 percent, Sepil saidd.

“The region will see a large consolidation. The number of [oil]companies in northern Iraq, which is between 40 and 50 today, will fall to between 10 and 15 in two or three years,” Sepil said, adding that the region has already proved its potential. What is happening in northern Iraq is typical, according to Sepil. “First the small companies penetrate, they find the oil, and sell [the field] after benefiting from it. Now this is the process taking place in northern Iraq.”

Genel to transport Kurdish gas and oil to Turkey

The company’s goal is to bring Kurdish gas and oil to Turkey. Sepil estimates that northern Iraq’s oil production will be at 1 million barrels per day by 2015. “Turkey may be able to buy twice what it currently needs from northern Iraq soon. It may also buy some 10-15 billion cubic meters of natural gas from there.”

Turkey’s natural gas demand has increased by some 2 million cubic meters annually due to rapid growth. The only way for Turkey to cut costs will be to diversify its current supplies from Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran.

Genel Energy was formed by the merger of Vallares and Genel Energy International in November 2011. Vallares was a fund founded by former BP CEO Hayward, British financier Nat Rothschild, banker Julian Metherell and investment manager Tom Daniel. Genel Energy International was owned by Mehmet Emin Karamehmet, a Turkish tycoon. The merged company trades on the London Stock Exchange.
After the merger, Genel had capital worth $3 billion, Sepil said, noting that the company is determined to take its place in the consolidation in northern Iraq with its current potential of $1.4 billion. The company’s investment plans also include Africa. Genel is the largest producer in northern Iraq currently, Sepil said.

The Bina Bawi field has great potential, as does the Taq Taq field, where Genel is also active, Sepil said. “Currently OVM runs operations there, but with the acquisition we became the holder of the majority shares. Bina Bawi’s potential is equivalent to half a billion barrels, we believe. The capacity might even be higher.”

The company is also willing to take part in other regional projects, as it is already working a shorter-term project to take Taq Taq oil to the Kirkuk-Ceyhan line, the major pipe between Iraq and Turkey.



The unfinished story of Iraq’s Oil Law: An interview with Greg Muttitt

July 31, 2012 at 10:43 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Jul 24 2012by Ali Issa
[US Sergeant Masterson checks out an oil pipeline valve in Iraq early in his deployment in 2005. It was referred to as
[US Sergeant Masterson checks out an oil pipeline valve in Iraq early in his deployment in 2005. It was referred to as “the big steering wheel-looking thing.” Image by YourLocalDave via Flickr]

“No Blood For Oil” was a slogan featured on many a sign in demonstrations during the run up to the US-led invasion of Iraq, and throughout the early years of the occupation as global opposition to it grew. But as Iraq faded from the headlines in 2009, the struggle over its oil continued. In the following interview, Greg Muttitt, investigative journalist and author of the groundbreaking Fuel on the Fire: Oil and Politics in Occupied Iraq (2012), discusses the attempts by occupying forces, multinational oil giants, and newly minted Iraqi “leaders” to privatize Iraq’s oil. Having worked directly with Iraq’s oil unions, Muttitt also describes the heroic role that Iraqi civil society played in challenging these efforts, how it all shook out and where it might be headed today, at an especially sensitive moment when the Iraqi labor movement is facing a series of fresh attacks. The audio interview was conducted on 13 July 2012, and what follows is an edited transcript.

Ali Issa (AI): Based on the hundreds of US/UK documents you have unearthed, what were your findings about the role of oil in the Iraq War?

Greg Muttitt (GM): Unsurprisingly, the documentary record shows that oil was a central part of the strategic thinking behind the war, and consistently shaped the conduct of the occupation. My book is primarily about what happened during the occupation. The United States, Britain, and the “international community” were keen to see Iraq’s oil developed through foreign investment. It was not so much about helping out their own corporations—that was a secondary concern for them. What they wanted was to see foreign investment in Iraq as a starting point for opening up the other nationalized industries, especially of the region, so as to get oil flowing more quickly. Iraq’s oil sector had been nationalized since the 1970s. The nationalization took place mostly in 1972, and the final phases of it continued until 1975. Essentially, what they wanted to do was to reverse that: put multinational oil companies back in the dominant role in the Iraqi oil sector.

Continue Reading The unfinished story of Iraq’s Oil Law: An interview with Greg Muttitt…

Western Oil Firms Big Winners In Iraq

January 19, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Western Oil Firms Big Winners In Iraq

By Sherwood Ross

19 January, 2012

Western oil producers have emerged as the big winners of the Iraq war.

