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Iraqi draft oil law gives central government revenue control

[JURIST] An Iraqi cabinet-level committee proposed a draft law Friday that would allow the national government in Iraq [JURIST news archive] to control oil revenues. Negotiations concerning the draft law have been a source of tension [JURIST report] in Iraq for months as most Kurds and many Shiites want to retain control of the country's oil resources [Global Policy backgrounder]. On the other hand, Sunni Arabs, who do not dominate the oil-rich regions of the country, insist on central oversight.

Recent debate has centered on the establishment of a federal committee, called the Federal Oil and Gas Council, to review oil contracts. Kurds did not want to give the committee the power to "approve" contracts, so the draft law instead allows regions to initiate and guide the process of awarding oil contracts and gives the committee the power to review and reject contracts. The Iraqi cabinet and the country's parliament [official website, in English] must approve the draft before it becomes law. If the draft passes, enforcement might prove difficult in Iraq's wartime environment. The New York Times has more.

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