KurdishMedia.com - By Kamal Chomani27/07/2010
The oil tankers bring crude oil from Tawka oil fields in Zakho and Kalakchi areas in Erbil, a driver of one of the tanker told KurdishMedia.com in Haji Omaran, the main international border point between Iraqi Kurdistan and Islamic Republic of Iran, which is controlled by KDP, led by Barzani.
The driver was not prepare to reveal his name. when I asked him for the reason, he stated to KurdishMedia.com, on condition of anonymity, “We are told not to speak for any journalists.”
“We full the tankers in Tawka oil fields in Zakho, which some oil fields are situated. And also some of the others bring the crude oil from Kalakchi area and some other in Beji in the middle of Iraq.”
The driver underscored that the oil is crude and they transfer it to Iran and to ports in Bandar Abbas, a big Iranian harbor in the south west.
“We transfer the crude oil from Kurdish areas and middle of Iraq; we are more than 800 tankers. Some tankers are from Iran and Turkey as well. It is transport between Iraq and Iran by an ‘Iraqi company’, which owns by Iraqi and Kurdish officials. We are paid 1200 USD for a journey between Iraq and Iran.” said another driver who was an ethnic Arab from Mosul.
Hundreds of smuggled of crude oil tankers are seen in the Hamilton way from Erbil to Haji Omaran every day.
The drivers were very angry on the border point, as most times they have to wait more than a week till the Iranian authority in the Haji Omaran international border allow them to enter Iranian soil.
Haji Omaran is the only main international border which is a district of Erbil governorate, about 180 kilomiters northeast Erbil city. According to Kurdish officials in the border, every day more than 400 vehicles transfer goods from Iran to Iraqi Kurdistan markets. And about 300 people will come and go between Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan.
While the KRG denounced the smuggling of crude oil between Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran, but still hundreds of tankers transfering crude oil to Iran can be seen in Haji Omaran.
An eyewitness in Choman district only 10 kilometers away from Haji Omaran, told KurdishMedia.com that during his trip to Haji Oamaran, he saw many oil tankers on the move.
After the warning of the US forces in Iraq to KRG to stop oil smuggling to Iran as Iran is under the economic sanctions by US and majority of international community, some KRG officials stated that the smuggled oil is not crude oil. However, KurdishMedia.com found contrary from the information provided by the drivers that the oil is 100 percent crude.
“All tankers are full of crude oil; this smuggling is organised between the high officials; and that’s why no one can say a word. Nonetheless, we know it is an illegal smuggling and the money is going to the pockets of some Kurdish and Iraqi high ranking politicians and traders.” said a 29 driver, who did not wish to be named.
The oil smuggling by KDP and PUK estimated to be at millions of US dollars. The smuggling crude oil through Haji Omaran and Bashmakh border gates is in its third year, not a new business.
The smuggling also has an environmental impact. The people of Choman are continuously disturbed by the dust and noise of the tankers and, in recent months, the population announced that they demand for 5 percent of the ‘business’ to be deployed for environmental projects for of Haj Omaran border point, a demand that would not be granted under the current authorities.
KurdishMedia.com - By Kamal Chomani27/07/2010 00:00:00