Former US diplomat holds secret stake in Kurdish oil field

Former US diplomat holds secret stake in Kurdish oil field

It is widely known that the former US diplomat Peter Galbraith has been one of the most prominent figures in shaping the state structure of Iraq in the period after 2003, especially with his vocal advocacy of various forms of radical decentralisation and/or partition solutions for Iraq’s political problems that are reflected in his books and numerous articles in the New York Review of Books, especially in the period from 2004 to 2008. Until now, though, it has generally been assumed that Galbraith’s fervent pro-partition propaganda was rooted in an ideological belief in national self-determination and a principled view of radical federalism as the best option for Iraq’s Kurds. Many have highlighted Galbraith’s experience as a former US diplomat (especially in the Balkans in the 1990s) as key elements of his academic and policy-making credentials.

Today, however, it has emerged that the realities were probably rather different. For some time, Norway’s most respected financial newspaper, Dagens Næringsliv (DN), has been focusing on the operations of DNO, a small Norwegian private oil company in Kurdistan, especially reporting on unclear aspects concerning share ownership and its contractual partnerships related to the Tawke field in the Dahuk governorate. One particular goal has been to establish the identity of a hitherto unknown “third party” which participated with DNO in the initial production sharing agreement (PSA) for Tawke between 2004 and 2008, but was squeezed out when this deal was converted to a new contract in early 2008, prompting a huge financial claim of around 500 million US dollars against DNO which has yet to be settled. Today, DN claims to present proof that one of the two major “mystery stake-holders” involved in the claim was none other than Peter Galbraith, who allegedly held a five-percent share in the PSA for Tawke from June 2004 until 2008 through his Delaware-based company Porcupine. Galbraith’s partner was the Yemenite multi-millionaire Shahir Abd al-Haqq, whose identity was revealed by the same newspaper earlier this month. DN has published documents from Porcupine showing Galbraith’s personal signature, and today’s reports are complete with paparazzi photographs of Galbraith literally running away from reporters as they confront him in Bergen, where he is currently staying with his Norwegian wife. He refused to give any comment citing potential legal complications. [continued…]
(H/t to Helena Cobban.)

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3 thoughts on “Former US diplomat holds secret stake in Kurdish oil field

  1. Cal

    Isn’t it suspicious that these documents are leaked right after Galbraith makes trouble for the UN/US over the Afghanistan election? Not that I’m complaining. I’m all for thieves falling out.

  2. Paul Woodward

    I would be inclined to flip that around and say, isn’t it suspicious that Galbraith was drawing so much attention to himself just before this scandal was about to erupt? By choosing that very safe battleground (hardly anyone disputes the level of corruption in the Afghan elections) he positioned himself to now look like the victim of a personal attack.

    That would of course be an utterly desperate strategy, but then, anyone who has made a name for himself by taking on righteous causes is likely to feel desperate when he’s just about to be exposed as a greedy oil buccaneer!

  3. Kjetting

    Just to clarify. Dagens Næringliv have been on the DNO ball for a long time. The whole expose has lasted for a couple of weeks and there is no reason to think taht there is any linkage between the two incidents.

    If anything, Galbraith’s insistence on a high profile in Afghanistan has made him a houshold name in Norway and made it more interesting for DN to run with the case (their target audience now know the guy).

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