As any lawyer knows, the law is not only illusive but transitory. To define it at one point-in-time is to attempt to put a living thing under the lens. This is particularly so with law in Iraq, a country not only in turmoil and transition, but in formation; a country poised between autarchy and democracy, between dictatorship and the rule of law. Despite the troop “surge,” sectarian violence continues and the viability of the Iraqi Central Government itself is not assured when U.S. troops finally depart. Some in government seek to right the wrongs to their brand of the faith over the last decades; others attempt to regain prewar dominance; yet another group seeks to establish an Iranian-style theocracy. Many want only to attain personal wealth in this turbulent era.
Into this maelstrom steps Professor Rex J. Zedalis to detail and discuss the developing oil and gas law of this troubled nation. Rather than decry or be intimidated by this volatile and transitory state of affairs, Zedalis has proceeded to outline the current state of the oil and gas law in Iraq and its various possible futures with a perceptiveness and thoroughness that is admirable if not astounding.
The author faces another unique challenge. For more than a year, the Iraqi framework oil and gas law, thought to be a hard-won consensus between factions, has languished unadopted, yet unrejected. The end of this legal purgatory into which this law was cast in February 2007 cannot be predicted.