Skip to comments.Iraqi Kurds seize Kirkuk as army flees
Posted on 06/12/2014 7:27:38 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
How bad has the situation in Iraq become? The city of Kirkuk has long been a point of contention between the Kurds and the Iraqi government. Saddam Hussein expelled the Kurds from the city, and ever since the Kurds have laid claim to it — and its oil resources. The new government in Iraq similarly refused to cede the territory to the Kurds, and for the same reason.
Now they’ve run away from Kirkuk, and the Kurds have it again by default as the Iraqi army collapses:
Iraqi Kurdish forces say they have taken full control of the northern oil city of Kirkuk as the army flees before an Islamist offensive nearby.
“The whole of Kirkuk has fallen into the hands of peshmerga,” Kurdish spokesman Jabbar Yawar told Reuters. “No Iraq army remains in Kirkuk now.”
Kurdish fighters are seen as a bulwark against Sunni Muslim insurgents. …
Under Saddam Hussein’s programme of “Arabisation”, Kurds were driven from Kirkuk and replaced with settlers from the south, and the Iraqi government continues to assert control over nearby oilfields, with the backing from the local Turkmen community.
That won’t last long now, as the Iraqis still fiddle while Anbar and Nineveh burn. The parliament has postponed a vote on Nouri al-Maliki’s declaration of emergency, which delays any cohesive response. They can’t delay for much longer before ISIS comes knocking on their doors in Baghdad:
Insurgents inspired by al-Qaeda rapidly pressed toward Baghdad on Wednesday, confronting little resistance from Iraqs collapsing security forces and expanding an arc of control that now includes a wide swath of the country.
By nightfall, the militants had reached the flash-point city of Samarra, just 70 miles outside Baghdad, after having first seized Tikrit, Saddam Husseins home town, and other cities while pressing southward from Mosul. …
It appeared that the militants were facing more robust resistance as they moved south, where Iraqs Shiites have a stronger presence. But several experts said it would be wrong to assume that heavily fortified Baghdad, with its large Shiite population and concentration of elite forces, could easily fend off an ISIS attack.
On Thursday, the militant group vowed to march on to Baghdad . A spokesman for the Islamic State of Iran and the Levant says the group has old scores to settle with the Shiite-led government in Baghdad, the Associated Press reported.
The spokesman, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, also threatened that ISIL fighters will take the southern Iraqi Shiite cities of Karbala and Najaf, which hold two of the holiest shrines for Shiite Muslims. The statement, which could not be independently verified, came in an audio posting Thursday on militant Web sites commonly used by the group, the AP said.
The Peshmerga will hold off ISIS in the north, at least for a while. The BBC notes that ISIS has bypassed the Kurdish areas for fear of the well-seasoned Peshmerga, who aren’t going to run in the face of an inferior force of Sunni terrorists. The ISIS move toward the Shi’ite cities might end up backfiring, though, as it will encourage Iran to come to Maliki’s rescue and turn all of Iraq into a battlefield. In that scenario, the US will lose all influence and power in Iraq, and perhaps throughout the entire region as the other states start cutting deals with Tehran or lining up against it in the ground war.
This is turning into a rout, and Iraq is getting dismembered as we watch. Unless the West intervenes in a big way soon, it won’t be long before we have to start evacuating from that large, expensive US embassy — and we get another iconic image of the last chopper to leave Saigon, er, Baghdad.
Massive proxy civil war coming to Iraq.
Iran will enter on behalf of the shiites. Saudi will have its faction of shiites, while Turkey will enter in the North against the Kurds.
If (when?) ISIS takes Baghdad this will be moot.
And how does ISIS have enough people to hold these towns? Was there no sign of possible Iraqi Army collapse before this? Were they Sunnis or Shiites? Are the Shiites just incapable of performing as an Army?
Trouble then, as now, is the various Kurdish factions couldn't agree on anything. It was like herding cats, sort of like today's GOP.
The Kurds need to just declare independence. They have always been good allies and they don’t deserve to be shackled to the mess Obama is leaving.
Gee, this is gonna be fun. Three more years of obama. The world will not survive.
I’d rather see the US aid the Peshmerga, to help them hold the north, than waste money by giving it to the incompetent government in Baghdad.
Well done, Obama. Well done.
If being in the army means nothing more than a good paycheck then you will not stand and fight.
I don't know about that. Turkey certainly has no love for the Kurds but having seen the mess in Syria they may be looking at them as the lesser of two evils.
“The Kurds....have always been good allies and they dont deserve to be shackled to the mess Obama is leaving.”
He’s not only “leaving” the mess, HE and his minions created it.
As much as it pains me to say this, I think Biden may have stumbled onto something when he suggested a three-state (Kurd-Sunni-Shiite) solution for Iraq.
By now, each entity would have its own military and state apparatus. The shiite-dominated hot mess that is Iraq is failing fast.
The Sand Wars. The wind blows and it all starts over again.
Isn’t that interesting —
They list Mosul as falling to ISIS but isn’t Mosul a Kurdish city and why would the Kurds let it fall to them.
I would hope that a three-state solution would work, but wait for the ubiquitous “but”...
...given the religious ideology of these sects of Islam, they would still be at each other’s throats (literally), as they demand the “other sect(s)” convert or die in order to establish their version of a “true” Islamic Caliphate.
As a neophyte amateur, probably I don’t know enough and am wrong.
