Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict
Iraq/Iraqi Kurdistan Update
• Moody’s Insurance is putting out dire reports that Iraq’s oil revenues for the state could decline by 35% his year, in comparison to last year, while Iraq’s deficit could climb 18%. This is all helped along by a whopping $30 million per day that it needs to fund the battle against the Islamic State. At the same time, the government has reduced the funds available to the Oil Ministry, which in turn means that there are reduced funds to reimburse petroleum costs to contractors.
• The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans has dismissed the case between the Iraqi central government in Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) over the latter’s unilateral oil exports in yet another victory for the Kurds in this long-running battle for oil autonomy.
• But it’s not all roses for Kurdish oil. KRG Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami is facing an investigation into mismanagement and corruption that could threaten his control of the ever-important ministry. This is part of the fallout from an ongoing political stalemate that has sparked widespread protests in Iraqi Kurdistan as demonstrators bemoan the political stalemate and the lack of an official president since July—a situation that has also led to a delay in public service salaries. Protests have turned into clashes with police in some cases. There is not enough…