“Prior to the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq US and other
western oil companies were all but completely shut out of Iraq’s oil
market,” industry analyst Antonia Juhasz told Al Jazeera wire service.
“But thanks to the invasion and occupation, the companies are now back
inside Iraq and producing oil there for the first time since being
forced out of the country in 1973.”

“Western producers like BP, Exxon Mobil, and Shell are enjoying their
best access to Iraq’s southern oil fields since 1972,” Business Week
noted in its issue of March 4th of last year. (1972 was the year
Saddam Hussein nationalized Iraq’s oil fields.)

Business Week quotes Andy Inglis, BP’s chief executive for exploration
and production as saying, “We see this as the beginning of a long-term
relationship with Iraq and will continue to look for further

Continue Reading Western Oil Firms Big Winners In Iraq…

Baghdad threatens to throw ExxonMobil out after Kurdistan deal

November 12, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Battlelooms between US oil giant and Iraq

Baghdad threatens to throw ExxonMobil out after Kurdistan deal


A high-stakes battle over Iraq’s oil commenced yesterday after Baghdad threatened to throw ExxonMobil, one of America’s most powerful companies, out of the country eight years after the US army toppled Saddam Hussein.

Baghdad was retaliating after the world’s biggest company signed a landmark deal to explore for oil and gas in six blocks of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq.

The deal will see Exxon become the first “supermajor” to set up in the region as well as the first oil company to operate in both Iraq and the portion of Kurdistan that is situated inIraq.

Abdul-Mahdy al-Ameedi, director of the Iraqi oil ministry’s contracts and licensing director, said yesterday he had warned Exxon of “dire consequences” last month if it signed these exploration deals with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

“Exxon Mobil could face disqualification and the termination of its contract with the oil ministry,” to develop the West Qurna field in oil-rich southern Iraq, Mr Ameedi added.

A source at one of the supermajors said: “Baghdad has always said very vociferously that if anybody in Iraq signs a deal with Kurdistan they will get kicked out. We got quite a surprise when we found out that Exxon had gone ahead and done that and it will be interesting to see what happens.”

Yesterday’s threat dented hopes that Baghdad was close to formalising existing contracts in Iraqi Kurdistan as part of a broader agreement on oil revenues across the whole country. The move is likely to further discourage BP and Shell which both have operations in southern Iraq but no plans to move into Kurdistan.

Analysts said that both Exxon and the Iraq government were playing a high-stakes game, as Baghdad attempts to balance the need to grow its own oil industry with the desire to rein in the power of Kurdistan.

Samuel Ciszuk, an oil analyst at IHS Global Insight, said: “This deal is the worst possible headache for the Iraq government.”

Mr Ciszuk added: “Exxon is developing one of the biggest oil projects in the south and is the lead on a huge water injection system that will be used by oil companies across the region. To kick Exxon out would be a very powerful statement because it would be would effectively derail most of its production boosting programme for a good year or two.”

Phil Corbett, at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “The temptation has become too great for Exxon to resist – in effect Exxon is calling Baghdad’s bluff, presumably believing that it won’t lose its West Qurna project interest with a move into Kurdistan.”

Iraqis presently producing about 2.8 million barrels a day but hopes to boost this to 12 million by 2017 – a level which experts believe to be hugely ambitious, even with Exxon’s contribution.

However, although Iraqis keen to tap the huge revenues that would flow from a surge in oil production, it is wary of Kurdistanmaking too much money from its oil industry because that would increase the region’s power and, in turn, its claim for autonomy, Mr Ciszuk said.

Kurdistanis estimated to hold about 45 billion barrels of oil and up to 200,000 cubic feet of gas and a number of oil explorers – including the latest venture of the former BP chief executive Tony Hayward – have piled in to the region recently.

BP and Iraqi Oil

August 4, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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BP And
Iraqi Oil

London gained access to a leaked copy of a contract between BP and the
Iraqi government which reveals the extent to which the company has gained
control over Iraq’s resources. New Left Project writes

BP was awarded the 20-year deal at an auction in June 2009, but
suspicions were raised when the company did not sign the contract until four
months later. The Iraqi government said nothing had changed in the interim,
only “clarifications” – claims that the leaked contract show not to be true.

obtained from a reliable source a version of the Rumaila contract with BP/CNPC
dated 8 October 2009. This leaked version was compared with the official model
contract, dated 23 April 2009, which formed the basis of the first bid
round.Several key changes were made, including:

> BP could opt to be paid for oil not produced
as a result of OPEC quotas or Iraqi infrastructure bottlenecks. In the model
contract for which companies bid at the auction, the cost of such scenarios
would have been shared by both sides.