Iraq should be broken up.
I have been saying that for years.
Good. It was a huge mistake to not break up Iraq into three separate countries.
No way the Saudi’s back ANY Shiite group. Saudi’s are Sunni and will back ISIS and the Kurds...
Nice going, barky.
Nope...majority Sunni. While the Kurds are Sunni also, they make up a small portion of Mosul.
Agreed...I said this all along the whole time I was there.
Me too. As VanDeKoik posted, the Kurds have been good allies of the US. Which means that Obama will either ignore them or betray them.
The problem is that the Sunni area has nothing of value in it. They will not stand idly by while they become poor and the other two areas become rich.
So am I to understand that part of the success of this group ISIS is that they are backed by or atleast not opposed by the Kurds??
I will give credit where credit is due. Biden was right about two major things:
1. He was against putting ground troops in Afghanistan. His solution to 9/11 was to flatten any Taliban/Al Qaeda asset from the air and from the sea. And if they reappeared, hit 'em again.
2. As you noted ScottinVA, Biden suggested dividing Iraq into three separate homogeneous countries.
I wonder how things would have turned out had Bush II listened to Biden here. It certainly couldn't be any worse than it is now. And a lot of lives and money would have been saved.
ISIS will come up against the Al Sadr militia (and Iranian special forces) in Baghdad, and resolve by the mostly Shiite Iraqi army will increase there.
ISIS has gotten too big. It is now a threat to the Saudi kingdom.
Nope. The Kurds will only intervene and help the central government if they’re granted more autonomy. They will however, totally destroy ISIS by their overwhelming numbers if threatened. Those guys are no joke.
Except that would lead the US to supporting someone who will then attack a NATO ally.
I am going to need a scorecard soon.
We are seeing a monumental shift in the balance of power in the Middle East. This is only the beginning.
Obozo is very pleased.Don’t think for a moment this is not just what he wanted.
Additionally, the Kurds would never cut and run from their posts like the Iraqi Army is doing. They told us 1000 of them would die before one of us did...and that held true.
Just because you've paid people to put on a uniform, doesn't make them an army.
If they aren't willing to fight, they are not an army. The ISIS men are willing to fight, the Iraqi army is not. We will see if the Iraqi Shiites and Kurds can put together a real army before being overrun.
“while Turkey will enter in the North against the Kurds.”
I doubt that will happen. Turkey is happy to have the Kurds out of their territory. They had a nightmare on their hands for awhile with the Kurdish refugee camps in Turkey. I don’t think they will mess with the status quo.
Huge difference between the Kurds, and the PKK. The Turks actually have pretty good relations with the Kurds. They’re fighting the PKK who are literally Maoists.
Absent a strong charismatic leader the synthetic nation of Iraq will and is devolving into three natural constituencies.
These are the Kurdish north, the Sunni in between and the Shia south.
Released from the false collective imposed by the British after WW I they are getting their longed for freedom and independence.
The pundits are arguing the Bush efforts were for nothing. Actually, the Bush efforts were to tame and then depose Saddam Hussein. W conquored Baghdad and deposed Saddam.
The nation building effort is evolving into three rather than one state. Time will tell if the three entities can exist on their own as economically viable members of the world society. Free from the tribal and religious tensions they very well may.
I believe the founding of an Islamic state that weakens or deposes Assad will be good. It may soak up all the wackos into one place where they can attempt to found a new wacko islamic state
The problem seems to be that Core AQ has lost control.
“Are the Shiites just incapable of performing as an Army?”
I think they’re mostly just unwilling to die defending Sunnis from other Sunnis. War will start in earnest when they reach Shia territory.
“That wont last long now, as the Iraqis still fiddle while Anbar and Nineveh burn. The parliament has postponed a vote on Nouri al-Malikis declaration of emergency, which delays any cohesive response.”
Iraq is being carved up like a turkey and they don’t seem to care anymore than the WH does.
So then what are the odds very shortly here of this ISIS army getting caught between the Kurds from the north and the Shiites from the southeast.
I think they have to seriously consider this possibility and not get stretched too thin, if they’re not already. Plus they’re threatening the Jordanians. If they’re not careful, they’ll have a 3 pronged offensive against them. Kurds from North, Jordanians from the West and Shiite/Iranians from the South/East.
I see no certainty that a prolonged effort to reassert total Suni control will take place. There may be some effort but when they secure the natural Suni tribal areas, the effort will diminish
Their main task is going to be learning how to governwhat they have.
Thanks for your excellent posts and personal insight to this mess.
Please keep posting on it.
Maybe if you have time, you could set up a ping list.
Most of us unless we have been over there, haven’t the slightest idea of what has happened, is happening and may happen.
Thanks again and for your service.
Well — if there is a 3 for 1 split who gets Bagdad??
— more specifically who gets the coveted Green Zone???
Iran is already there. I read a tweet about the Iranian special forces coming over the border.
Sadly, they’re going to be Iraq’s ally, because Obama has abandoned it. He always swoons over the most radical Muslims, and in this case, it’s ISIL.
Thank you sir. I mostly lurk, and comment on stuff I know a little about. Did a LOT of time in Turkey and Iraq.
I wonder if the Kurds can kick the Shiite out of ISIS? That would be great if so.. This collapse is on Obamadullah’s back. He turned his back on the ‘Status of Forces’ agreement and this is the outcome of that.