Safeen Dizayee, the former foreign affairs and education minister for the KRG, now the autonomous government’s official spokesman, said that while under existing agreements Arbil is supposed to receive 17 percent of Iraqi oil revenues, the total figure should be far higher based on its growing population and rising oil output.
“The figure should be far higher and indeed when the censuses are conducted we believe it could average 25 percent,” Dizayee said from his office at the Council of Ministers in Arbil.
“The 17 percent was just an estimate that was used. But even now we don’t receive that. This year we were getting only about 10.5 percent of the total Iraqi budget.”
The Baghdad’s government collapse in the north has allowed forces of the ethnic Kurdish autonomous region to advance, seizing the long-disputed city of Kirkuk and rural areas with vast oil reserves.
As Iraq struggles to stop an insurgency by Islamist militants, Kurdistan is ramping up independent oil exports, with a third tanker set to load a cargo of crude from Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan on June 22, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Monday.
The Islamic militants who seized cities in Iraq last week posted graphic photos allegedly showing their gunmen shooting scores of captured Iraqi army’s soldiers, while the prime minister vowed Sunday to “liberate every inch” of captured territory.
The pictures on a militant website appear to show masked fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, loading the captives onto flatbed trucks before forcing them to lie face-down in a shallow ditch with their arms tied behind their backs. The final images show the bodies of the captives soaked in blood after being shot at several locations.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Saturday urged his compatriots to be united in fighting a widening Sunni-led insurgency as neighboring Iran offered to help stem the rebellion, DPA reports. “We all belong to one country and one religion and shoulder the same responsibility,” the Shiite premier said in televised remarks from the central city of Samara.
“Don’t listen to those talking about Sunnis and Shiites. All Iraq is on your side,” he said in addressing army personnel. “The recruitment centers are teeming with volunteers,” he added.
Critics of al-Maliki, who has been in power since 2006, accuse him of monopolizing power and manipulating his so-called campaign against terrorism to marginalize Iraq’s Sunni minority. Insurgents from al-Qaeda offshoot, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), have tightened their grip in Iraq’s northern Sunni heartland and are closing in on the capital, Baghdad.