Observers have warned against the ongoing security failure against Iran-backed militias, which loot and smuggle the oil from all the oilfields in Iraq.
The scandal of smuggling at least 100 tankers daily from Mosul from around 72 oilfields in Qayyara region turns the country to a wide area for smuggling, they added, stressing that fighting corruption starts from the confrontation of oil-smuggling groups.
According to several reports, pressures from political authorities make the smuggling issue mysterious. Despite the fact that several statements denied the smuggling, strong evidence, supported by videos, confirmed the smuggling either through pipelines or tankers.
Representatives of Nineveh province, including MP Ahmed al-Jubouri, said the oil smuggling from wells in Nineveh is ongoing under supervision of influential authorities. Meanwhile, Osama al-Nujeifi, head of the Qarar (Decision) Alliance, said in remarks that “Security troops sent military troops to stop the smuggling, but armed groups were controlling the wells and prevented the troops.”
Jubouri was the first one who referred in January that “more than 72 oilfields in Qayyara, south of Mosul, were smuggled by ISIS. However, the smuggling continued by armed groups that steal around 100 tankers of crude oil daily.”
Jubouri confirmed the smuggling, however, he refused to go in further details or reveal about the involved authorities. “Parliament tasked me with presiding over the fact-checking committee regarding smuggling operations in Mosul. Parliament ordered committee members to suspend media statements until the report is drafted,” he said.
Moreover, a report by Al-Monitor said that MP Ghalib Mohamed revealed in a letter to the parliament speaker, prime minister and the intelligence service that he possesses “visual proof exposing the oil smuggling operations to Turkey through a secondary pipeline connected to the main one.”
The remarks by Mohamed Ibrahim, head of the security committee in Nineveh provincial council, seems out of context, as he said “the investigation committee, formed by the security committee, questioned the supervisors of the oilfields, who denied smuggling.”
Victory Alliance party member Ali al-Suneid was not amazed by the denial of some parties. “The most dangerous problem facing attempts to halt the smuggling operations is that the armed groups and political parties implicated deny these accusations,” he said. He also accused “political blocs, families and armed groups affiliated with powerful parties of stealing oil.”
Suneid considered that the "Powerful armed groups in oil regions are stronger than the power of the law, and they smuggle oil to Turkey and Iran through various outlets, mainly the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, and using tankers or pipelines"
Smuggling of the Iraqi oil is not recent. It has been ongoing in the south and north over the past years.
Former head of parliament's Security and Defense Committee and a leader in the Sadrist movement, Hakim al-Zamili said “There is a form of systematic smuggling of oil and its derivatives among Iraqi provinces and outside the country. Some political parties are covering up the operations because they are benefiting. Besides, security authorities guarding the oil areas are implicated in the smuggling.”
Regarding the regions, where smuggling takes place, Zamili indicated to areas in Basra and al-Amara, south of Iraq, in addition to areas in the north like Qayyarah in Mosul and Allas in Salahuddin.
MP Hassan al-Alou, representing Nineveh, revealed that “70 to 100 oil tankers are stolen daily from Qayyara fields in Mosul and smuggled to neighboring countries. Security and administrative forces are aware of that.” He referred that administrative forces support smugglers by securing the smuggling route ... with governmental vehicles to facilitate smugglers' passage.
Political observers noted that smuggling of oil from Mosul and elsewhere is a political scandal, stressing that the solution is to strengthen the security service to confront those smuggling groups.