Philippe Le Billon
Dr. Le Billon is a professor in the Department of Geography and the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia.
Oil wealth increases the risk of both authoritarianism and secessionist conflict.1 Iraq's 2005 federal constitution sought to address this dual risk by granting regions and provinces a high degree of autonomy and allocating oil revenues according to a mix of demographic and historical-grievances criteria.2 Reflecting a classic conundrum of federalism, the new constitution has both prevented and facilitated secessionism, in part because of an imprecise text allowing for multiple interpretations.3 Born mostly out of demands from Kurdish legislators, Iraqi federalism faced repeated setbacks, reaching a point of crisis in 2014 as a result of widespread grievances towards Nuri al-Maliki's Shiite-dominated regime in Baghdad, major tensions over the distribution of oil revenues, and resurgent Sunni militancy following U.S. military withdrawal. By July 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and associated Sunni insurgent groups had taken over much of western Iraq, enacting a de facto partition of the country by declaring the creation of an Islamic Caliphate.4 A breaking apart of Iraq seemed even more likely as the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) gained control of some of its disputed territories — including oil-rich Kirkuk — consolidated its own oil exports via Turkey, and considered a referendum for independence. By early 2015, the situation had returned to a "new normal": Shiite politicians still dominated federal institutions, and Shiite oil-rich governorates demanded more direct control over oil revenues; the prospect of an autonomous Sunni region under ISIS rule with limited access to oil revenues had become a reality; and the KRG had regained policy traction in Baghdad and continued to pursue self-sufficiency in oil revenues. Focusing on this latter point, this article outlines some of the oil-related consequences of federalism in Iraq for the Kurdistan region and discusses some of the risks of partition in light of South Sudan's experience with secession.
FEDERALISM IN IRAQ
The U.S. intervention in 2003 brought to an end the authoritarian rule of Saddam Hussein but further devastated and divided the country. The intervention dismantled much of an already weakened state apparatus, reshaped politics around ill-defined constitutional federalism, failed to provide a stable security environment, and pushed for a liberalization of the oil sector that antagonized most Iraqis.5 The effects of a decade of sanctions on production infrastructure, along with chronic attacks, legal uncertainties and widespread corruption, contributed to a slow recovery in oil production and grossly misspent revenues. Conflicting interpretations of constitutional arrangements and repeated failure to pass a new federal oil law resulted in tensions between the federal government and regional authorities — especially the KRG — and over the legality of contracts signed by international oil companies with either Kurdish or federal authorities.
Contestations over oil extend well beyond the role of foreign oil companies and whether the U.S. invasion was indeed an "oil grab."6 Iraq's vast oil wealth is unevenly distributed across its different regions, and as sectarian issues degenerated, so did the politics of revenue sharing. Geologically, Iraq's proven oil reserves are massive, with about 60 percent located in the southeastern and mostly Shiite areas and 17 percent in the borderlands of Iraqi Kurdistan in the northeast.7 Most of the production comes from super-giant fields in the Basra area in the south and Kirkuk in the north. Patterns of oil-revenue distribution prior to 2003 have also privileged some populations over others, notably in the capital city and Sunni areas in the center of the country, despite official constitutional arrangements seeking to maintain unity and centralization, including in the oil sector.
The federalism of the 2005 Constitution clearly opened the possibility of decentralization and even devolution by suggesting that undiscovered (or undeveloped) oil fields fell under the management of regional governments and perhaps even provinces. The joint management of "present oil fields" shared by federal and regional governments remains conditional upon the federal government's "distribut[ing] its revenues in a fair manner in proportion to the population distribution in all parts of the country," but also upon historical damages.8 Some Sunni groups have been concerned that such a system might evolve into a loose federation of oil-rich and oil-poor regions. This is a credible prospect, given the autonomy of the Kurdistan Region and attempts by the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) to form a Shiite region of nine provinces.9
In contrast to the rest of Iraq, the Kurdistan Region benefited a great deal from the 2003 U.S. invasion, further consolidating hard-won gains made after the 1991 Kurdish uprising.10 The KRG achieved some degree of economic independence by instituting its own oil laws in 2005 and attracting many international oil companies. Monetizing Kurdish oil production was proving difficult, however, as Baghdad sought to punish oil companies operating under KRG's oil law, barring them from operating in the rest of Iraq and refusing to export their production through SOMO (State Oil Marketing Organization).
