Saturday, March 10, 2007

Iraq good news - sharing the oil revenue

With most of American politics focused on the troop surge and partisan maneuverings over its implementation, another story has gotten lost: The Iraqis themselves have made important progress in a basic economic issue that has fueled the sectarian divide. Ed Morrison reports at The American (James Glassman)
The only real industry in Iraq comes from its only real natural resource: oil. Unfortunately, the reserves of oil are not shared equally among the population groups. Most of the oil is located outside the “Sunni triangle” and the Sunnis have fought the Shi’ites (and the Kurds to a lesser extent) in order to keep them from federalizing Iraq and hoarding all of the oil revenue from their respective areas of the nation. Many Sunnis have been unwilling to accept a democratically-elected government that naturally favors Shi’ites, or the federalism that favors the Kurds. The solution requires the other two other groups to share their revenue in such a way that the Sunnis can feel secure about their ability to survive and to thrive in the new Iraq. Over the past three years, the politicians were unable to settle on an equitable and secure revenue-sharing plan that still allowed the Kurds and the Shi’ites to manage their own resources. But now things have changed. The Kurds, who had held out the longest, agreed to share their oil revenues on a basis that had already won support from the Shi’ites and the Sunnis. Two days later, the Iraqi cabinet approved the deal, and the Iraqi Parliament will likely vote it into law.
Ed Morrison is "Captain Ed" of blog fame

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