Iraq Wants Obama to Stop Kurd Oil Deal with ExxonMobil

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(BAGHDAD) -- Iraq is asking the U.S. for help again but it has nothing to do with providing military assistance.

Instead, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki wants President Obama to step in and block a deal between ExxonMobil and Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

The Iraqi leader maintains that such an arrangement violates the law since all oil contracts are supposed to go through Baghdad first.

What has got Baghdad upset is that the deal gives ExxonMobil exploration rights in six areas, including two in regions that are claimed by both the central government and the Kurds.

A spokesman for al-Maliki said this agreement represents "a very dangerous initiative that may lead to the outbreak of wars," which could spoil any chance at achieving national unity.

As a result, the prime minister "sent a message to American President Barak Obama last week urging him to intervene to prevent ExxonMobil from going in this direction."

The White House so far has not publicly responded to al-Maliki's request.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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