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Iraqi Kurdistan: Irbil navigates the complexities of Kurdish regional politics

Disagreements between the autonomous Kurdish Region of Iraq (KRI) and the federal Iraqi government in Baghdad have been a source of major tensions. The 2005 constitution gave the KRI an identity distinct from Iraq, as a federal entity recognised by Iraq and the United Nations; the 2010 Erbil agreement outlined how power would be shared. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has long protested these agreements’ lack of implementation. Oil has been central to disputes: Baghdad was furious that Erbil signed production-sharing agreements unilaterally with international oil companies (IOCs) and opposed the KRG’s efforts to export oil without passing through the central State Marketing Organisation (Somo).

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