Unsettling

Galbraith's Oil Windfall

Influential former American ambassador Peter W. Galbraith "stands to earn perhaps a hundred million or more dollars as a result of his closeness to the Kurds, his relations with a Norwegian oil company and constitutional provisions he helped the Kurds extract," according to The New York Times. Galbraith, who has been an important voice on Iraq and helped shape policies of Joe Biden and John Kerry, advised the Kurdish regional government during constitutional negotiations, the paper says. Galbraith helped negotiate provisions allowing the Kurds to control many of their own internal affairs, including the rights to almost all new oil finds in their territory. Last month, investigative journalists from the Norwegian paper Dagens Naeringsliv uncovered documents linking Galbraith to a Norwegian oil company doing major business in Iraq. Interviews by The New York Times, together with legal records, confirmed that Galbraith received an enormous stake in at least one of Kurdistan's oil fields in 2004. Months after he helped push through Kurdish constitutional provisions, drillers made a huge oil find in that field. Galbraith maintains that he did no wrong. He says he advised the Kurdish government as purely a private citizen at a time when he held no official position with the U.S. Kurdish officials confirm that they were aware of his relationship with the oil company during the negotiations.