> The threshold for BP’s project expenditure at
which Iraqi approval was required was raised from $50m to $100m and tight time
limits applied to Iraqis’ ability to check such expenditures are legitimate and
not inflated.

The changes that took place behind closed doors at
first look like technical details. But look more closely and you see their real
meaning: BP, not the Iraqi government, will effectively control future rates of
production. This gives the company a stranglehold on the Iraqi economy.

Also revealed today:

In April 2009, just two months before the auction
at which BP won the contract, Iraqi Ministry of Oil officials sought training
on commercial and negotiating skills – from BP, the very company with which it would
be negotiating.

When parliamentarians called the Oil Minister in
for questionning on the contract, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki wrote
privately to the speaker of parliament calling for him to block the it, on
grounds that the questionning would hold back Iraq’s progress, in a way that
would be “in harmony” with recent terrorist bombings in Baghdad.


Maliki Capitulates on the Kurdish Oil Deals, by Reidar Visser

February 5, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Maliki Capitulates on the Kurdish Oil Deals

Posted by Reidar Visser on Saturday, 5 February 2011 16:04

Comments to AFP by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki today on the oil deals signed by the Kurds are nothing short of sensational. That exports from the Kurdistan fields will go ahead has been rumoured for some time, but the more crucial point is the clear assertion by Maliki that the contracts signed by the Kurds with foreign companies will be honoured.

To appreciate the extent of the change of Maliki’s position, one needs only remember the vehement criticism of these bilateral deals by his point men on energy issues like Hussain al-Shahristani and Abd al-Hadi al-Hassani. It was this kind of opposition that led to the breakdown of the first export attempt back in summer 2009. In fact, just weeks ago, oil ministry officials were adamant that even if the exports were to be resumed, costs only (and not profit) were to be paid to the operating foreign companies by the central government.

In terms of the perennial debate about the constitutional right of provincial entities to sign contracts without reference to Baghdad, Maliki appears to sidestep the question somewhat by offering an ad hoc justification to the effect that oil drilling in the Kurdish areas is technically more difficult than in the south and for this reason it is permissible to accord greater profits to the companies that invest in the north than those operating in the south (where technical service contracts and more modest per-barrel remuneration have been the norm for foreign companies dealing with Baghdad). In this way, it looks as if the affair has been dressed up as the oil ministry “recognising” the deals because of the special geological challenges presented by the Kurdistan region, but it still begs the question of whether any deal signed by the Kurds in the future, regardless of profits etc., will automatically be recognised. The question is important, because according to the constitution, existing governorates can do exactly the same as federal regions as far as oil is concerned, and the issue of bilateral energy deals between governorates and foreign companies therefore forces its way onto the agenda as a potential domino effect that could gradually make Baghdad less influential in the energy sector (and, arguably, in governing the country as a whole). What if an existing governorate can reiterate the Kurdish argument about having a particularly challenging environment for drilling oil or gas?

The political dynamic that has enabled these development has its roots in late 2009, when it became increasingly clear that Nuri al-Maliki was failing in an attempt to turn his State of Law coalition into a truly national political entity with appeal beyond the Shiite-majority areas of Iraq. Further weakened by the de-Baathification issue and results in the 7 March 2010 elections that were worse than he had hoped for, he needed both Iranian and Kurdish support to clinch a second nomination and to form the government. The Iraqiyya component in the government that was declared in late December was surprisingly strong and the Kurdish one comparatively weak, but Maliki has since come under fire for issues such as attaching the independent commissions to the executive, prompting protests from both the Kurds and Iraqiyya and even a surprise initiative to establish a new federal supreme court. In this kind of situation he is giving concessions to the Kurds even though they alone don’t have the votes to keep him in office. These developments are also a major defeat for his oil minister, Shahristani, who was unable to ramp up short-term production in the south and thereby became dependent upon comparatively modestly sized exports from the north while he is waiting for his own string of deals with foreign companies to come to fruition.

The big question is how Iraqiyya will react, since its constituencies are critical of the Kurdish oil deals and concessions to the Kurdistan Regional Government in disputed questions generally. In that kind of perspective, the logical thing for it would be to withdraw from government and focus instead on an opposition role headed by the speaker of parliament, Usama al-Nujayfi (Adnan al-Janabi of Iraqiyya also won the presidency of the parliamentary oil and gas committee today). However it does seem its members are more concerned with more Byzantine ways of seeking power in government, including vice presidencies (Hashemi) and strategic policy councils (Allawi). In fact, Iraqiyya is rumoured to be asking the Kurds for help in both of these issues, signifying the extent to which Arbil has managed to come out on top in the latest developments despite a somewhat adverse point of departure.

