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Budget talks in Baghdad are going down to the wire over the thorny issue of allocations to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The negotiations are the latest manifestation of a long-running dispute between Iraq’s centre and its periphery that has proved stubbornly immune to resolution since the late Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime was ousted in 2003. There is added friction in the Baghdad-Erbil standoff, with Iraqi Shia parties increasingly vexed at what they view as a resurgence of Kurdish independence hopes.