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article imageKurds In Iraq Criticized By Shia and Sunni Tribes Over Oil Contracts

By Can Tran     Jan 13, 2008 in World
On Sunday, both the Sunni and Shia Arab tribes in Iraq have joined together to criticize the Kurds. Both tribes criticize that the Kurds are overreaching with an oil deal without involving the central government.
Legislators from the Sunni and Shia tribes have gotten together to express their opposition to the ambitions of Iraq’s Kurds in the northern city of Kirkuk which is disputed. They have opposed the Kurds in Kirkuk in negotiating deals with the foreign oil companies without the Iraqi central government’s involvement.
There must be a formula of maintaining the unity of Iraq and the distribution of its wealth,” according to Osama al-Nijifi, a secular lawmaker. “Oil and gas are a national wealth, and we are concerned about those who want to go it alone when it comes to signing deals,” al-Nijifi added.
However, they were cautious not to name the Kurdish government as it could create new tensions between all three groups. In the governing coalition, the Kurds are a key group within the country and is the United States’ most reliable ally in Iraq.
While the Shia Arabs and Kurds have formed a close relationship since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein back in the US-led invasion of 2003, the Kurds have done some actions that have irritated by the Shia and Sunni tribes of Iraq such as refusal to fly the national flag.
The demands of the Kurdistan government regarding oil and Kirkuk do not contradict the Iraqi constitution,” Mahamoud Othman, a Kurdish lawmaker said to The Associated Press. He adds: “Such statements complicate problems instead of solving them.”
Massoud Barzani, Kurdistan’s president said he would fly the Iraqi flag once the Saddam-era design is changed by parliament.
So far, the Kurdish government had already signed fifteen contracts with twenty international oil companies. Most of the contracts are obscure. Hussain al-Shahristani, the oil minister of Iraq called those contracts illegal. He has threatened to blacklist and exclude foreign oil companies who sign them from future opportunities in the country.
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