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Northern Iraq’s Oil Chessboard: Energy, Politics and Power

The autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq has emerged in recent years as a potentially significant supplier of oil and gas. This makes it of economic and strategic interest to Turkey in particular. However, its geography and a continuing dispute between the Kurdish region and the central government in Baghdad have so far prevented the construction of oil and gas export pipelines. This leads to a complicated three-way balancing act between Turkey, Iraq’s Kurdish region, and Baghdad.

Northern Iraq s Oil Chessboard Energy Politics and Power
Northern Iraq’s Oil Chessboard: Energy, Politics and Power
 

Landing in Erbil (Hewler), capital of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, one of the first things that strikes the visitor is the role of Turkey. Western oil executives and Iranian traders are prominent, but Turkish businesses, visitors, engineering and construction companies, restaurants and products are ubiquitous. Kurdistan’s energy resources make it an important economic and strategic partner for Turkey in the region, but also involve Ankara in the complexities of intra-Iraq politics.

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