Another victim of the unsteady situation in Iraq: the agreement made between the Kurds and Baghdad last December by which the Kurdistan Regional Government suspended its one-sided sale of oil.
As cited in the Financial Times, “The federal government withheld payments to Erbil soon after the deal began due to its own budget crisis, while accusing the Kurds of not transferring the agreed volumes of oil.”
Given this situation, the KRG is selling its oil abroad without Iraq’s State Organization for Marketing of Oil. According to the Financial Times, “Since May, the Kurds have taken matters into their own hands and sold almost 40 million barrels of oil to traders via the Turkish port of Ceyha.” Interestingly enough, it seems that most of this oil is being sold to Israel, which apparently is taking three-fourths of its oil from the pro-Israel Kurds.
Meanwhile, in the north of Syria, the Kurdish militia known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which is affiliated with the Turkish terrorist organization known as the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), is attacking Islamic State territories. Actually, this 35,000-fighter organization, with the assistance of U.S. air strikes, is the only one that has managed to make the Islamic State group retreat. These victories are happening as the frequency of the attacks by the PKK in Turkey is increasing, which has worried Recep Tayyip Erdogan so much that he has commanded the Turkish air force to bomb the north of Syria. While the apparent objective would be ISIS, it seems that he is keeping firepower for the PKK and its affiliates.
These events are of great importance. You can almost hear the tectonic plates moving in the region. It seems that the Kurds, who are by far the largest ethnic group without a state of its own (around 30 million people), have almost achieved their goal of self-government, if not independence.
In fact, the KRG is a virtual sovereign state within the empty shell known as Iraq. The YPG is fighting to achieve a state of its own in the north of Syria. Both states could join together to create a de facto Kurdish state in the north of Iraq and Syria without much effort.
Naturally, the main obstacles remain: the Turks, the Iranians (where some Kurds live), and the Arabs in Syria and Iraq. They will not support the Kurdish state. However, the Iraqi and Syrian states have virtually stopped working, which makes their opposition less relevant than ever before.
It’s unlikely that Syria and Iraq will reconstitute themselves as they were before. After all, those states were recreated not long ago in the agreements made between the U.K. and France after World War I. Who can guarantee that the Levant and Mesopotamia will not join together to create a Kurdish State?
Despite American support to the current borders in the world, it’s hard to understand why we should practice stagnation. The Kurds are more secular and hold a more pro-West position than any other group in the region, other than Christians in Libya and naturally, Israeli Jews. They’re far from perfect (particularly the PKK, which is a Marxist terrorist group), but given the current situation, they appear to be a more favorable alternative than any other. Let’s not forget the spread of the Sunni and Shia jihadism in the region. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the U.S. should make the establishment of the Kurdish state its priority, but we should think about our view on such an issue.
About this publication