Dow Jones Newswires reports on a conference of prominent Iraqi parliamentarians, politicians, ex-ministers and oil technocrats in Amman yesterday, hosted by the Iraqi Centre for Strategic Studies. The conference urged the Iraqi parliament to reject Iraq’s controversial hydrocarbon law, fearing that the new legislation would further divide the country already witnessing civil strife.
Mohammed Bashar al-Faidhi, spokesman of the Association of Muslim’ Scholars said: “We call on members of the parliament to reject this law. This critical draft law would revive foreign companies’ control on Iraqi oil wealth that Iraq had gotten rid of years ago.” Faidhi said. Saleh al-Mutlak, head of the National Dialogue party said: “Iraqis are suspicious that if the law is passed at this critical time that Iraq is passing through, they would think it would be passed in order to serve the interest of foreign companies. This law would also further divide the Iraqi people because most of them would oppose it.” Issam al-Chalabi, former Iraqi oil minister during the government of Saddam Hussein, criticized the draft oil law, saying prominent Iraqi oil experts weren’t allowed to take part in discussions of the legislation and that it wasn’t published in the media in order that the Iraqi people could see it, he said “Enough time should be given to draft the law before submitting it to the parliament for approval.” Mohammed al-Jobouri, trade minister during Allawi’s cabinet, said, “Iraq needs a hydrocarbon law, but the timing of the law isn’t suitable. There are some loops in the law that needs more discussions.” Other parties represented in the meeting were Allawi’s Iraqi List and the Iraqi Accord Front headed by Adnan al-Dulaimi. Neither the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance, the largest bloc in the parliament, nor the Kurdish Coalition attended.