Basra Seeks Petrodollars

Iraq’s southern provinces are attempting, against long odds, to force Baghdad to pay them what they are “owed” under the “petrodollar” appropriations which have been incorporated into budgets and other laws in recent years. A new court ruling has just made the task more daunting.

On 23 November, Basra Provincial Chairman Sabah al-Bazuni declared that the province had sued the Finance Ministry over the petrodollar payments, claiming that Baghdad owed it ID16trn ($13.5bn) over the past three years – this is more than 15% of the 2017 budget’s full projected spend of $80bn.

The fight was always an uphill one, as Iraq’s judiciary does not confront the government on controversial issues. Even with the Baghdad-Erbil oil disputes, in which one side or the other must be in violation, there has never been a legal ruling. (CONTINUED - 388 WORDS)