A legal limbo between Baghdad and Arbil over a US-bound Kurdish oil vessel.
The Kurdish “United Kalavrvta” oil tanker with a million barrels of crude was cleared by the US coast guard last Sunday to unload off the coast of Galveston in Texas. This caused uproar in Baghdad which called for a US court order to seize the $100 million load. The US judge in the case, who issued the order, later stated that it could not be enforced due to a lack of jurisdiction. This came after the US State Department said earlier that it would not intervene to block the delivery of the controversial crude shipment. The Iraqi government had earlier threatened to sue any company trading illegally-offered Kurdish oil. Baghdad, which controls at least nine giant oilfields in Iraq, added that the buyers of such illegal sales will be blacklisted. This is while, the Kurds have stressed that their oil exports are legal and accused Baghdad of manipulating the constitution. Since May, the Kurdish Regional Government has shipped four million-barrel tankers of oil in defiance of Baghdad. In response to a question on whether or not the Kurdish oil sales, which do not go through the government in Baghdad, would be considered legal, the deputy spokesperson for the US Department of State dodged giving a direct answer by saying it is a policy issue and not a legal one! Now this position may put a strain on the relations between Baghdad and Washington.