Middle Eastern Joker: USA, Israel and Turkey Embed Independent Kurdistan in Regional Policy
The Kurdish government raised the issue of holding a referendum on independence. The moment for launching the process of transition from de facto independence to the international legal fixation of state status was chosen by Kurds flawlessly. The central government under the leadership of Nuri al-Maliki showed its incapacity not only from a military point of view on recent events in the country. The internal power processes in Baghdad that followed the actual demoralization of the Iraqi army also clearly witnessed the political failure of al-Maliki and the State of Law bloc led by him. Opposition factions in the local parliament flatly deny al-Maliki the right to replicate himself in power as the acting head of the government following the recent parliamentary elections. On the day of consideration of this issue within the walls of the legislative assembly of Iraq (July 1), deputies from the Sunni and Kurdish communities of the country left the meeting hall. In response, associates of al-Maliki promised to cut off access to one of the top government positions to the former speaker of parliament, the leader of the political association of the Iraqi Sunni Muttahidun, Osam al-Nudzhayfi.
There is a deepening antagonism between the Shiite bloc of al-Maliki and other major political forces in Iraq. With such a degree of contradiction, al-Maliki has no chance in the shortest possible time to respond to the urgent demand of external forces to form a government of national unity in Baghdad, with the inclusion of the Kurds and Sunnis of the country on equal terms. The incumbent Prime Minister was no longer within the deadline previously designated by the Americans (before July 1), to which he was required to submit a list of "representative government." After the actual breakdown of relations with the leaders of the Sunni wing of the Iraqi political field and the launch of the separation process by the Kurds, al-Maliki’s chances of being a prime minister were reduced to a minimum.
On July 3, Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani visited the regional parliament with a request to immediately begin forming an independent electoral commission. A new structure is required by the region to prepare for the referendum. Justifying his position, Barzani shared with the Kurdish parliamentarians "official" information. According to him, four days before the jihadist attack on Mosul, the authorities of the Kurdish autonomy offered to the central government of al-Maliki cooperation in order to jointly oppose terrorist groups. But this offer was rejected. This begs the question: in proposing cooperation to the center, did the regional authorities possess data about the looming threat to the northern provinces of Iraq, or was Erbil’s request determined only by the increased terrorist activity in neighboring Syria? In any case, according to the interim results of the attack of militants on Iraq, the Kurdistan government noticeably strengthened its image of an accomplished entity in the Middle East, which has virtually all the attributes of state power. And not only possesses, but also can effectively dispose of them, unlike, for example, from the same government in Baghdad.
This reality is no longer possible to reverse. Kurdish militarized formations "Peshmerga" took control of oil-rich Kirkuk and intend to keep it in the future. Protecting Kirkuk and its surrounding areas allowed the Kurds to increase their territories in northern Iraq by 40%. No other force in the Middle East, for example, in the person of the United States or Turkey, decided to defend the northern territories of Iraq in the early days of an attack by the Islamists. The fall of Kirkuk after Mosul would have brought the Iraqi State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) closer to the role of a regional factor, which is no longer to be ignored. It is much more advantageous for the United States, Turkey, and Israel to see as an irreversible regional factor not extremist ISIL, but those who showed their military-political viability, and the main loyalty to the Western partners is the Kurdish government in Erbil.
Last but not least, Iraqi Kurds decided to go on the road de-fra fixing state independence, having before them a palette of opinions of influential Middle Eastern forces. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 29 June said the feasibility of creating an independent Kurdistan. The opinion of the Israeli prime minister was voiced on the same day as the Islamic Caliphate declared ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The creation of an independent Kurdistan as an accomplished fact (fait accompli) was also expressed by the Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. It is noteworthy that Netanyahu’s bold statements and Minister Lieberman’s equally bold statements followed a few days after the first batch of oil was delivered to Kurdistan via the Turkish port of Ceyhan by tanker to Israel on June 20. That is, judging by the motivation and actions of the parties, the division of Iraq between the Salafis and the Kurds fully fits the interests of Israel, Turkey and their main ally - the United States. At the same time, ISIS itself is a product of American Middle Eastern policy. The program of dividing Iraq has come to a logical conclusion; Israel and Turkey have access to the Kirkuk oil barrel.