The KRG responded by re-engineering and extending a pipeline to Turkey under its direct control and enticing Turkey's goodwill as a transit country through an energy partnership.11 Baghdad responded by suspending federal budget transfers to the KRG in early 2013. By the end of the year, the KRG could count on its own refurbished export pipeline to Turkey to monetize the growing volumes of oil produced by international companies operating within Kurdish territory without the approval of Baghdad. Despite repeated talks, the two parties failed to come to an agreement, forcing Erbil to borrow money and help oil buyers fight legal threats from Baghdad over the illegality of Kurdish oil shipments from Ceyhan.
The fall of Mosul to ISIS and Sunni militants on June 10, 2014, was not only a testimony to federal ineptitude and a deepening of sectarian tensions within Iraq. It also presented the KRG with a major opportunity to enlarge its territory and move towards independence. Within days, Peshmerga forces had taken control of Kirkuk and its giant oil field, as well as other major fields north of ISIS-controlled areas. Kurdish-controlled areas were enlarged by about 40 percent, with estimated oil reserves climbing from 42 billion to 65 billion barrels, the ninth-largest in the world.12
In early July, Iraqi Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani declared that the moment was ripe for Kurdish independence.13 Preparations for a referendum were initiated, and the capacity of the Kurdish export pipeline was doubled to 300,000 barrels per day, with plans to reach 500,000 by the end of the year. The United States remained opposed to independence, and its potential pressure was all the more effective given the KRG's need for air support as ISIS advanced towards Erbil. The KRG also faced growing financial stress in the absence of transfers and as Baghdad and the United States continued to try deterring potential buyers of Kurdish oil. Having already heavily borrowed, including $3 billion against future oil sales, the KRG saw its financial position worsen as oil prices declined. The threat of a referendum was also less necessary after Maliki had been ousted and senior positions given to Kurds, including that of finance minister.
In December 2014, the Iraqi government and the KRG signed a draft agreement allowing the KRG to export up to 550,000 barrels of oil per day through its own pipeline, including 300,000 barrels from the Kirkuk oilfields. The pact promised the KRG not only a 17 percent share of Iraq's net national revenue — based on the Kurdish share of the Iraqi population — but also salary payments for the Peshmerga as part of the sovereign expenses normally deducted from gross revenue (the other major deduction being fees for oil contractors).14 The draft agreement still has to be integrated into the 2015 Federal Budgetary Law and passed by the Iraqi parliament, where it is likely to face some opposition from Shiite parliamentarians seeking similar advantages for the oil-rich areas around Basra. The deal thus supposedly puts an end to a year-long crisis between Baghdad and Erbil by reinstituting the fiscal-transfer status quo while recognizing the de facto necessity of shipping oil through KRG-controlled pipelines — ISIS having destroyed or controlling parts of the near-derelict Iraqi part of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan line. Though many Kurds were relieved at the idea of renewed cash inflows, others considered the deal a poor bargain by the KRG, given past experiences of undersized transfers and a missed opportunity to move toward independence.
