Analysis: Iraq’s arbitration win reshapes Baghdad-Erbil relationship

Key details of the landmark Iraq-Turkey arbitration ruling have big implications for the future of Baghdad-Erbil power dynamics and the KRG oil sector.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani (right) and KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani (left) speak at a ceremony for the signing of a framework deal to restart Iraq's northern exports in Baghdad on April 4, 2023. (Photo credit: Prime Minister's Office)

Iraq's arbitration victory against Turkey has fundamentally changed the power dynamics that enabled the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to build an independent oil sector.

Baghdad and Erbil have never come close to resolving the constitutional and policy debates over how Iraq's oil sector should be structured, but for nearly a decade the KRG was winning the argument that mattered most: the ability to establish facts on the ground to secure control over oil and revenue flows.

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