Iraq mulling cutting oil supplies to Jordan over Amman opposition meeting

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By Rand al-Hashemi

Azzaman, July 20, 2014

Iraqi authorities are furious over an opposition conference held in the Jordanian capital Amman last week and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki may order the Oil Ministry to stop supplying the Hashemite Kingdom with crude oil.

Iraq has ordered its ambassador in Amman to return home for “consultation.”

The Amman meeting, in which over 150 Iraqi personalities and tribal chieftains took part, was the largest public opposition gathering abroad since the 2003-U.S. invasion.

Iraqi government officials and leaders of political factions have expressed dismay at the government in Jordan for allowing the meeting to go ahead and local media have issued diatribes with some calling for “punitive measures” against Amman.

What angered Iraqis most were the statements made in the meeting in which the participants expressed sympathy with the militants of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), describing its control of large swaths of Iraqi territory and its ongoing operations as a revolution against a “despotic regime” in Baghdad.

The call by the conference for arms against the government prompted Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to urge his followers to join the frontlines in the fight against ISIS.

The meeting has drawn harsh criticism from across the Iraqi political spectrum and disparate ethnic and religious groups.

Kurdish regional government and political parties have hit out at the meeting and so have done members of the Iraqi parliament in Baghdad.

Bahaa Jamaludeen, a deputy from the State of the Law coalition, has urged the government to suspend economic ties with Jordan.

“Iraq supplies Jordan with oil at token prices. There is an obvious subsidy to the Jordanian government and economy,” he said. “This is the best time to cut economic ties with Jordan so that no other country would do the same.”

Another deputy, Aliya Nassif, called on Jordan to surrender to Iraqi courts all those wanted by Baghdad “to show its good intentions towards Iraq.”

Member of Parliament Hannan Fatlawi emphasized that the government should clearly ask Jordan either to expel what she said were “terrorists and criminals” or face the consequences.