LEARNING FROM SOUTH SUDAN
The Kurdistan Region of Iraq is not the only oil-rich area to have contemplated the prospect of independence. Scotland's recent referendum may come to mind, but the case of South Sudan is probably more informative. The new Republic of South Sudan may seem a far cry from the Kurdish region and a sharp contrast with Erbil's preferred models of Dubai and Norway. Yet the two share important parallels. Both were integrated into Arab-dominated countries as a result of successive Ottoman and British imperialist projects. They experienced decades of oppression from authoritarian states dominated by relatively small minority groups — Nile riverain tribes in northern Sudan and Sunni Arab groups in central Iraq — that pursued coercive politics of Arabization. Both regions are also oil rich, Erbil far more so.15
Besides such parallels, South Sudan and the Kurdistan Region have also faced similar issues, including debates over federalism versus secessionism, recurrent factionalism, internecine conflicts and fiscal crisis related to oil independence. They both have also inherited a legacy of operating as resistance movements in which personal networks of allegiances were crucial, while a culture of transparency and accountability towards the public at large was not. As South Sudan sadly demonstrates, transition towards broad-based security and shared prosperity seems very arduous for a land-locked, oil-rich region seeking greater autonomy — not only because of external influences, including in the neighborhood, but also for domestic reasons.
Like the Kurds, the South Sudanese have been faced with a conundrum: seeking independence at the risk of retaliation by central authorities, or accepting a politics of accommodation leaving it at the mercy of central dictates or neglect.16 Parts of the South Sudanese elites — most notably the historic leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), the late John Garang — favored a united Sudan within a federalist framework that would apply to all Sudanese. Garang's critics pointed to the failures of past federalist attempts, often little more than poorly funded decentralization, and advocated instead for southern self-determination only, even if this meant leaving out neighboring provinces with "southern" populations. By the time of the referendum in 2011, an overwhelming 98 percent of the southern adult population cast their vote in favor of independence. The federalist debate, however, is being revived to apply within South Sudan itself as the country was again being torn apart by an internal civil war — including through the concept of "ethnic federalism."17
Most liberation movements have struggled with infighting, and Kurdish or South Sudanese political parties are no exception. Factionalism frequently occurred within the SPLM, with long and deadly periods of internal civil war occurring throughout the 1990s. Largely the result of elite competition denouncing John Garang's dominant role within a movement intolerant of political alternatives, contenders such as Riek Machar waged an ethnic war heavily financed by Khartoum. Despite elite accommodation in the form of a presidency for Garang's successor, Salva Kiir, and a vice-presidency for Riek Machar, similar dynamics continued to prevail after independence. Despite reforms, the guerrilla-turned-government army — the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) — still lacked "cohesion and central control," with recurring defections and many units identifying with particular commanders.18 The ultimate result was renewed civil war in December 2013.
Decades of hostilities and semi-clandestine existence generally leave their mark on political movements. The SPLM's mode of governance evolved out of a context of armed struggle characterized by predatory and clientelist practices. Political dominance and past sacrifices entrenched a sense of entitlement and impunity among a military elite that considered the victory for autonomy its own, and the dividends of peace its just rewards.19 While foreign aid continued to be generously granted to South Sudan, oil production of about 450,000 barrels per day in the context of high prices turned these dividends into a massive windfall. The South Sudanese population should have benefited from about $12 billion in oil revenues from 2005 to 2012, but besides a huge wage bill that had the advantage of at least spreading the wealth among the lower ranks of the government, there was relatively little to show for this unprecedented wealth. Unsurprisingly, the view that corruption was widespread and "out of control" was common, including among local media and donors. Such a view was reinforced in May 2012, when President Salva Kiir wrote to senior SPLM members, "We fought for freedom, justice and equality. Many of our friends died to achieve these objectives. Yet, once we got to power, we forgot what we fought for and began to enrich ourselves at the expense of our people." President Kiir then pleaded with these officials to return part of $4 billion he estimated had been embezzled, suggesting they send the money to a dedicated government bank account in Kenya.20
Securing access to the oil windfall required Khartoum's cooperation. Like the Kurdish region, South Sudan is oil-rich, but accessing this wealth has so far depended on the goodwill of northern Sudan, which controlled the oil-export infrastructure and refineries. Having concluded a comprehensive peace agreement including wealth sharing with Khartoum in 2005, and a six-year transition process concluded by a referendum in favor of independence, the SPLM faced a major challenge: managing a country where approximately 70 percent of proven oil reserves lay in its territory, but nearly all transportation and refining infrastructure remained in the north. Cooperation between Juba and Khartoum was necessary for either party to collect much-needed oil revenues.
