Garraf oil field Photo credit: KMSK

Live: Renewed optimism on Kurdistan oil flow resumption

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Iran's Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, Mohammad Bagheri, has issued an ultimatum to the Kurdistan region and Iraq, demanding the disarmament of Kurdish parties and their expulsion from Iraq within the next few days. This announcement escalates the tension between Iran and Kurdish opposition groups that Tehran views as adversaries.

Iranian media quoted Bagheri asserting that the region should be purged of Iran's adversaries, foreign entities, and opposing Kurdish factions. He emphasized the urgency to disarm what he termed "armed separatist terrorist forces" throughout Iraq.

Initially, September 19 was the designated deadline for the disarmament. However, Bagheri noted that during the run-up to the deadline, the opposed groups had only slightly retreated from the borders. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi then intervened, extending the deadline by a few days, according to the Arab World News Agency.

Seems like the attempted fudge by the KRG and Iraq where the groups were relocated further away from the border with Iran hasn't sated.

The Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Mohammad Bagheri, said his country is giving the Kurdistan region and Iraq a few days to disarm the Kurdish parties and expel them from all over Iraq. Iranian media outlets reported Bagheri saying there is no place in the region for Iran's enemies, foreigners, or the opposing Kurdish parties. He added that the armed separatist terrorist forces must be completely disarmed and expelled from all over Iraq.
The Iraqi Federal Supreme Court's dissolution of the Kurdistan Region's provincial councils has lead to questions regarding the legitimacy of the governors of Erbil and Duhok provinces. 

Peregraf reports that key to this issue is a rule change, introduced after the councils' initial term end, which allowed those outside of the council to be appointed as governors. With the court deeming the term extension unconstitutional, decisions made during this period, including this rule change, may be nullified. This places the legitimacy of Erbil and Duhok's governors under scrutiny as their appointments were based on this amendment.

Financial concerns are also arising. Reports indicate the councils received significant salaries during the extended period, costing approximately 10 million dinars daily. Given the court's ruling on the term's unconstitutionality, these financial decisions may face further examination, implying the salaries are debts to the public treasury that must be repaid.

BREAKING: Supreme court dissolves Kurdistan Region provincial councils

Iraq's Federal Supreme Court has issued a verdict to dissolve the Kurdistan Region's provincial councils, which have been in operation since 2014. Citing the the lack of elections that are now five years overdue, the court declared a prior amendment extending their tenure as "unconstitutional."

The pivotal judgment comes in response to a complaint presented by the New Generation movement.

The last time the Kurdistan Region held provincial elections was in April 2014, where elected members were inaugurated for a tenure of four years. This term concluded in 2018, but with the absence of subsequent elections, the councils continued to function based on the now-declared unconstitutional extension.

The Sulaymaniyah provincial council has already expressed 'adherence' to the ruling.


'Reverse displacement': Many Sinjaris back to camps as dire conditions cut short return home

Kirkuk Now's Ammar Aziz has filed a disheartening report on families displaced by the war with Islamic State (IS), who upon returning home are often met with conditions so dire they find themselves returning to IDP camps. Fadil Nader, one such returnee and father of three, voiced his despair, "The return home was not what we expected." Unable to find consistent work and having moved between three rented houses due to war damage to his own, Nader eventually returned to the Persev camp in Dohuk Northern Province.

Kirkuk Now's findings indicate that unemployment, faltering public services, and slow post-war reconstruction in regions like Shingal are major factors driving this "reverse displacement." Over the past two years, more than a thousand Shingali families have resorted to living in displacement camps again, despite promises from authorities that conditions at home had improved. On the contrary, many returnees like Nader lament the lack of job opportunities and assistance once they return.

Iraqi officials stress that families have the choice to return to their homes, but once they do, they lose access to government aid if they later decide to return to the camps. Iskandar Muhammad Amin, director of the Iraqi Immigration and Displacement Department in Dohuk, stated, "Any displaced person who returns to his home will have his file shut with us and be deprived of all types of assistance if he regrets returning home and returns to camps."

Nader's story is emblematic of the broader issue facing Iraq in its post-war recovery. The region of Shingal was ravaged by IS in 2014, with thousands of homes and buildings devastated. While the Iraqi government claims efforts are being made to rebuild and support families in returning, on-the-ground reports like those from Kirkuk Now suggest that much more needs to be done.

