The Iraqi Federation and the Kurdistan Regional Government: the conflict between communal and oil and gas policies

Written by Adriano Dirri   
The purpose of this paper is to analyse the role and place of oil and gas politics in the Iraqi Federation. This aspect is investigated in the relationship to ethnic conflict. These two features are considered in their interplay, which permeates the whole Iraqi constitutional experience. The 2005 Iraqi Constitution embodies specific but vague dispositions related to the ownership and the ‘management’ of oil and gas revenue sharing. In addition, other disputes originated over the relationship between the Kurdistan Region and the central government, like the status of Kirkuk, which is strictly connected to the ownership of natural resources. Therefore, the ‘imported’ Iraqi Constitution is critically examined, above all in those ambiguous and carefully drafted dispositions and where the Constitution has not been implemented. Two specific sections are dedicated to federalism, decentralisation and oil and gas revenue sharing. An analytical framework of such dispositions is provided, as well as their cumulative reading within the federal territorial structure. In the last sections, it is argued that the interplay between oil and gas disputes and ethnic conflict are shaping the asymmetric Iraqi Federation, especially between the Kurdistan and the Iraqi central government. This issue is highlighted by the unsolved status of Kirkuk and the impossibility to address the constitutional shortcomings through constitutional amendments’ rule. Therefore, the Constitution is caught in between the informal agreements and the undefined horizon of the Iraqi (un)constitutional politics.
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Published on Thursday, 19 December 2019 15:43
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 31 December 2019 18:11 )
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