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Iraqi Kurds seize Kirkuk as army flees
Hotair ^ | 06/12/2014 | Ed Morrissey

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 Iraq’s 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 Hussein’s 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 Iraq’s 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.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: baghdad; caliphate; iraq; isis; kirkuk; kurds
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To: ScottinVA

The problem there, is that the government envisioned the new Iraq after US occupation ended as being a strategic counterweight to Iran, as it was in the 1980s. A divided Iraq couldn’t serve that role.

81 posted on 06/12/2014 11:17:29 AM PDT by JerseyanExile
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To: JerseyanExile

“The problem there, is that the government envisioned the new Iraq after US occupation ended there as being a strategic counterweight to Iran”

Under Shiite rule, that would never happen for Iraq. If anything, they would be a vassal state to Iran. That was a major flaw in U.S. strategic planning.

82 posted on 06/12/2014 12:05:58 PM PDT by ScottinVA (If it doesn't include border security, it isn't "reform." It's called "amnesty.")
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To: jacquej

Nope, you have a pretty good picture of things.

83 posted on 06/12/2014 2:13:34 PM PDT by taxcontrol
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To: Billthedrill
Iran is now involved. It's Al Quds force took back at least part of Tikrit.

Maybe letting Iraq whither on the vine is actually a devious plot by Obama to get even more Muslim countries, tribes, sects, group, clans and families fighting each other. It's been reported that Turkey has shelled ISIS outside of Mosul, which has also been attacked by the Peshmerga of the Kurds.

No. It's the most peaceful the world has ever been, since Obama has been removing America from the world since January 20th, 2009. This is what success looks like to Obama.

84 posted on 06/12/2014 4:00:15 PM PDT by Jabba the Nutt (You can have a free country or government schools. Choose one.)
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To: RockyTx

Me too, partition and back the Kurds...

85 posted on 06/12/2014 4:27:15 PM PDT by fatez ("If you're going through Hell, keep going." Winston Churchill)
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To: Blackyce

Even if ISIS somehow keeps control of the Sunni provinces, they will need resources. Don’t put it past them to with permission through the tribes, to allow foreign entities to operate oilfields. The tribal leaders there are still a force to be reckoned with.

86 posted on 06/12/2014 5:44:56 PM PDT by sandboxshooter (Iraq, Afghanistan, War)
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To: xzins

I believe the Turks will allow some stabilization. They actually get along fairly good with the Kurds and do a LOT of business in Erbil. Don’t forget, this is also blowing up in the Turks faces, since they also supported ISIS. They may have thought they were only going to operate in Syria. Now things are different...We shall see.

87 posted on 06/12/2014 5:47:51 PM PDT by sandboxshooter (Iraq, Afghanistan, War)
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To: sandboxshooter

Listened to a Kurdish (Iraqi) colonel a year ago, and it was obvious that the man was all in for the KURDS. He was sharp, too.

88 posted on 06/12/2014 5:54:03 PM PDT by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: xzins

Those guys are very patriotic for their homeland...over Iraq.

89 posted on 06/12/2014 6:29:23 PM PDT by sandboxshooter (Iraq, Afghanistan, War)
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To: sandboxshooter

I’d prefer they had their own homeland, because I think they’d be a force for stability. They are Sunnis, the Kurds, but they’ve been downtrodden so long that it would take a few generations, I think, before Islam corrupted their new nation if they were to get one.

90 posted on 06/13/2014 4:43:32 AM PDT by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: PGR88
Russia supplying supplies to Ukraine there will be war there...war in Iraq...war in Pakistan and Afghanistan....Mexico will flood our borders and we will have no border whatsoever....troops will be sent....then we have Brazil and Columbia and Venezuala in uproar...

WW3 is here....large countries will take over large areas without any hinderance....

America will sit while our prez smokes and does the dirty deed and then golfs....

91 posted on 06/13/2014 2:53:16 PM PDT by cherry
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