Image: screenshot, video
Threats of war and signs of rapprochement between barzani and baghdad. The rough mediator talabani is missing
On friday afternoon, the situation looks critical. According to the kurdish publication rudaw, which is not necessarily distant from the barzani government in erbil, the KRG prime minister fears belligerent confrontations near kirkuk. Nechirvan barzani had appealed to the UN security council, "to intervene quickly", to prevent a war between iraqi forces and the peshmerga
Peshmerga commanders had told journalists that iraqi forces had ied threats on thursday night and demanded that the peshmerga back down behind a 2003-agreed "green line" retreat.
The weight of the threats, how war-critical the current situation actually is, is difficult to determine from a distance. As always, it must be taken into account that conflicts are also fomented or influenced by the media. For clashes have not yet been reported, only speculation about it. However, kamal sido of the society for threatened peoples (gfbv) also speaks in a press release that an attack on kirkuk is feared:
"While the iraqi general staff denies that a military operation has been launched to recapture kirkuk. But according to information of the gfbv from iraqi kurdistan, more and more shiite militias are being gathered, especially in the two towns of beshir and taza kormatu, not far from kirkuk."
The general staff of the iraqi army denied preparations for an operation in kirkuk.
As of the last few days, there was every indication that the iraqi government was refraining from military adventures, which erbil claims the U.S. Had also advocated.
In a politically explosive situation following the referendum on independence in northern iraq, the kurds lost one of their most important political actors with the death of jalal talabani on october 3. October, the kurds lost one of their most important political actors – and not only for the autonomous region. Talabani was chairman of the patriotic union of kurdistan (PUK) and the first kurdish president of iraq.
On the sidelines of talabani’s funeral, there were talks between masud barzani and the newly elected leader of the leading party in northern syria, shauz hassan (PYD). There were also talks between barzani and the iraqi government. Neither fits ankara’s concept at all.
Erdogan’s plan of discord seems to be failing
Erdogan had imagined this quite differently. Again the kurds rewrite his script. After the saber-rattling of ankara, baghdad and tehran and the threat of border closure and embargo, barzani and the iraqi government are said to have agreed last weekend on a 4-point plan to resolve the differences between erbil and baghdad.
The chairman of the kurdish autonomous region’s presidential council, fuad hussein, said that all three parties, masud barzani and iraqi deputy presidents iyad allavi and usame nuceyfi, had agreed to hold meetings as soon as possible with all parties involved and the political parties in order to resolve the tense atmosphere in iraq.
The meetings are to be conducted with an open agenda. The immediate lifting of sanctions against the autonomous region is also part of the four-point agreement. Barzani made a declaration last saturday and said they want to solve the problems with the baghdad administration through dialogue.
Iraqi prime minister haider al-abadi, however, said at a press conference on tuesday that talks could not take place until the KRG declared the referendum invalid. On the other hand, contrary to various press reports, he ruled out military action against the northern iraqi kurds.
PYD-KDP rapprochement causes headaches for turkish government
On the sidelines of the funeral ceremony for kurdish politician jalal talabani, masud barzani and the newly elected head of the leading party of the democratic federation of northern syria, PYD. According to eyewitnesses, the talks took place in a friendly atmosphere.
While there is close cooperation between the PYD and the PUK in the fight against IS – the PUK supported the PYD militarily, financially and logistically – the relationship between the KDP and the PYD has always been marked by competition. To date, barzani has imposed an embargo on the democratic federation of northern syria. Jalal talabani’s efforts at rapprochement now seem to be bearing fruit
If the two parties succeed in resolving their political differences, the iraqi autonomous region will be able to partially free itself from its dependence on turkey. Via a disused pipeline, oil could be transported in the medium term from northern iraq via the kurdish regions in northern syria to the vicinity of the mediterranean sea. Erdogan’s plan to starve the kurdish autonomous region in iraq of its independence aspirations would thus have failed.
The turkish army’s hasty offensive in idlib, syria, should also be seen in the context of this possibility. If turkey succeeds in occupying a corridor from jarablus to idlib, this route of oil transport would be cut off, because the pipeline would have to pass through idlib to the mediterranean sea.
But the turkish military’s options are limited. The turkish efforts have not been well received by the various islamists in idlib, especially parts of the al-nusra front. This al-qaeda offshoot will put up a fierce fight if the turkish army fully takes over its stronghold in idlib.
Therefore, the most likely scenario is that the turkish army will occupy only a few strategic points in idlib province for the time being, under secret arrangements with al-nusra. For as before, erdogan’s main goal is the further encirclement of the kurdish canton of afrin.
The idlib operation offers him the opportunity to establish turkish bases in the south of afrin and to terrorize the canton with his artillery from there as well. Hassan saleh, a member of the kurdish national congress and the PUK in syria, also stated this:
The goal of the turkic government in idlib is to prevent the kurds from connecting the kurdish cantons and declaring a foderation.