October 16, 2017
Here is a map of Iraq:
Here is a map of what the Kurds think Kurdistan should be:
The basic situation here, for those who do not know, is that the Kurds used the ISIS crisis to grab territory in Iraq and Syria and claim that it is independent.
Obviously, Iraq’s position is that Iraqi border integrity is going to remain what it was before ISIS took over.
Presently, the only people who have declared support for Kurdish independence are the Israelis. Literally every other country – including Russia and the US and all players in the region – are against it.
The CIA was a big backer of the Kurds for the last 4 years, but Donald Trump has cut those programs, and said point blank that he doesn’t support independence.
Iraqi soldiers have raised their country’s flags over key buildings in Kirkuk, and Baghdad has declared the Kurdish city be under government control. The Kurdish Peshmerga forces called the takeover “a flagrant declaration of war” and vowed that Iraq will pay a “heavy price.”
The Iraqi government forces have taken full control of Kirkuk, Al Jazeera and Sky News Arabia report, citing the central government in Baghdad.
The Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s has ordered to raise the Iraqi flag over the city and other Kurdish-controlled areas.
The “attack” on Kurdish-controlled Kirkuk by Iraqi troops is “a flagrant declaration of war against the nation of Kurdistan,” the Peshmerga General Command said in a statement earlier, as cited by Rudaw.
The Peshmerga described Baghdad’s move as “retaliation against the right of the people to vote on their fate,” referring to last month’s referendum on Kurdistan’s independence, in which 92.7 percent voted to secede from Iraq.
Does a breakaway nation have a right to breakaway?
Question being: is this like Crimea, Catalonia or Kosovo?
The Monday developments reveal a split in Kurdish factions, as some of the militias were reported to leave Kirkuk without a fight amid reports of clashes between the Iraqi Army and the Peshmerga.
In a statement, the Peshmerga accused a faction from one of the two main Iraqi Kurdish political parties, the ruling Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), of “plotting” against the Kurds and committing “a great and historic treason.”
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi earlier said the operation was aimed at protecting the unity of Iraq following Kurdistan’s independence vote.
“It is my constitutional duty to work for the benefit of the citizens and to protect our national unity that came under threat of fragmentation as a result of the referendum that was organized by the Kurdish region,” al-Abadi said in a statement.
The Prime Minister added that the vote was held in violation of the constitution and said that the Kurds “chose their personal interests over Iraq’s interests.”
Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani ordered Peshmerga forces to not attack the Iraqi military first, but gave a “green light to use every power” to fight against the advancing forces, according to Hemin Hawrami, a senior assistant to Barzani.
The US-led anti-Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) coalition claimed that the maneuvers “of military vehicles and personnel” in the vicinity of Kirkuk “so far have been coordinated movements, not attacks,” while the clashes between Peshmerga and Iraqi government forces were a mere “misunderstanding.”
“Coalition forces and advisers are not supporting Government of Iraq or Kurdistan Regional Government activities near Kirkuk, but are aware of reports of a limited exchange of fire during predawn hours of darkness October 16. We believe the engagement this morning was a misunderstanding and not deliberate as two elements attempted to link up under limited visibility conditions,” the coalition said in a statement.
Especially given that both sides explicitly disagree with that statement, and said as much before the statement was released.
Almost as if the US doesn’t want to commit.
Immediately after the Iraqi forces made their Kirkuk move, conflicting reports began coming in about the Kurdish-controlled oil fields and facilities in the region. Media reports indicate two oilfields – Bai Hassan and Avana – shut down production.
The reports were followed by indirect threats from Baghdad. Iraqi forces could be deployed “in a very short time” to regain control over Kirkuk oilfields and restart oil production, a senior Iraqi oil official was cited by Reuters as saying.
“We will not allow them to shut down production. We’ve got confirmation from military commanders that it’s a matter of a very short time,” the official said.
The Kurdish Ministry of Natural Resources, however, tweeted that the reports were “not true.”
That could just be the end of it, if everyone in the world continues to say “no.” Of course, the Kurdish terrorist groups will continue an insurgency that will last for years and result in an ongoing bombing campaign across Iraq and Turkey, but they’re already doing that, so it isn’t really that big of a deal.
Or, someone can pour more money into this, send “advisers,” and so on, and enable Kurdistan to launch a real violent revolution bid.
They already have a bunch of US weapons from the CIA, but the fact that they got rolled over like this in a predawn raid (in which it looks like no one even died?), indicates that they do not have the ability to fight back right now – like, at all.
But this happens the same day Israel bombs 30 miles east of Damascus?
This happened just hours before that event.