Exxon deal stokes territorial disputes

ExxonMobil risks violent reprisals because its controversial deals with the Kurdistan region are inflaming Iraq's internal territorial disputes, according to Iraqi leaders.
An Iraqi soldier (right) and a Kurdish peshmerga fighter, belonging to a combined security force along with U.S. troops, chat inside a military camp in Mosul on Sept. 21, 2010. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

BAGHDAD - ExxonMobil's contracts in disputed territories are aggravating a tense eight-year standoff between Arabs and Kurds, and the company risks seizure of its equipment and attacks on its personnel if it begins work, according to senior members of the Iraqi government, members of Parliament from across the political spectrum, and leaders from Mosul and Kirkuk.

Exxon signed production sharing contracts on Oct. 18 with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for six exploration blocks, three of which - Bashiqa, Al-Qush, and Qara Hanjeer - overlap contested internal boundaries.

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