MESOP : MAHMOUD OSMAN – ON THE PAYROLE OF PKK & TEHRAN – Iran can play mediator role in Erbil-Baghdad dispute: official tells Kurdpress

17 Mar 2015 – Prominent Kurdish politician believes the Islamic Republic of Iran can play the role of a mediator to solve tensions and disputes between Iraqi central government and the Kurdish government in the north.Mahmoud Osman told Kurdpress in an exclusive interview that rifts between the two governments have not been removed and disputes over Peshmerga budget, oil and gas law and Kurdistan Region’s share from national budget have not been solved.The full interview is as follows;

What are the reasons behind deepening crisis between Erbil and Baghdad?

The disputes between Erbil and Baghdad are deeper than what politicians and media state. One of the disputes is Article 140 over determining the official borders of Kurdistan Region that is significantly important for Kurds but has not been put into practice and necessary deals have not been made over oil and gas law and Peshmerga budget; so the current deal between Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Iraqi central government is temporary.

The root of the problems is in the outlooks of the two sides in Erbil and Baghdad as Baghdad does not believe in federalism and does not want Kurdistan Regions to have its military forces and export its oil independently.

Will, in your opinion, a third side, as a mediator, lessen disputes?

Kurdistan Region is a region almost independent and self-autonomous and the presence of a third side is felt to mediate between Erbil and Baghdad; and due to the current situation only the Islamic Republic of Iran has the ability and the position to play such a role as it enjoys a very close and good relation with Kurdistan Regional Government and Iraqi central government; and in the past, a part of the problems between Erbil and Baghdad were solved through Iran’s mediation. The issue, however, depends on Iran whether it would play a role in the situation or not.

Can Turkey, like Iran, play such a role in Erbil- Baghdad relation?

No, Turkey cannot, due to its regional position, play the role of a mediator between Erbil and Baghdad as Turkey does not have a good relation with Iraq but with a part of Sunni Arabs.

How can mediation between Erbil and Baghdad affect agreements?

A third side in the agreement is like a guarantee for putting them into action and as a side that does not have a benefit in the deals can state which one of the mediators has breached the deals.

What is the reason behind years-long tensions and disputed between Erbil and Baghdad over oil and gas and active oil companies in Kurdistan Region?

Kurdistan Region would have no trouble with Baghdad over oil export had it exported it oil though Iran as there is a good relation between neighboring Iran and Iraq. But oil export through Turkey created current tensions and there is no guarantee that the troubles would end.

Why Iraq tensions reached to the stage and were complicated to this level?

Iraq troubles have been complicated more than expectations as many regional countries fuel the tensions and meddle in Iraq affairs and the situation has made the situation even worse.

There was a strong impossibility for Kurds to attend in Iraqi government as Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi took office but the Kurds decided, in a hasty move, to attend in the government on the condition that the troubles do not end in impasse and their demands would be fulfilled in three months. But the troubles and disputes have remained intact. How do you evaluate the change in Kurds’ stance?

The U.S. government and the UN put a lot of pressure, at the time, on Kurdistan Region to attend in Abadi’s government, but there is no pressure on their side for solving problems.

What is the reason that the oil deal between Kurdistan Region and the central government in Baghdad has not been fulfilled?

In reality none of the two sides is remnant for signing the oil deal and the problem behind setting the deal into motion cannot be found here. But it is the vague details of the deal that have created new troubles. The agreement should have been written in detail but it is general and vague. It is predicted that there are troubles and ups and downs in Baghdad and Erbil relation. And the main problem is that the two sides are at war with Daesh (Arabic acronym for the Islamic State (IS)) and all forces and lines should be united to end the war and remove Daesh’s threat and do not prioritize personal benefits to those of the public.

The Kurdish government in Erbil and the central government in Baghdad agreed 4 months ago that the Kurdish region would export 250000 barrels of oil drilled in the region and 300000 barrels from oil wells in northern province of Kirkuk, and Baghdad, in return, would pay the region some 1 billion dollars every month.