For now, camps in the Dohuk Governorate host over 26,000 families, with another 38,000 displaced families residing outside them. Despite receiving grants from the Iraqi government to facilitate their return home, families are finding it increasingly difficult to re-establish their lives, leading to waves of reverse displacement.

Read the full report at Kirkuk Now below:
Fadil Nader hoped for the best in returning to his homeland and did not want to leave it again due to unemployment and deteriorating services, but in the end he was forced to head back to Internally Displaced Persons IDPs camp. Nader, a father of three children, decided to return to the camp for

Highlights from Sudani's UN speech.

Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani, the prime minister of Iraq, delivered a comprehensive speech at the United Nations General Assembly, emphasizing his nation's commitment to the principles upon which the UN was founded.

"We now have a Government that enjoys a widespread political coalition that covers all aspects of society," Sudani proudly proclaimed. He says central to his administration's program are priorities such as generating employment opportunities, eradicating poverty, combating corruption, and undertaking essential economic reforms.

Sudani plugged Iraq's attractiveness to investors, reiterating its pivotal position in the global oil sector. He emphasized the country's ongoing efforts to establish a regional corridor that would enhance trade and transportation.

Despite the progress, Sudani did not shy away from acknowledging the "corruption pandemic" afflicting Iraq. The prime minister expressed his unwavering commitment to addressing this menace and drew a parallel between corruption and terrorism. "We believe there is a symbiotic relationship between corruption and terrorism," he remarked: "We want Iraq to be part of the solution to any international and regional problem."

Stressing Iraq's commitment to international law and UN resolutions, Sudani rejected external interference in the nation's internal affairs. His message to neighboring nations was one of peace and collaboration: "We hope to achieve regional integration."

After a decade-long gap, local elections are back on the agenda, which he says underscores a return to stability.


Sudani emphasized the Federal Government's collaboration with the Kurdistan region and other Iraqi regions on an "equal footing".

The Prime Minister also turned his attention to the pressing issue of climate change, referencing the drought plaguing "the land of Mesopotamia." He expressed concerns over the "cradle of civilization" and underscored the urgency of regional efforts to manage cross-border water resources. On the home front, Iraq is working diligently to combat pollution and reduce emissions, although the PM acknowledged the need for stronger institutional responses to these challenges.

Sudani also shone a spotlight on the country's fight against drugs and the intertwined relationship between narcotics and terrorism. He emphasized the value of Iraq's youth, which makes up 60% of its population, as the country's best investment and underscored programs that support their education and employment.

Sudani recognized the critical role women have played in Iraq's triumph over terrorism. Pledging solidarity with the Palestinian cause, he also advocated for the sovereignty and well-being of the Syrian people. Condemning religious extremism and hate crimes, Sudani warned of the dangers, stating, "We, in Iraq, know the bitter taste of religious extremism."

According to the pro-KDP Kurdistan 24, the Kurdistan Region is set to soon test the resumption of oil exports through the Iraq-Turkey Pipeline. A joint delegation from Iraq, Turkey, and the Kurdistan Region has inspected the pipeline in Turkey following a 6-month suspension of its operations. 
The decision to halt exports came on March 25 after Iraq's victory against Turkey at the International Arbitration Court in Paris, which awarded Iraq $1.4 billion in compensation. Since the cessation, negotiations have been ongoing between Turkish, Iraqi, and Kurdistan Region officials to restart the oil flow, which the Kurdish region's economy heavily relies on. 

The stoppage has caused a loss of nearly $6 billion since late March, as per KRG. Before the suspension, the Kurdistan Region independently exported 450,000 barrels of oil daily through the pipeline, in addition to another 100,000 barrels from Kirkuk Province in Iraq.

To secure a 12.6% share of Iraq’s yearly budget, the Kurdistan Region must sell 400,000 barrels of oil per day through the Iraqi oil-marketing company, SOMO, as mandated by the country’s budget law.

Morning briefing

Hello! It's the start of the work week in Kurdistan Region, where there's renewed optimism about the resumption of oil flows via the Iraq-Turkey Pipeline. According to pro-KDP media outlets, sources in the Iraqi oil ministry say oil flows will be 'piloted' soon in anticipation (presumably) of a full resumption.

This comes as ever more quantities of Kurdish oil is redirected to the rest of Iraq for domestic consumption. By some counts, it's already at 50% of flows previously routed to world markets via Turkey by the KRG. 

What else? We'll have more on the UNGA, where PM Sudani spoke for the first time over the weekend. Then there's the usual updates throughout the day on everything Iraqi politics.

Stay tuned!