Friday, May 23, 2014

Kurds trump Nouri

Gary Dixon (TradeWinds) notes, "Turkish energy minister Taner Yildiz told Reuters loading of the 1m barrel stem was completed on Thursday."  This was a very smart move.

If you want to sell the oil, and the Kurdistan Regional Government wants to sell it, this is the best time to do it.  There is no oil & gas law because Nouri failed at his repeated promises.  (To continue getting billions in US tax dollars forwarded to them by the US government, in 2007, Nouri signed off on the White House benchmarks which chiefly -- to read the press coverage at the time -- was about passing a national oil and gas law.)

With no national law in place, the Kurds can do what they want.

Nouri's stamped his feet over this for years.  If it mattered that much to him, he should have gotten an oil & gas law passed.

It's not that hard if you're a leader.

Nouri's not a leader.

He can't charm, he can't horse trade, he can't make a deal.

And right now there's something else he can't do.

Know what that is?

Go all crazy on the KRG.

Not right now.

Not when he failed to improve in the parliamentary elections.  (If results stand, State of Law is at the same level of low popularity it was at in 2010.)

He is trying to woo others to come join his crazy and he can't afford to tick off the Kurds just yet.  He might need them if he fails in his attempts to woo others to join him in a coalition (biggest post-election grouping is supposed to get first crack at prime minister).

So he's kind of held in check right now in a way he wasn't last month and in a way he might not be at some future date if he does manage to pull off a third term (which would only be possible if the US government again insists on it).

Selcan Hacaoglu and Ali Berat Meric (Bloomberg News) adds, "More than one million barrels of Kurdish oil were shipped from Turkey to Europe yesterday, Turkey’s energy minister and the Iraqi Kurdish administration said, a sale that may trigger legal action by Iraq’s government."

It might.

It might just trigger strong words.

The Kurdistan Regional Government issued the following today:

Erbil, Kurdistan ( - In line with its policy of implementing the 2005 Constitution of Iraq and helping Iraq achieve its oil production, export and revenue targets, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has completed the first sales of crude oil produced in the Kurdistan Region and piped to the port of Ceyhan.
A tanker loaded with over one million barrels of crude oil departed last night from Ceyhan towards Europe. This is the first of many such sales of oil exported through the newly constructed pipeline in the Kurdistan Region.
The revenue from the sales will be deposited in a KRG-controlled account in Halkbank in Turkey and will be treated as part of the KRG’s budgetary entitlement under Iraq’s revenue sharing and distribution as defined under the 2005 Constitution of Iraq.
Meeting Iraq’s continued international UN obligations, five percent of the sales revenue will be set aside in a separate account for reparations.
The KRG has invited independent bodies to observe the sales and export process in line with the KRG’s commitment to transparency. KRG also hopes that officials from SOMO (the federal Iraqi oil marketing organization) accept KRG’s invitation to observe the process. 
The KRG will continue to exert its rights of export and sell oil independently of SOMO but remains committed to negotiate in good faith with its counterparts in Baghdad to reach a comprehensive settlement on oil issues within the framework of Iraq’s Constitution.

  The KRG has worked tirelessly with its international partners and investors to create new pathways to prosperity and economic development for the people of Kurdistan and Iraq and is ready to become a reliable and stable source of energy both for its immediate neighbours and international markets.

The Kurds appear to have put Nouri in check mate.

Meanwhile, the violence continues.  National Iraqi News Agency reports 2 Aljahash Village bombings left 1 police brigadier and 1 police colonel dead, a Tuz Khurmato roadisde bombing left 2 police members dead and three more injured, a Sharqat mortar attack left 3 family members dead and a fourth injured, and 2 Bab-Jideed and Alfarooq car bombings left nine people injured.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, Pacifica Evening News, Ms. magazine's blog,, Susan's On the Edge, Jake Tapper, the Guardian and the ACLU -- updated:

  • The e-mail address for this site is