Maliki and the Kurds: An Apparent Fudge on Oil Exports, by Reidar Visser

January 27, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment

Maliki and the Kurds: An Apparent Fudge on Oil Exports

Posted by Reidar Visser on Thursday, 27 January 2011 15:10

Among the first moves of the new Maliki government has been an agreement with the Kurdistan regional authorities (KRG) to resume oil exports from fields in Kurdistan operated by foreign companies that have cut separate deals with the KRG previously. Exports are supposed to start as early as 1 February.

So far, relatively few details about the agreed arrangements have been revealed. Baghdad has reportedly agreed to lower the minimum export requirement for Kurdistan in the annual budget to 100,000 barrels per day (it was originally 150,000 bpd, which the Kurds found somewhat steep), and unlike the previous attempt at starting export in the summer of 2009, Baghdad will this time pay a “contribution” (musahama) towards covering the expenses of the foreign companies that operate in Kurdistan. So far, the exact size of the payment has not been specified, but according to Asim Jihad of the Iraqi oil ministry it will be paid to the Kurdish regional authorities rather than directly to the foreign companies, and there are certain “barter” elements to the deal as well, including improvements to the refining capacity and electricity supply of Kurdistan plus provision of oil for the local market in Kurdistan.

Thus in legal terms, it seems as if the stalemate regarding the contract status of the foreign companies is continuing as before. The Kurds are reluctant to formally submit the contracts to Baghdad for approval since that would mean not only potential challenges to the contract terms but also cession of what the Kurds believe is their sovereign right to conclude such deals with third parties. Baghdad, for its part, is reluctant to pay the companies that operate in Kurdistan directly according to the contract terms, since that would mean recognising the right of federal authorities to sign deals with foreign companies without coordinating with Baghdad – which in turn would mean that not only federal regions but in fact every governorate across Iraq could do the same thing. Since federal regions and governorates have exactly the same residual rights under article 115 of the constitution, it would be potentially suicidal for the central government to admit a residual power to sign contracts for so-called “future fields” without coordination with Baghdad. Under this kind of permissive scenario, Basra, Maysan and Anbar would suddenly negotiate with foreign companies without reference to Baghdad. It seems far more likely that Baghdad is aiming for a restrictive interpretation of article 112, second, that would require coordination with the oil ministry for all future deals as part of the national “strategic policy” on oil – and instead will opt for for temporary, horse-trading solutions of the kind now agreed with the Kurds in the short term while it is working on boosting its own export capacity, which will still take some years.

Thus unlike what happened in 2009, money will this time be paid from Baghdad to Kurdistan, and presumably the Kurds will then pay the operating companies. The problem for the Kurds is that as long as the contracts are not submitted for review (as opposed to just making them public), Baghdad will continue to pay Arbil with reference to its own assessment of reasonable costs rather than in accordance with the lucrative terms of the contracts. Whether this in the long run is actually good enough for the Kurds – and not least their foreign partners – remains to be seen. Clearly, the foreign companies that operate in Kurdistan are not there in order to do non-profit work forever, and the Kurds will be under pressure to pay them more generously instead of simply compensating them for expenses. Other potential hitches regarding the new arrangements relate to parliamentary oversight: Presumably the compensation payments are to be specified in the annexes to the 2011 budget to be debated in February, and presumably the payments due to be transferred to the Kurdish ministry for natural resources as part of the deal will be subject to parliamentary debate in the Kurdish regional assembly as well, where the PUK and Gorran have a history of asking critical questions about the KDP-led oil policy.

Nonetheless, this deal represents an interesting move for the new Maliki government, where a key question since December 2010 has been whether Maliki will lean more towards the Kurds or Iraqiyya in hammering out his policies. Based on the latest move by Maliki to attach the independent commissions to the government, one can start wondering whether he actually has a viable grand strategy at all. He can afford to alienate either the Kurds or Iraqiyya, but not both at the same time. This holds true for the oil sector as well.


Oil Companies–Some Run by Former Bush Officials–Make a Risky Move Into Kurdistan

March 26, 2010 at 1:30 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Oil Companies–Some Run by Former Bush Officials–Make a Risky Move Into Kurdistan

By Joshua Hammer


April 1, 2010

The Tawke oil field, just south of Iraq’s mountainous border with Turkey, is a bare, windblown patch of hills in one of the Middle East’s most isolated corners.

