Facing critical threats to oil independence, KRG leaders fail to unify

Violent political disputes bewteen Kurdistan's ruling parties are undermining their leverage in Baghdad at a pivotal time of government formation.
Bafel Talabani (left) and Massoud Barzani (right), the leaders of the PUK and KDP, respectively, meet in November 2021. (Photo credit: PUK media)

SULAIMANIYA - Escalating conflict between the Kurdistan region's two main political parties is undermining their ability to negotiate with Baghdad over existential threats to their oil sector.

The semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) depends on oil exports as its single largest source of revenue, averaging over $1.1 billion per month so far this year, yet the two ruling parties — the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) — are locked in bitter and increasingly violent disputes that prevent them from presenting the kind of unified front in Baghdad that would increase their negotiating power during a critical period of government formation.

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