Yet, on January 23, 2012, a short six months after southern independence, the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) declared the suspension of oil production, due to conflicts with the government of Sudan (GoS) over transit fees for the use of the northern oil pipelines. This suspension appeared to be broadly supported by the South Sudanese population, who denounced Sudan's "theft" of southern oil. Yet the decision shocked the international community, given Juba's reliance on oil exports for 98 percent of its fiscal revenues. In parallel to negotiations with Khartoum, the GoSS pursued alternative pipeline plans with its eager East African neighbors, plans that would come at an estimated cost of $ 3.5 to $6 billion.
Oil only started to slowly flow again in April 2013, with Khartoum continuing to threaten a shutdown, should Juba continue its alleged support for rebels in the North. Following months of financial strain and mutual accusations of corruption and authoritarianism, South Sudan's vice-president, Riek Machar, openly challenged the leadership of President Salva Kiir, who dismissed him in July, along with the entire cabinet and the secretary-general of the SPLM. The political struggle finally took a violent turn five months later, when on December 15 presidential guards loyal to Machar reportedly refused to disarm on Kirr's orders. The ensuing rampage, including in the capital city, left more than 10,000 people dead and a million displaced, with both sides buying off the support of local militias and mobilizing ethnic sentiments. While President Salva Kiir has control of the major cities, in part through the support of Ugandan troops, hostilities continue, especially in the oil-rich north.
Several things went wrong in South Sudan. First, the elites took a major risk by declaring political independence without a clear and enforceable revenue-sharing agreement with Khartoum or an alternative export-pipeline route.21 While many observers assumed that mutual dependence on north-south infrastructure would help consolidate peace between the two countries, it also offered a dangerous financial lever in bilateral power politics.
Second, a few key South Sudanese leaders decided to shut down oil production and exports on the false premise that Juba had sufficient financial reserves to wait for the regime in Khartoum to fall or become more compliant. None of this occurred. Instead, President Kiir ended up accepting a deal slightly worse than the initial offer. The oil dispute, production shutdown, ensuing cash-flow strains and disappointing final agreement aggravated tensions within the SPLM and deepened the divide between Kiir and Machar's supporters.
Third, South Sudanese governance continued to rest on a corrupt and militarized system of patronage articulated around competing elites and sectarian divides. Rather than genuinely pursuing reform towards greater public integrity, most anti-corruption measures were adopted in form only — to placate the demands of international donors while maintaining nepotistic and corrupt practices. In light of the $12 billion in oil revenue accrued by the SPLM between 2005 and 2012, the international community should have pursued much stronger fiscal oversight, as in East Timor and Liberia, to manage the massive oil rents flowing into South Sudan's fledgling state apparatus.22 The application of this model was unlikely, however. Both Khartoum and Juba agreed on retaining maximum control of the oil rents; the large size of these rents diminished the leverage of aid donors; and the UN Mission in South Sudan — established only in 2011 — did not benefit from a transitional-authority mandate. Khartoum did not want to see any further foreign interference after suffering years of U.S. economic sanctions and reluctantly accepting the African Union-UN Hybrid Mission in Darfur. Elites within the SPLM meanwhile looked after their own self-interest and sought to secure South Sudan's independence by outbidding Khartoum to financially buy off the allegiance of the many southern militias, a strategy that necessitated a "free hand" in the allocation of public revenues.
The South Sudan civil war demonstrates the risk of independence handled by an ill-prepared and oil-dependent kleptocracy with a history of internecine conflicts. Clear priorities should have included greater public integrity, a secure monetization of oil assets, and an open and inclusive political arena reinforcing national unity and government legitimacy. So far, the KRG has fared much better than the SPLM, but questions remain as to its future trajectory.
