Skip to comments.Kurds seize two oil fields, pull out of Iraqi government
Posted on 07/11/2014 11:21:42 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
If Nouri al-Maliki wanted to dissolve the Iraqi union purposefully, he could hardly be doing a better job. While Kurds fight ISIS in the north — and more effectively than Maliki’s politically purged army has — Maliki accused them of being in league with the extremists even as Kurds mull over whether to just go on their own. Now they want Maliki out, or they’ll be leaving for good:
Iraq’s Kurds said Thursday Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was “hysterical” and not fit to run the country, further dimming the prospect of a new leadership uniting to face jihadist fighters.
The worsening political discord comes three days ahead of a planned parliamentary session meant to revive the process of replacing what has effectively been a caretaker government since April elections.
Maliki “has become hysterical and has lost his balance”, a statement from the office of Kurdish regional president Massud Barzani said, reacting to accusations by the prime minister a day earlier that his administration was harbouring militants.
The Kurdish delegation in Iraq’s parliament has walked out, as have Kurdish ministers in Maliki’s government. That prompted Maliki to retaliate, albeit impotently:
A dispute between Iraq’s Shiite-led central government and the semi-autonomous Kurdish region is boiling over, as Kurdish ministers withdrew from all cabinet meetings. In response, Baghdad is reportedly halting some cargo flights between Kurdish cities.
The spat is playing out under the threat of the extremist Sunni group the Islamist State, which has taken over cities and territories in northern and western Iraq. …
The Kurdish part of Iraq is becoming ever more remote from the government in Baghdad. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki accused Kurds of sheltering terrorists and Saddam Hussein loyalists. In response, a Kurdish politician, Roz Nouri Shawesm, called Maliki hysterical and said he must step down.
“Kurdish ministers will no longer attend cabinet meetings. Kurdish fighters have taken advantage of the chaos engulfing Iraq to seize territory to which they have long laid claim, including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
For one, Kurds have their own independent lines of communication when it comes to air travel and cargo. They’ve been handling that themselves since the 1991 war, which gave them long-awaited autonomy from Saddam Hussein after decades of genocide and oppression. They can get their own supplies, and with their suddenly improved relations with Turkey, may have more robust options than Baghdad does on trade.
Plus, the Kurds have their own oil revenue — and they’ve added a couple of new fields to that stock today:
Iraqi Kurds have taken over two oil fields amid a growing dispute with the government in Baghdad, Iraqi and Kurdish sources say.
Kurdish peshmerga forces seized control of production facilities at the Bai Hassan and Kirkuk oil fields in the north of the country on Friday.
Maliki’s government demanded that the Peshmerga return the fields to Iraqi control, but the Kurds say Baghdad was about to “sabotage” the facilities:
In a statement on Friday, the Iraqi oil ministry condemned the seizure of oil refineries, adding that they expected Kurdish fighters to “support security forces in confronting terrorist groups rather than using the conditions to raid and occupy oil fields”.
Reuters news agency said a senior source within the Kurdistan Regional Government had confirmed the takeover.
The unnamed source said they had been “forced to act to protect Iraq’s infrastructure after learning of attempts by Iraq oil ministry officials to sabotage it”.
Global Post‘s Jean MacKenzie, writing at The Week, advises that the world should just let Iraq partition itself:
While the Iraqi army is much larger and better-equipped than ISIS and its affiliates, it has had limited success in dislodging the insurgents from other areas it has seized. Fallujah and Ramadi have been under ISIS control since January.
Steven Simon, a senior fellow at The Middle East Institute in Washington, DC, agrees that it may be too much to hope that ISIS can be defeated.
“ISIS is deeply rooted in western Iraq,” he said. “They also have safe havens on the other side of the rather blurred border [with Syria].”
The Kurds in the north, who have seized territory and become all but independent over the past two weeks, will not give up their gains, Mendelsohn insisted, and putting the country back together may be nearly impossible.
“We are looking at de facto partition,” said Mendelsohn.
