Baghdad has banned three foreign oil tankers from entering Iraqi ports. United Carrier, United Dynamic and Nautilus—all of which have transported Kurdish crude and bypassed the Iraqi central authorities--have been banned. United Dynamic and United Carrier are managed by Greece-based Marine Management Services, which has previously been targeted by Baghdad in a September lawsuit over Kurdish crude. The ban is just a small hiccup in a burgeoning business of unilateral sales of Kurdish crude on international markets. This week, another tanker registered in the Marshall Islands left the Turkish port of Ceyhan with 1 million barrels of Kurdish crude. So far, Turkey says that it has exported 17 million barrels of Kurdish crude on 22 tankers since late May this year. The buyers of Kurdish crude are choosing to remain anonymous for now, while the Kurds and the Iraqi central authorities continue their dispute about export revenue-sharing. There has reportedly been an agreement between the two sides to set up a commission to monitor Kurdish exports to Turkey, and Baghdad needs the Kurds’ help in fighting back the Islamic State (IS), so the bulk of the cards here are in the Kurds’ hands.
Fighting in the town of Kikla, southwest of Tripoli, has left over 20 people dead and scores wounded as rival militias vie for control. The rival groups include the Islamist-linked Libya Dawn coalition and the…