The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Tag: Kurds

Is There Going to Be an Iraqi-Kurdish War?

Peshmerga Flag

Iraqi Kurds voted in a referendum for independence from Iraq. Iraqi forces are now poised near Kirkuk, in position to attack, though the Iraqi PM claims they will not do so.

Kirkuk oil field was seized by the Kurds in 2014, and it produces more than half of Iraq’s oil.

Neither Iran nor Turkey want an independent Kurdish state. (This is a violent understatement, especially with regards to Turkey.)

Since Kurdistan has no sea border, Iraq and Turkey control its access to world markets, and the Iraqi government has been closing its exports, restricting its sales of oil.

And the Kurds have just moved another 6,000 Peshmerga to Kirkuk.

The Kurds were treated very badly under Saddam, and haven’t been happy with the Iraqi government since then either. They have also been firm US allies, and they have quite a bit of support in Congress and the US military as a result.

Is this going to blow?

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I don’t know, but I do know that Iraq is not going to let Kurdistan go independent and take over half the oil with it, and I know that Kurdistan would need that oil to be viable. Kurdistan also needs to be able to get that oil to market, and has few friends in the region.

I don’t see how Kurdish independence works, and I say that as someone who has sympathy for their aspirations. If they weren’t landlocked…but they are. To remedy the landlocked situation, they could take land from Syria, Turkey, or both, something that is unlikely at best, because Turkey just isn’t going to allow it and has a large enough military to have a veto.

Not sure where this goes, or where it ends, but the bottom line is Iraq won’t voluntarily let Kurdistan leave with all that oil, and Kurdistan won’t voluntarily leave without it, and if Kurdistan insists on leaving, the issue will probably have to be settled violently.

That doesn’t seem to be a war that ends well for the Kurds, but perhaps I’m missing something. (Lord help them if they are counting on serious US support to even the odds.)

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It seems the Kurds had to retreat because they ran out of ammo

No, really.

Maybe instead of giving weapons and ammo and money to the Iraqi army so they can abandon it on the field to ISIS (now calling themselves the Islamic State), the US should be supplying the Kurds, who will actually fight.

Just a thought.

As for Iraq, the government policy of trying to fiscally strangle the Kurds is coming back to bite them,hard.  If they’d let the Kurds sell some oil, the Kurds might be holding ground.

I’m sure the supply situation will change. Once it does, there’ll be a real test of the Kurds ability to defeat ISIS.  They’ve taken two towns back with American air support, but they will have to do far more to defeat ISIS.

I suspect part of the problem here is that others who could help, like Iran, Syria, and Turkey are not doing so, since they all have Kurdish minorities and rather like the idea of Kurdistan being defeated and Kurds being slaughtered.

That’s a big mistake.  The Islamic State is far more dangerous to them than the Kurds ever were.

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