Turkey’s position on the appearance of a new state formation on its southern borders has a positive vector for the Kurds. The last months of the intensive political dialogue between Ankara and Erbil, the exchange of high-level visits inevitably emphasized the new trends in the Turkish approach to Iraqi Kurdistan. The years of extremely negative perception by the Turkish side of the independence of the region have been replaced by pragmatic actions of the Recep Erdogan government. This pragmatist was embodied, above all, on the economic path of Turkish-Kurdish cooperation. The development of the Iraqi Kurdistan market has become a priority foreign trade area for Turkish business. The main gain in Turkey’s Middle East trade is set precisely by the volume trade and economic turnover of the two neighbors who build their connections directly. An agreement was reached on the construction of a new bridge at the Khabur border crossing and the creation of five additional checkpoints. The border infrastructure available today can no longer cope with the growing flow of cargo. Last year, Turkey and Iraq reached the 12 billion level in reciprocal trade in dollar terms. The lion's share in the total Turkish-Iraqi trade turnover falls on the trade of Ankara with the regional Kurdish government (about $ 9 billion).
Large energy agreements that Kurdish commentators have already dubbed "eternal" (for example, the oil contract 50-year (!) Signed between Ankara and Erbil) laid a solid economic foundation for future Kurdish statehood. It is important to note that not only Turkish companies have been promoted to the main Kurdish partners in the supply of oil to foreign markets. Israel is also seriously trying on the possibility of establishing a channel for the bulk supply of "black gold" from North Iraqi deposits to its market.
Independent Kurdistan will not only make adjustments to the overall political balance of power in the Middle East, but will also respond with new nuances in the distribution of the region's oil benefits. The “big oil” from Kurdistan can make significant changes to the Middle East strategic energy resource flow map. The Kurds aim to bring the volume of oil exports by the end of 2014 to 500 thousand barrels per day, in the next 4 of the year to 2 million barrels of daily exports. This will enable Kurdistan to align itself with major oil traders in the region. The accession of Kirkuk will strengthen the oil potential of the future state, which, most likely, will take a long pause to consider the benefits for itself from a possible entry into OPEC. Thus, the economic interests of the nearest and several distant neighbors of Iraqi Kurds contribute to their international socialization, admission to the club of sovereign nations on the new political map of the Middle East.
Turkish commentators tend to explain the mutual ankara and Erbil not only oil and gas background. Iraqi Kurdistan provides substantial support to the peace talks between the Erdogan government and the Turkish Kurds, whose leader remains Abdullah Ocalan. In the works of Middle Eastern researchers, there is practically no mention of the fact of the interest of the Kurdish authorities in the north of Iraq in Ocalan’s current imprisonment. Ankara and Erbil need a controlled Kurdish democratization process in the south-eastern provinces of Turkey. Ocalan in a Turkish prison and Ocalan at liberty in Iraqi Kurdistan are two big differences. In the latter case, the government of Barzani will be faced with the need to develop a new intra-Kurdish balance of power in power.
The beneficiaries of the emergence of a separate Kurdish state in the Middle East, in the region of heightened jihadist threat, are undoubtedly the United States and Israel. This will enable them, through the development of bilateral ties with Erbil along the military line and the cooperation line of the special services, to reach a new regional balance of power. At the "finish line" leading the Kurds through a referendum to proclaim state independence, we can expect agreements between Washington and Erbil, Tel-Aviv and Erbil in the field of security and military assistance. The Americans will be able to military-based in one of the most convenient geographic points of the Middle East, hanging from the north over the entire region. The Israelis will gain a loyal political regime from among one of the Muslim countries, as well as the most important factor for further maneuvering in their difficult relations with Turkey and in mutual hostility with Iran.
The other day, official representatives of the White House could hear that the United States was committed to maintaining the integrity of Iraq and did not approve of the recent actions of the regional government of Barzani on the path to independence. But this is nothing more than diplomatic balancing act. Who else but Americans is well aware of what, when and why is happening in the Iraq they destroyed.
The process of building Kurdish own statehood became irreversible. Each of the external forces will seek to put this irreversibility at the service of its interests. After the official recognition of Kurdish sovereignty, interstate changes in the region will become clearer and more prospective. The question is how organically it will be possible to combine the interests of the players with the often opposing military and political attitudes. The emergence of a new state that is in trust with the United States and Israel cannot leave Iran indifferent. Not for this, he decided to support Shiites in Iraq in order to “miss the blow” from the Americans and Israelis with their future military bases in Kurdistan. It is precisely with this that the clashes of Iran’s security services with detachments of the Iranian branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) - PJAK, which have been fixed in recent days, are linked.
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