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How crude is the reality of Kurdistan's oil business?
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How crude is the reality of Kurdistan's
By Hiwa Osman - ekurd.net
The recent saga over oil being smuggled out of Iraqi
Kurdistan highlights the need for a more systematic
and coherent work of the Kurdistan Regional
Government KRG in terms of teamwork, more
transparency and a steady flow of information to the
public about the government's work.
Since the start of the new Iraq, oil has been a
major issue of contention with Baghdad. So far, the
Kurds have failed to explain exactly to Baghdad and
the world why is it important for the region and
Iraq to have an oil industry in Kurdistan and how is
that industry developing and the way it is being
This may have been explained in an interview or two
by an official or two, but this is clearly not
enough. A more structured system is needed whereby
information about the oil industry (and other
aspects of government work) is provided in the form
of a steady stream of information.
Hiwa Osman, IWPR Iraq’s country director, previously
served as Iraqi president Jalal Talabani’s media
The work of the KRG in this
regard has very much been a fire-fighting one.
Without having a proper and aggressive channel of
communicating its strategy and vision (if there is a
united one) to the outside world, the KRG often
finds itself fending off allegations and having to
react to statements by Baghdad officials or reports
by the press.
The issue of oil is new to the region and it seems
to be complicated and controversial, responding to a
long report of the NY Times with a short statement
on the KRG website is not enough.
The more information available the less
fire-fighting needs to be done.
The media and the public usually look for facts and
The questions of what is in these tankers? Where is
it coming from? Who is getting the money? Who is
benefitting? etc… are all question that should have
been answered long ago by the KRG if there are no
But the two ruling parties need to have a common
stance over this issue. Although publically the PUK
and KDP say that they are united over this issue but
in reality they are different. The recent New York
Times report was apparently a tip off by one of the
leading figures in one of the two ruling parties.
This is not at the external level only. Internally,
the perception is that this is a clear case of
Perception can sometimes be more important than
facts. Whether they like it or not the issues of
extraction to production to selling has all been
perceived by the public as scams for the benefit of
the few in the leadership.
The burden of proving the opposite is on the
Kurdistan region's leadership.
is IWPR’s country director in Iraq, previously served as
Iraqi president Jalal Talabani’s media adviser.
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