Maliki had a chance to keep this from happening after the 2007 surge, and the US its chance to stick around and apply pressure to push Maliki in that direction. Those chances are gone now, and not even a US intervention in force is likely to revive them. Maliki’s actions in this crisis show that he has no interest in unity under a federalist, shared-power system, and as long as Maliki’s in charge the Kurds and the Sunnis will have no incentive to stick around. Get ready for the sectarian bloodbath to come, and the best the West will probably be able to do is to contain it to Iraq and Syria while promoting democracy in the new, independent Kurdistan.
A partition is the only way to solve this. The Kurds do not need the sunnis and shites.
The Kurds are the only worthy people in Iraq, aside from the Christians. Not only are the hard fighters with a passion for liberty, they are also amazingly pro-American. The only place our soldiers could walk around without body armor, and even weapons, and go out for a meal at a local restaurant, was with the Kurds, and every Kurd I have heard of over there have always thanked us.
“...the best the West will probably be able to do is to contain it to Iraq and Syria while promoting democracy in the new, independent Kurdistan.”
An independent Kurdistan... now THERE’S the horse to back... IF the US is smart enough to do it... But I am not optimistic!
Then I'm sure obammy will them brought down.
It seems that the Kurds got it right. My question would be Turkey. It seems that Turkey is okay for now with a stable Kurdistan on their border keeping the ISIS maniacs out. But what happens when the Kurds in Turkey want to leave and join Kurdistan?
I've been trying to learn the history I never learned well enough in college. Could it be that the way out of this mess is a very thorough realignment of the borders that were so badly messed up after WW1?
If I understand correctly, Al-Maliki is Obama’s hand-picked dude; even being in there without the approval of the Iraqi “Parliament.”
If so, the Kurds have a good point asking for an PM that is approved of by the representatives.
A US Army officer said some years back that the best choice for Iraq would be to let the Kurds run the show.
Are they still tied to communism?
There is a large Kurdish population around Nashville and they are the only Muslims I trust.
Even though we left them swinging in the wind. Twice now? Clinton and Obama
The Great Saladin of Crusades fame was a Kurd, they are his people. Their section of Iraq was the easiest assignment, so easy that US Army assigned a Nation Guard division to occupy the area.
They’ll need an air force if they’re going to stay free.
Realigning borders is always messy. Further study of the area shows that the place has been conquered and reconquered time and again in recorded history. It is such a mess that borders cannot and will not solve the myriad of problems there.
Once solution is to let them fight it out and the last man standing gets the dubious prize. And before he sits down to dinner, someone else will be challenging him for the prize.
The 3 way partition of Iraq looks great on paper to Westerners who see Kurds in the North, Sunnis in the middle, and Shi’ites in the South+Baghdad.
What could go wrong?!
...but that’s the worst of all worlds because that removes the incentive for the Kurds and Shi’ites to police the Sunnis in the middle...Sunnis who have no oil in the middle. Iraq’s oil is in the North and South.
Leaving the middle to the Sunnis creates a defacto Sunni caliphate. Terror central. With no oil.
What do you think the Sunnis are going to do...left alone from the influence of Baghdad?!
You just created ISIL’s dream state. Congrats! World terror just doubled because a 3 way partition looked good to stupid Westerners on paper.
For years I have had a lot of sympathy for the Kurds, at least in general. The Kurdish part of Iraq has apparently flourished in the last few decades.
At this point I almost feel like emulating the Kurds. After all we have a president who is has become hysterical and has lost his balance.
Let the Kurds have the oil fields and refinery rather than ISIS. They fight ISIS.
The southern Iraqi oilfields are too close to Kuwait and Saudi and I doubt that the US and Iran will allow ISIS to get a hold of them.
Is Islam better than communism?
Turkey (our NATO ally) and Iran will not allow an independent Kurdistan, nor give up territory to its nationalists, both have fought with Kurd groups for years and deem them “terrorists”
Kurdish self-determination as part of a loose “Iraq” federation - tolerated perhaps
independent nation - not
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