Q&A: Ashti Hawrami Part 3

Kurdistan's top oil official makes the case for his region's right to export oil independently.
KRG Minister of Natural Resources Ashti Hawrami (R) at the opening of the first short-lived oil export start on July 18, 2009, with KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani (C) former US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad (L) (SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images)

ERBIL - Through contentions years of political conflict, perhaps the strongest link between the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region and the central government has been the budget – and that bond could soon break.

Following the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) April 1 shutoff of its oil exports, top Baghdad officials threatened to deduct lost revenue from the $10.5 billion that the region is supposed to receive from the federal treasury. Amidst such threats, KRG President Massoud Barzani has hinted that the region could declare independence.

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