US subtly warns Iraq after ban on Iraqi Kurdistan oil, gas exports
US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs warns that the ban will lead to economic repercussions in Iraq that will drive US businesses out of the country.
Following the ban on oil and gas exports of Iraq's Kurdistan region, which was ordered on February 15 by the Iraq Supreme Court after it invalidated previous arrangements for the export of oil and gas of the region, US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf warned that economic repercussions might follow the decision due to the risk of US firms leaving the country and affect Iraq's business environment.
In a press conference, Leaf said that "Washington is quite concerned that rushing forward and implementing this decision [on oil and gas exports ban] risks driving US firms out of Iraq, other firms out of Iraq, which would be a terrible vote of no confidence in the business environment in Iraq and, frankly, could produce wider economic repercussions well beyond the Kurdish region of Iraq."
In a visit to Iraq last September, the US senior official told political leaders in Iraq and Iraq's Kurdistan region that "an emerging economic crisis was going to overlay what was already a very serious political crisis," adding that the US considers that a new hydrocarbon law must be put in place and that step was long overdue and suggesting that the political leaders of both sides discuss the matter.
It's noteworthy that Leaf made a number of visits in early September that covered "Israel", the West Bank, Jordan, and Tunisia to discuss US interests in the region.