Three hundred miles north of Baghdad, it is also four hours by road from the nearest international airfield and hundreds of miles from the nearest seaport. But on April 12, 2005, more than 100 dignitaries from around the world trooped up to this bleak turf to observe a bit of history. One year earlier, a scrappy Norwegian oil company called DNO had become the first foreign business since the U.S. — led invasion of Iraq, in March 2003, to purchase oil-drilling rights in the Kurdistan region; defying skeptics, the Norwegians had shipped in millions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure and equipment, built an oil workers’ camp, and brought in technicians from the Philippines, India, and Scandinavia. Now DNO had invited Kurdish officials, local luminaries, and assorted friends of the region to witness the launch of the first exploratory oil well on Kurdish soil in two decades.

Continue Reading Oil Companies–Some Run by Former Bush Officials–Make a Risky Move Into Kurdistan…

Galbraith Was Paid by DNO when He Sat In on Sensitive Constitutional Drafting Sessions in 2005

November 13, 2009 at 6:37 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Galbraith Was Paid by DNO when He Sat In on Sensitive Constitutional Drafting Sessions in 2005

Posted by Reidar Visser on November 12, 2009


In many ways, today’s story in The New York Times on Tawke-gate serves to corroborate the account of events already conveyed earlier by Norway’s Dagens Næringsliv (DN). In particular, the impression that it was the Norwegian oil company DNO (rather than the KRG) that awarded a stake in the Tawke oilfield to Peter Galbraith back in 2004 is strengthened in the article, and there are interesting remarks by Abd al-Hadi al-Hassani, one of the few officials close to the Maliki administration who has had the courage to comment publicly on the affair so far. Also, it is refreshing that the NYT, which in the past has given ample space to Americans advocating a soft partition of Iraq, has chosen to publish this kind of critical perspective on one of the leading intellectuals of the soft partition crowd.

Perhaps the single most significant piece of new information in the story is the confirmation that Peter Galbraith, whose consultancy work for DNO in 2004 has previously been revealed by DN, also received payment from DNO in 2005, “throughout the constitutional negotiations in 2005 and later.” On this aspect, Iraq’s former ambassador to the UN, Feisal Amin al-Istrabadi comments to the NYT as follows:  “The idea that an oil company was participating in the drafting of the Iraqi Constitution leaves me speechless”. Istrabadi emphasises that DNO in practice had “a representative in the room, drafting.”

It is often not realised how secretive and closed those final negotiations of the Iraqi constitution in August 2005 really were. A good description has been offered by Jonathan Morrow of the USIP:

“After August 8, constitutional negotiations took place in a series of private, ad hoc meetings between Kurdish and Shiite party leaders – the “Leadership Council,” as it was termed by the international press, or more informally by Committee members, “the kitchen” (matbakh). In its basic form, the Leadership Council consisted of SCIRI leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, Shiite Dawa party leader Prime Minister Jaafari, Kurdish PUK party leader President Jalal Talabani, and Kurdish KDP party leader Masoud Barzani. These meetings took place at irregular intervals at a number of private residences and compounds in the International Zone. These were meetings at which the Sunni Committee members had no right of attendance, to which they frequently requested attendance, but were not often invited. The expectation was quite clear: the Shiite and Kurdish parties would agree to a constitutional text, which would then be presented as a fait accompli to the Sunni Arabs, who would be asked to take it or leave it.”

Someone who was admitted to these meetings, however, was Peter Galbraith, the paid DNO consultant and stake-holder in the Tawke oilfield. Again, according to Morrow, “the Kurdish parties were able to invite into the ad hoc meetings experienced non-Iraqi international negotiators and constitutional lawyers, including former U.S. diplomat Peter Galbraith and University of Maryland Professor Karol Soltan, to advance the Kurdish case.”

It seems Galbraith was doing more than just “advancing the Kurdish case”: The Iraqi constitution adopted in October 2005 for the first time establishes a regional role in administering the country’s oil sector, more or less on the lines advocated by Galbraith in a policy paper from early 2004. It is noteworthy that the KDP draft constitution for Iraq from 2003, by way of contrast, accorded exclusive sovereignty to Baghdad in administering the oil sector. Today’s revelation that Galbraith also received payment from DNO, a foreign oil company, when he was sitting in on those sensitive Iraqi constitutional meetings in August 2005 where the regional role in the oil sector was established, takes the whole Tawke-gate affair to unprecedented levels of scandalousness.


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