To start, and in contrast to the SPLM, the KRG has taken more carefully calculated risks to secure its autonomy and has better managed its relationship with its erstwhile enemy. First, Erbil sought out a federalist compromise with Baghdad, rather than a scheduled referendum towards independence. It did so out of pragmatism. More could be gained from federal oil-revenue transfers than the development of its own reserves, at least initially; a pivotal role for the Kurds could be achieved between Sunni and Shiite political groups; and its immediate neighbors were opposed to outright independence. The United States — Erbil's main backer and a federal country — also opposed Kurdish independence as it pursued paradoxical policies of Iraqi territorial integrity (including to continue isolating Iran) while in practice deepening sectarianism.23 Federalism thus seemed most appropriate, even if independence was a broadly shared aspiration among Kurds. The relative failure of federalism, resulting in part from U.S. backing of Maliki despite his sectarian authoritarianism, gave greater legitimacy to secessionist causes among many Sunnis, Kurds and even some Shiite groups.24 This has motivated zero-sum strategies for all parties, including the violent pursuit of territorial gains and ethnic segregation.25 It also has given more weight and urgency to compromise solutions as suggested by the recent and still unstable agreements between Erbil and Baghdad.
Second, Erbil secured its own pipeline to Turkey and established a working relationship with Ankara that secures an outlet for its oil. If this move initially enraged Baghdad, it afforded Erbil a much stronger negotiating position. The alternative pipeline route later proved to be mutually beneficial for these three parties when ISIS took control of some of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline. Yet the stakes are now higher for Baghdad if its revenue agreement with Erbil falls through, and the KRG starts directly selling Kirkuk's oil, for lack of transfer payments from the Federal budget. Durably resolving land and oil rights over disputed territories remains an imperative if future tensions are to be avoided.
Third, Kurdish parties were also able to allow for some political diversity through competitive elections while maintaining unity in their stand towards Baghdad. Yet both analysts and official commissions have repeatedly pointed at governance shortcomings, including continued divisions between the KDP and the PUK that have delayed reforms, politicized public institutions and recruitment, and entrenched patterns of nepotism and corruption.26 The rise of a progressive splinter of the PUK (the Movement for Change, Gorran) represented a significant political opening up. Yet the two traditional parties saw the conflict with ISIS as an opportunity to increase their political legitimacy — especially the PUK, which boasted about the greater strength of Peshmerga units under its command.27 The KRG made some steps toward greater transparency and integrity, including in the opaque oil sector, but much public frustration remains with the resultant inequalities and stifled potential of the nation.28 Greater integrity is crucial for state legitimacy and the management of internal tensions within constitutional politics. It is also important to move away from a rentier economy based on wage payments and exposed to volatile oil prices, to one based on a diversified economy and a broader tax base.
The KRG has so far made calculated moves that have served it well. The KRG has extended its access to oil reserves and is working on increasing its pipeline capacity in order to achieve financial self-sufficiency. After Maliki's dismissal and months of negotiations with Baghdad, Iraqi federalism thus seemed, from a Kurdish perspective, to be back on track. Yet rising security costs and declining oil prices may entice both the Kurds and the Shiites to focus on a secure homeland rather than a joint reconquest of the western provinces. Much thus depends on the military resilience of ISIS and insurgent Sunni groups, on oil-price trends, and on the attitude of the United States, Turkey and the Persian Gulf countries, including Iran. Should ISIS collapse following a ground offensive, Iraqi federalism will likely be reinvigorated to assuage regional historical grievances and fulfill aspirations through greater autonomy. Should ISIS prove resilient in the context of international disengagement and lower oil prices, Iraq is likely to further break apart, at least de facto. Then both Kurdish and Shiite regions would control much of their own oil revenue, with little reaching the central provinces, not to mention the ISIS-controlled areas.
