Iraq rift between Kurds, Baghdad heats up over oilfield takeover
Kurdish forces seized control of Iraq's northern oilfields Friday as tensions continue to increase between Irbil and Baghdad, according to Agence France Presse.
"Members of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Kirkuk Oil Protection Forces moved to secure the oilfields of Bai Hassan and the Makhmour area," the KRG said in a statement.
"Production at the new fields under KRG control will be used primarily to fill the shortage of refined products in the domestic market, and [staff from the federal North Oil Company can either cooperate with new management or leave]," the statement added.
Baghdad's federal oil ministry has denounced the takeover, and warned KRG "of the danger of this irresponsible behavior which violated the constitution and national wealth, and disregards the federal authorities and threatens national unity," according to the AFP report.
This latest oilfield dispute represents the latest of many disputes between Baghdad and Irbil, with tensions particularly on edge in recent days after the KRG declared that it would hold an independence referendum despite disapproval from Baghdad.
Maliki also accused Irbil of housing jihadists to launch an offensive on Iraq this week, to which the KRG called the Iraq PM as "hysterical" and not fit to run the country.
Lawmakers are set to meet this Sunday in an effort to form a new government as turmoil and chaos continues to envelope the country. However, Kurdish PMs have said that they will boycott all government business going forward and will only attend parliament sessions.