Thursday, September 13, 2007
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the NYT: Compromise on Oil Law in Iraq Seems to Be Collapsing

A carefully constructed compromise on a draft law governing Iraq’s rich oil fields, agreed to in February after months of arduous talks among Iraqi political groups, appears to have collapsed. The apparent breakdown comes just as Congress and the White House are struggling to find evidence that there is progress toward reconciliation and a functioning government here.

Senior Iraqi negotiators met in Baghdad on Wednesday in an attempt to salvage the original compromise, two participants said. But the meeting came against the backdrop of a public series of increasingly strident disagreements over the draft law that had broken out in recent days between Hussain al-Shahristani, the Iraqi oil minister, and officials of the provincial government in the Kurdish north, where some of the nation’s largest fields are located.

This is a big deal. The ongoing inability of the Iraqis to decide on this fundamental issue (the kind of issue that could lead to a full-blown civil war engulfing the entire country) means that no matter what the surge has allegedly accomplished it is a fleeting success at best.

This also reminds me of a commenter who called me a “total idiot” and a “defeatist” because I questioned the analytical validity of those who said the surge was working. Specifically the fellow cited “agreements apparently made in Baghdad on oil revenue sharing” as evidence of his deep understanding of the situation.

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3 Responses to “Oil Law Compromise Collapsing?”

  1. Political Mavens » Oil Law Compromise Collapsing? Says:

    [...] Cross-posted from PoliBlog: [...]

  2. Steven Plunk Says:

    While there are defeatist out there we are mostly made up of optimists and pessimists. I hardly see you as a “defeatist”.

    The “total idiot” part is really just a self description of those who rely on name calling to make a point. I may disagree with you on many things but respect your opinion and recognize your intelligence and knowledge of the issues.

    Let’s hope the Iraqis get this one right and grow up.

  3. Ratoe Says:

    I wonder how Bush will spin this great news in his speech: “The collapse of the oil law shows that Iraq is a functioning democracy.”

    It is also interesting to note that one of Bush’s top fundraisers signed a contract with the Kurds to engage in oil exploration in the north–one of the events that resulted in the collapse of the oil law.

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