Iraq’s Oil Minister Nominee Withdraws, Citing Kurdish Party Objections

Geologist Was Seen as Key to Placating Kurds

Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder Abadi’s proposed cabinet isn’t off to a particularly auspicious start, as his Oil Ministry nominee, Nizar Saleem Numaan, has already withdrawn his candidacy from the post, citing the lack of support from the Kurdish ruling parties.

Numaan, a Kurdish geologist, was seen as a key technocrat nominee, and one that would end years of conflict with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over oil revenue sharing. He was seen as mostly apolitical, and a break from corrupt predecessors.

The problem is, he apparently doesn’t want the job, and KRG parties are complaining they had no input at all on Abadi’s cabinet nominees, with former Iraqi FM Hoshyar Zebari, a top Kurdish official, saying the KRG won’t allow Abadi to impose a cabinet on them.

Abadi likely didn’t have the option of waiting for more input from the Kurds, however, as he was facing a three-day ultimatum to announce a cabinet, and just barely met the deadline as it was. If this cabinet fails, it likely will take Abadi with it.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of