The future of Iraq does not simply depend on the sharing of oil revenues among its provinces. These revenues also have to reach the population to become the meaningful bond that links diverse populations to the state. Maliki's rule was criticized for both its sectarianism and its high level of corruption.29 Protests against his regime mostly took place in disenfranchised Sunni areas, but the broad message was often about corruption and nepotism, rather than purely sectarian political marginalization. Many voices among Shiites, including within the federal government, similarly condemned the corruption of the regime. ISIS capitalized on these frustrations and received part of its support through a discourse of public integrity and purity that would distinguish the Islamic State from what it portrays as the corrupt regimes of the region. Maliki's demotion from prime minister to vice-president in August 2014 has been presented as a major turn toward a more inclusive Iraq, though his impunity reinforced views that little would be done against corruption in the face of much-needed "national unity." One must hope that Iraqis will find a way for oil to support an inclusive form of federalism, rather than fueling corruption and sectarianism.
1 Michael Ross, The Oil Curse: How Petroleum Wealth Shapes the Development of Nations (Princeton University Press, 2012); Philippe Le Billon, Wars of Plunders: Conflicts, Profits and the Politics of Resources (Oxford University Press, 2013); Tim C. Wegenast and Matthias Basedau, "Ethnic Fractionalization, Natural Resources and Armed Conflict," Conflict Management and Peace Science 31, no. 4 (2014): 432-457.
2 In contrast to Iraq's 1970 Interim Constitution of 1970, which mandated unity and centralization, Iraq consists of 18 provinces (or governorates) that can request to become part of a "region." The Kurdistan Region is the only region explicitly recognized in the 2005 Constitution. Former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki resisted the creation of regions, stating that "a measure of such type shall lead towards secession and civil war, exposing Iraq's unity for danger." Cited in Ahmed Hussein, "Formation of Regions, constitutional," IraqNews.com, July 10, 2011.
3 Lawrence M. Anderson, "Theorizing Federalism in Iraq," Regional and Federal Studies 17, no. 2 (2007): 159-171; on the case of oil, see M. Al Moumin, "The Legal Framework for Managing Oil in Post-Conflict Iraq: A Pattern of Abuse and Violence over Natural Resources," in High-Value Natural Resources and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, P. Lujala and S. A. Rustad (Earthscan, 2012): 413-435.
4 On the rise of ISIS, see Ahmed S. Hashim, "The Islamic State: From al-Qaeda Affiliate to Caliphate," Middle East Policy 21, no. 4 (2014).
5 Greg Muttit, Fuel on Fire: Oil and Politics in Occupied Iraq (Bodley Head, 2011); and Charles Tripp, A History of Iraq (3rd ed.) (Cambridge University Press, 2007).
6 Philippe Le Billon and Fouad El Khatib, "From Free Oil to 'Freedom Oil': Terrorism, War and U.S. Geopolitics in the Persian Gulf," Geopolitics 9, no. 1 (2004): 109-137.
7Iraq Analysis Brief, Energy Information Agency, April 2013.
8 Article 115 reinforced devolution claims by stating that "priority shall be given to the law of the regions and governorates not organized in a region in case of dispute."
9 S. Kane, "Iraq's Oil Politics. Where Agreement Might be Found," Peaceworks, no. 64 (USIP, 2010); F. Haddad, Sectarianism in Iraq: Antagonistic Visions of Unity (Columbia University Press, 2011).
10 The Kurdish uprising was successful for the first couple of weeks, but the United States dropped the Kurds as allies, leaving them vulnerable for Saddam's revenge. Faled Abd al-Jabbar, "Why the Uprising Failed," Middle East Report 175 (1992): 2-14. Operation Provide Comfort and imposition of 'no-fly zone' afforded some protection and helped Kurdish forces to establish de facto autonomous zones.
11 Till F. Paasche and Howri Mansurbeg, "Kurdistan Regional Government–Turkish Energy Relations: A Complex Partnership," Eurasian Geography and Economics 55, no. 2 (2014): 111-132.
12 "Iraqi Kurds Prepared for ISIS Offensive for a Year and Expanded Their Territory by 40% in Hours," Reuters, June 13, 2014.
