BAGHDAD, March 7 The Iraqi parliament passed the
country's 2013 budget on Thursday despite a boycott by Kurdish
members in protest at the amount allotted to pay oil companies
operating in the autonomous north, lawmakers said.
Iraq's cabinet approved the $118.6 billion budget in
October, but infighting between Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish
factions repeatedly scuttled attempts by lawmakers to pass the
draft legislation in parliament.
Kurdish lawmakers boycotted the vote on Thursday, but 168
lawmakers were present, ensuring the budget was passed,
according to a statement released by the parliament. A quorum is
"We didn't attend the meeting," said Kurdish MP Rawaz
Khoshnaw. "None of our demands were included in the budget."
"This is a very dangerous and alarming sign of what's coming
The standoff over the budget opened a new front in a
long-running feud between the central government and Iraq's
Kurdistan region, which in recent years has signed contracts on
its own terms with international oil companies.
Kurdistan says it is owed more than 4 trillion Iraqi dinars,
or $3.5 billion to cover the costs accumulated by oil companies
operating there over the past three years, but Baghdad rejects
those contracts as illegal.
The 2013 budget allocates 750 billion Iraqi dinars ($644.33
million) for oil companies operating in the northern Kurdish