On Friday, the Kurds seized two major oil fields and said they would use some of the production for domestic purposes. The move has intensified a bitter dispute with Baghdad, and tensions with Western countries determined not to see Iraq fall apart.
But the central government’s weak hand, coupled with the pesh merga’s consolidation of their gains and the apparent popular support for the Kurds’ enlargement of their territory, will make it hard to roll back the changes.
…but it’s still true that the central government does want to resume control over the territory that the Kurds have, ah, expanded into; and it’s equally true that the idea that that’s going to happen is the funniest dang thing that I’ve read today. Let me just establish, for the record …No. Even if the country doesn’t fall apart, the Kurds will still see no reason why they should let Baghdad get back control of the Kirkuk oil fields, given that Baghdad will just resume mismanaging the money and the Kurds already have Turkish buyers lined up for that precious, precious crude. And as the WaPo article notes, the inhabitants in the area in question have a keen sense of priorities:
“The Kurds don’t care if you are Sunni or Shiite or Christian; they are practical,” [Mofaq Abdallah Ahmed, local Turkmen farmer] said. “If they stay here, things will be better for everyone.”
Do not underestimate how seductive the promise of long-term stability can to be to somebody who currently lacks it. And, shoot, the Kurds have a representative government and everything. As long as they keep looking like one of our voluntary client states* they’re in a pretty good position to hold what they currently control. Or even, you know, expand a little. After all, Mosul is currently not being run by Baghdad, either…
(Image via Shutterstock)
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*That’s not meant as an insult and I don’t think that the Kurds would take it as one. Especially since I’m using it with the full understanding that the obligations involved run in both directions.