Skip to comments.A Passing Advantage – The Kurdish/Iraq Confrontation
Posted on 11/22/2012 4:58:27 PM PST by DJ Elliott
Some of my early thoughts were published in rough form earlier. My estimate of Kurdish and Iraqi Forces is that neither side is really ready for a stand-up fight. But it may happen anyway for political reasons or as deployed forces maneuver for position. If it happens, don't be surprised if it doesn't work out as planned - for either side...
Of interest, the formation of the Tigris Operational Command and the claim of forming 2 Kurdish Operational Commands in response as justification for the confrontation is pure propaganda. Establishing corps-level commands has been ongoing since the Surge and both sides require these command elements whether they are fighting each other or not. They or something like them have been projected as planned for over 5 years. For a casus belli, this is really flimsy.
In 2003, the Kurds had a dominate position but, the US did not want a divided Iraq policy was to rebuild Iraq to remain the natural geographical roadblock for Iran. This correlation of forces has not remained static. The Iraqi Army has re-grown to 14 divisions since then while the Peshmerga was already at peak strength in 2003 and has reduced to 10-11 division-equivalents since then for budget reasons. This didnt matter as neither could push while foreign forces prevented operations. The withdraw of US forces last year was the first opportunity for Iraq and the Kurdish Regional Government to consider the military option to settle the disputed territories.
(Excerpt) Read more at home.comcast.net ...
I recall that it is the Kurdish PKK Marxist terrorists that threaten Turkey not the KRG -- starting in the 1980s and continuing to the present.
The article seems to have failed to distinguish between the KRG and the PKK.
This is little more detailed: Turkey Cozies Up to the KRG and even states "In contrast to the increasing tensions between Ankara and Baghdad following the U.S. withdrawal last December, Turkeys relations with the KRG are flourishing. Massoud Barzani, the head of the Kurdistan Regional Government, was given a red-carpet welcome last month in Turkey when he met with President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Barzani reciprocated the warmth by highlighting the common position of Turkey and the KRG on Syria and signaling to the PKK that if it 'goes ahead with weapons, it will bear the consequences.'"
What seems to have caused you to excerpt your own material?
The Kurdish Regional Guards or Kurdish Regional Government are not the PKK. PKK AOR is Turkey or as the Kurdish Nationalists put it: Northern Kurdistan.
This is about an Iraqi vs Kurd confrontation in which the PKK has no say.
The Kurds are not a monolith. PKK is a seperate party from the PUK/KDP/Gorram that are the parties to watch in Iraqi Kurdish politics.
Not only that but, the PKK is a non-entity compared to the KRG force strength...
FR uses a different format to publish than my own blog.
It is a serious pain to convert and ussually mangles the links and para seperation.
So I excerpt here to provide those interested with a heads up that there is more out there.
It’s not like I get any money for this - no advertising on my site, just a hobby.
Right click on your blog entry, select "view page source" and copy the HTML for the blog entry.
Failing that, you could ditch the blog and write your stuff here. Cut out the middle man.
Blogs are like underwear. Everyone has them but nobody wants to see them.
I understand that.
I was more interested in the statement "The KRG's current problem is Iran and Turkey neither wants an independent Kurdistan."
I know the difference between the PKK and the KRG, PUK/KDP.
Ankara appears to me to welcome a KRG independent of the (what appears to me to be an) Iran-backed Shi'a government in Baghdad -- that was the point of linking to the article I referenced. Did you look at it? It describes how Ankara and the KRG are drawing closer together in direct opposition to Baghdad.
I've read elsewhere that Iran is encouraging the PKK along with Iran's aid to Syria where some of the PKK is hiding out -- even though there is a group similar to the PKK attacking Iran. Turkey is not happy about that.
They may be exploring some Sunni/Shia alignment due to heightening tensions. Like the Turks, most Kurds are Sunni.
With Turkey now at a low level of war with Shia Iran and Iranian client Assad, the loyalty of the Kurdish minority in Syria is up for grabs. KRG could really influence them.
The Shia Government in Baghdad is siding up with the Shia Iranians. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Also, there is a treasure trove of oil in dispute around Kirkuk. If the Turks help the Kurds wrest it from Baghdad, it can flow out through Turkish pipelines, giving the Turks a tasty piece.
There was a lot of fear that the "evil" Turks would rush in a claim the oil fields. (Now that Erdoğan, some say with the help of American citizen Fethullah Gülen, are busy converting Turkey into an Islamic "republic" Turkey is becoming something more like Iran it seems.)
"TURKEY STUDIES PAST TREATIES TO JUSTIFY CLAIMS TO OIL FIELDS IN NORTHERN IRAQ . . . Turkey is studying past international treaties in a bid to justify Turkish claims to oil fields in northern Iraq . . . claims to oil fields near Mosul and Kirkuk could undermine efforts to include the Iraqi Kurds in a U.S.-led anti-Saddam coalition and would increase Arab fears that a U.S. confrontation with Iraq is designed to control Iraq's oil wealth.
"The Arabs have long believed that Turkey never relinquished its claims to those areas which they were forced to give up after World War I . . .
"Turkish Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis, explaining the possible claims to the Iraq oil fields, said, 'If we do have rights...we have to explain that to the international community and our partners and secure those rights' (see 'End Note,' 'RFE/RL Iraq Report,' 1 November 2002).
". . . it is not clear how Turkey would eventually exercise its claims to the oil fields. Officials have said that they would not seek direct control but would want to use their rights in order to be a player in northern Iraq . . .
"Eighteen months ago [from 2002?], the UN Security Council granted the Turkish state oil company permission to drill some 20 oil wells north of Kirkuk . . . ."
" . . . Turkey's relations with the central Iraqi government have soured significantly in the recent past due to oil agreements Turkey signed with the Kurdish administration without the consent of the Iraqi government. Turkey independently imports oil from Iraq through a twin pipeline running from Kirkuk to the Mediterranean oil terminal of Ceyhan. Baghdad has warned Turkey that its separate deal in the region could damage trade relations between Iraq and Turkey."
"'At the same time, this conflict might be a war for oil. Why? Because the central government wants to show its displeasure with the KRG exporting oil without the knowledge of the Iraqi government,' Erdogan further said . . . ."
""TURKEY STUDIES PAST TREATIES TO JUSTIFY CLAIMS TO OIL FIELDS IN NORTHERN IRAQ . . . " is from a few years before our troops entered Iraq in 2003. And note that Turk studies looked for valid reason that could be justified before the world's legal opinion. They found none if I remember other news items correctly.
Today it's the Kurdish region's oil and Turkey has established economic relations with the KRG to help -- and benefit from -- the export of the oil.