Friday, December 18, 2015

Cash doesn't flow up the Tigris

Writing in Commentary, Michael Rubin provides a tour through a self-serving and somewhat selective op-ed in the New York Times by Kurdish politician Kemal Kirkuki, But on one issue, the NYT piece is correct. Here's what Rubin says --

Kirkuki writes: “While Baghdad has been happy to take the money from selling our oil, it has been less enthusiastic about passing it on to us.” He ignores the fact that the Kurds received 17 percent of Iraq’s oil revenue. He also ignores that Iraq continues to pay the pipeline fees for Kurdistan’s exports to Ceyhan, Turkey, to the tune of $270 million over the past year. As for Kurdistan’s inability to pay salaries, Kirkuki might ask why Baghdad has been able to pay salaries to its employees, but Kurdistan hasn’t chosen to use the billions of dollars it has received from Baghdad to pay Kurdish workers.

In fact, while Kurdistan has a constitutional entitlement to 17 percent of oil revenues, the actual share was always smaller, and from early 2014, the share was around ... zero. Reuters explains the cash crisis and how the government coped with it.

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