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Oil dispute reignites Baghdad-Erbil tensions

Baghdad and Erbil's relations have largely normalized following the Kurdistan Regional Government's failed independence referendum in 2017. However, the Kurdish failure to commit to the federal budget law risks tarnishing those relations.
Flames emerge from flare stacks at the oil fields in Kirkuk, Iraq October 18, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani - RC15269F5E00

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi is under great pressure from his government to force the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to deliver the allotted 250,000 barrels of oil per day to the State Organization for Marketing of Oil, as per the 2019 federal budget law.

Pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported on May 22 that Abdul Mahdi has threatened to slash the KRG budget if the oil is not delivered. Ayad Allawi, the head of al-Watania alliance, announced May 28 that Abdul Mahdi asked him to go to Erbil and discuss the oil dispute with KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani. Allawi met with Barzani and received his assurance of cooperation with Baghdad. Yet the dispute has not been solved. 

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