BAGHDAD – The Iraqi Kurdistan is secretly selling oil to the Zionist regime at heavily discounted prices, London-based Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper and other local news outlets say.
The report has cited the trade as one of the reasons why the semi-autonomous region is dragging its feet about reaching an oil export agreement with the central government in Baghdad.
The Zionist regime is buying significant amounts of Iraqi oil from certain parties and “mafias” in the Kurdistan region for prices as low as $16 or $17 dollars, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed said.
The oil is produced in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah and then moved into Turkey’s Mersin and Ceyhan ports through the small Iraqi border town of Zakho. From there, it is loaded unto tankers that take it to the occupying regime’s largest port of Ashdod.
British daily the Financial Times reported last August that Israel had obtained 75 percent of its oil supplies from the Iraqi Kurdistan, with more than a third of those exports going through the Ceyhan port.
Kurdistan leaders have been reluctant to engage in dialogue with Baghdad in order to resolve outstanding issues about oil flows out of the region.
In late February, Iraq’s Minister of Oil Thamer al-Ghadhban said the central government had yet to receive its share of oil produced from Kurdistan fields.
“Iraq’s State Organization for Marketing of Oil (SOMO) has not yet received its 250,000 barrels share of crude oil from Kurdistan oil fields in the framework of Iraq’s 2019 federal budget,” Ghadhban told state media al-Iraqiyah.
It was reported in November that both sides were close to securing a deal to restart oil exports from the disputed territory of Kirkuk as a result of U.S. pressure to ramp up production after imposing sanctions on Iran’s oil industry.
U.S. President Donald Trump has pledged to drive down Iran’s oil exports to “zero” and the Baghdad-Kurdistan deal would purportedly add up to 400,000 of barrels of oil a day to international supplies in order to ease price rises after possible drop in Iranian sales.
The Kurdish oil trade with the Zionist regime runs against Iraqi laws that have declared any ties or contributions to the regime as punishable by death.
An unnamed Iraqi official told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that various political factions had asked Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to discuss the issue with Kurdish officials and find a way to end the oil smuggling business.
Iraqi lawmakers are angry over reports about Kurdistan region’s rising oil exports to the Israeli-occupied territories.