Jun 11 2012
By Shaymaa Adel
Azzaman, June 11, 2012
Reports that Kurds were trying to drill for oil in villages and districts to the north and north-east of the city of Mosul have drawn condemnation from Baghdad.
Mosul is where some of the first oil wells were dug in Iraq, particularly in the district of Ain Zala.
But local press reports say that the Kurds have allegedly discovered massive reserves in the plain where a string villages are inhabited mainly by Christians, Yazidis and other minorities.
Abdulla al-Yawer, a member of parliament and head of a small political party, has openly called on the inhabitants of Mosul, a mainly Sunni Muslim town, to rise and guard their oil riches against what he described as Kurdish greedy intentions.
The oil-rich areas of Mosul fall within the category of “disputed territory” – a term which means their administration shall be decided in light of a referendum.
But the Kurds have sent in their militias (peshmerga) and security organs and are practically in full control of these areas in violation of Iraqi constitution.
There is resentment of Kurdish militia presence in the region and the call by Yawer and reports – though still unconfirmed – of the area holding massive oil reserves is expected to fuel tensions in an already restive region.
Yawer in his statement to “the people of Nineveh” of which Mosul is the capital claimed that the disputed areas hold up to 22 billion barrels of oil reserves – a massive sum which, if confirmed, would equal Libya’s total proven reserves.
He also claimed that the Kurds were in talks with foreign firms to develop the newly discovered oil fields.
“We are under duty to keep you abreast of the dangerous situation and the future and fate of our province of the existences of about 22 billion barrels of oil reserves in the areas of Shaikhan and al-Qoush … and that the Kurds are trying to sign contracts with foreign firms to extract the oil,” he said.
He added: “Extracting oil is a right for the people of Nineveh.”
Developing oilfields by Kurds has turned into a thorny issue with the central government in Baghdad.
Iraq says Kurdish oil activities are illegal and has called on foreign firms to cancel their contracts with the Kurdish autonomous government in the north.
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