13 Scott Lucas, "Iraq Interview: Barzani's Push for Kurdish Independence — 'It is Our Natural Right,'" VOA, July 3, 2014; and Alexander Whitcomb, "President Barzani Asks Parliament to Proceed With Independence Vote," Rudaw, July 3, 2014.
14 PM Barzani: "We Have Set a Strategy. It's Time to Open a New Page and Move Past the Language of Threats," KRG.org, December 3, 2014; and Michael Knights, "Making the Iraqi Revenue-Generating Deal Work," Washington Institute for Near East Policy PolicyWatch 2341, December 3, 2014.
15 Brendan O'Leary, "The Federalization of Iraq and the Break-up of Sudan," Government and Opposition 47, no. 4 (2012): 481–516. For parallels with Nigeria, see Adam M. Smith, "Fractured Federalism: Nigeria's Lessons for Today's Nation Builders in Iraq," The Round Table: Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs 94, no. 378 (2005): 129-144.
16 Douglas H. Johnson, "Federalism in the History of South Sudanese Political Thought," Research Paper 1, Rift Valley Institute, 2014.
17 "South Sudan Academics Call for Free Debate on Federalism," Sudan Tribune, August 31, 2014.
18 Oystein H. Rolandsen, "Another Civil War in South Sudan: The Failure of Guerrilla Government?" Journal of Eastern African Studies 9, no. 1 (2015): 163-174.
19 Clemence Pinaud, "South Sudan: Civil War, Predation and the Making of a Military Aristocracy," African Affairs 113, no. 145 (2014): 192-211.
20 Paanluel Wel, "Letter from President Kiir on Corruption: $4 Billion Dollars Stolen; Only $60 Million Recovered," June 1, 2012.
21 Securing alternative export pipeline routes in advance of independence would have been very difficult given the massive costs involved, but at least a refinery would have enabled Juba to access refined product markets in these neighboring countries. Among the various options, the South Sudan/Uganda/Kenya pipeline is more likely to be constructed as part of the $25 billion Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) project. "World Bank Pledges $600 Million to Fund Uganda-Kenya Oil Pipeline," Platts, October 27, 2014.
22 Philippe Le Billon, "Resources for Peace? Managing Revenues from Extractive Industries in Post-conflict Environments," PERI Working Paper Series 167 (Amherst University, 2008).
23 U.S. fears of Iraqi rapprochement with Iran still prevailed. Rochelle Davis, "Culture as a Weapon System," Middle East Report 225 (Summer 2010): 8-13.
24 David Romano, "Iraq's Descent into Civil War: A Constitutional Explanation," Middle East Journal 68, no. 4 (Autumn 2014): 547-566. A 2012 public-opinion poll in the Kurdistan region found 60 percent of respondents supported independence. http://www.ekurd.net/mismas/articles/misc2012/9/state6519.htm accessed 1 February 2015.
25 Nils B. Weidmann and Idean Salehyan, "Violence and Ethnic Segregation: A Computational Model Applied to Baghdad," International Studies Quarterly 57, no. 1 (2013): 52-64.
26 Kamal Said Qadir, "Iraqi Kurdistan's Downward Spiral," Middle East Quarterly 14, no. 3 (2007): 19-26; Denise Natali, The Kurdish Quasi-State: Development and Dependency in Post- Gulf War Iraq (Syracuse University Press, 2010); Michael Gunter, "Economic Opportunities in Iraqi Kurdistan," Middle East Policy 18, no. 2 (2011): 102–109; and "Kurdistan Region Reform Commission Announces Progress Report," Kurdish Globe, March 14, 2012.
27 Ranj Alaaldin, "A Dangerous Rivalry for the Kurds," New York Times, December 16, 2014.
28 Sharmila Devi, "Kurdish Anti-Corruption Lawmaker Pushed for Greater Transparency in Oil Sector," Rudaw, November 13, 2014.
29 Toby Dodge, "State and Society in Iraq Ten Years after Regime Change: The Rise of a New Authoritarianism," International Affairs 89, no. 2 (2013): 241–257.