Iraq factions join against Kurd oil deals

BAGHDAD, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- A majority of Iraq's parliamentarians have signed an agreement against Iraqi Kurds' moves to unilaterally develop the oil sector and control oil-rich Kirkuk.

The new agreement between a dozen political factions in Iraq also aligns one-time opponents against a dominant Shiite political party that wants to create a large autonomous region in the oil-rich south.


Dar al Hayat reports leaders of political parties representing 150 of Iraq's 275 parliamentarians signed the pact.

"There must be a formula for maintaining the unity of Iraq and the distribution of its wealth," Osama Najafi, of former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's secular National List party, said at a news conference.

"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," he said, Gulf Daily News reports.

The political parties, which have quit Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's coalition government, are also uniting against the Kurdistan Regional Government's move to add oil-rich Kirkuk to its territory.

In doing so, the new allies are taking on two of the key supporters of Maliki's government, the Kurdish Coalition and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, in what could be a bid to rejoin with Maliki.


The deal is only tentative, falling short of officially uniting a new block in Parliament, but the parties' members would make up at least 45 percent of the 275-member legislative body.

Signatories to the agreement include Sunni parties National Dialogue Front and Iraqi Accord Front. A faction of the IAF recently signaled support of the Kurds.

A faction of the Dawa Party, which has opposed Maliki's Dawa Party, also signed on, as did the Sadr Movement, led by Moqtada Sadr, a Shiite Cleric with a large militia force that had, under Allawi's rule, been targeted by coalition forces, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The Iraqi Turkmen Front and the Yazidi Block also agreed to the pact, Azzaman reports.

The Kurds have expressed frustration during negotiations with the central government over the country's proposed oil law. The KRG wants a decentralized governance of the sector; Baghdad and others are pushing for central control over the planning and development of oil.

The Kurds passed their own regional law in August and have signed more than 20 deals with Kurdish and international oil firms since.

Baghdad calls the deals illegal.

Sadr's Sheik Walid Kraimawi said Kurds are demanding too much, the Los Angeles Times reports.


It quoted Kurdish Parliamentarian Mahmoud Othman as saying the groups are against Kurds.

The ISCI Party, which aligns with the Kurds, has wanted to create a region of Iraq's southern oil-rich provinces, similar to the semiautonomy afforded to Kurds in the north. The new agreement is designed to challenge that as well.

Latest Headlines