The oil deal between Baghdad and the Kurds is a bad sign for smugglers

December 2, 2014 3:01 PM

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Iraqi Kurdistan’s days of smuggling tanker-loads of oil off the Turkish coast and through shadowy middlemen are over—at least for now. It has finally signed a deal with Baghdad that allows its oil to be exported legally, a concession by the Kurds, who have long sought a separate state, that they were not quite ready for independence.

Today’s agreement, midwifed by a mutual decision to fight ISIL and save the state, allows the Kurds to ship a considerable volume—550,000 barrels a day—through a dedicated pipeline that they opened up in the beginning of the year to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. In exchange, Baghdad will resume paying...

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