Top NeoCon Richard Perle Seeks Oil Deal With Iraqi Kurds

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Richard Perle has almost always gone along with the Bush administration’s policies.

But now the longtime neoconservative policy wonk is trying to get in on an oil-drilling deal with Iraqi Kurds despite the administration’s public opposition to such deals there.

Perle, one of the most influential proponents of 2003 invasion of Iraq, is in talks to join a consortium of investors with the Kurdish Regional Government, today’s Wall Street Journal reports.

The Bush administration has publicly discouraged energy firms from making unilateral deals with Iraqi Kurds until after Iraq’s federal government in Baghdad agrees to a law for sharing future revenues. Disagreements over oil money have inflamed sectarian tensions in Iraq and undermined political unity.

But investigators are looking into whether the Bush administration privately gave the go-ahead to energy firms seeking the lucrative deals with the Kurds.

The Journal reports that Perle is talking with a Turkish firm, AK Group International, and also a representative from the government of Kazakhstan. They are targeting the co-called “K18 concession” which is near the city of Erbil and is estimated to hold 150 million or more barrels of oil.

Houston-based Endeavour International would conduct the exploration and drilling, according to the Journal.

During the run-up to the Iraq war, Perle was chairman of the Defense Policy Board, which advises the Pentagon. He is currently a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank in Washington.