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  1. #1
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    Iraq Seizes Oil Fields as Fighting Flares Over Kurds' State Push

    By Khalid Al Ansary , Anthony Dipaola , and Zaid Sabah
    Mon Oct 16 2017 1840 GMT+0700 (ICT)

    Oil exports flowing normally from Kirkuk and Kurdish fields
    Crude prices extend gains on concerns of supply disruption

    Iraqi forces advanced toward the disputed city of Kirkuk, as the government sharply intensified its efforts to stall moves toward a Kurdish state by seizing the oil fields that would underpin its economy. Crude exports from the disputed area were flowing normally on Monday.

    State-run Iraqiya television said the military had also captured a refinery, a gas plant and a main road in Kirkuk, which has emerged as a flashpoint in the power struggle between the federal government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government. The Associated Press reported that Kurdish fighters had abandoned their positions outside Kirkuk’s airport while civilians were fleeing the city, where sporadic gunfire could be heard.


    Iraqi forces drive past an oil production plant near Kirkuk, Oct. 16.



    The military offensive, which Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had vowed to avoid, follows three weeks of escalating tensions since the Kurds voted overwhelmingly in favor of statehood on Sept. 25. Iran and Turkey, both with their own restive Kurdish minorities, led regional opposition to the referendum and on Monday, Turkey’s foreign ministry issued a statement stressing the need for Iraqi unity.

    It remains unclear how far Iraq’s army and its militia partners intend to advance, but the importance of Kirkuk and the complexity of the armed alliances increase the “potential for political and military miscalculations,” said Glen Ransom, Iraq analyst at Control Risks in Dubai. “The U.S. will try to de-escalate the situation to avoid compromising anti-Islamic State operations,” he said. That could lead to agreements on Kurdish withdrawals from some areas and potentially joint administration, he added.

    OPEC Producer

    There were conflicting reports as the Iraqi campaign began on Sunday. State television reported that Abadi had ordered Iraqi forces to impose security in Kirkuk in cooperation with Kurdish peshmerga forces, adding that government troops had captured areas in the city without a fight. The Kurdish Rudaw news service said at least seven Iraqi militiamen were killed south of Kirkuk, citing an unidentified peshmerga commander.

    Iraq is the second-largest producer within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, pumping most of its 4.47 million barrels a day from fields in the south and shipping it from the Persian Gulf port of Basra. But with Iraq supplying about 14 percent of total OPEC production, a conflict centered in the country’s north could have an immediate impact on oil markets.

    Kirkuk’s oil fields and deposits inside the adjacent Kurdish region were exporting about 600,000 barrels a day through a Kurd-controlled pipeline to Turkey, according to a person familiar with the matter, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The KRG included Kirkuk in the vote, despite competing territorial claims to the area.

    Eurasia Group estimates that Iraq taking control in Kirkuk could cut shipments by 450,000 barrels daily until the federal government repairs its own disused pipeline to Turkey or reaches a revenue-sharing deal with the Kurds.

    While there was no halt to oil exports in the early stage of the military advance, the potential for disruptions sent Brent crude as much as 1.7 percent higher to $57.84 a barrel in London. The benchmark gained 2.8 percent last week.

    Underscoring the potential for a regional spillover, Abadi’s office had late on Sunday accused the Kurds of deploying militants from the Turkish PKK organization, saying that was considered a declaration of war against Iraq.

    The PKK has been battling for independence for Turkey’s Kurds for more than three decades, and authorities in Ankara fear Kurdish gains in Iraq and neighboring Syria could fuel further violence at home.

    Kurdish Gains in Mideast Chaos Fuel Statehood Dream: QuickTake

    The latest dispute between Baghdad and the KRG over the Kirkuk area flared after their combined forces routed Islamic State militants from most of northern Iraq earlier this year. Kurdish forces occupied much of Kirkuk province in June 2014 after Iraqi troops retreated ahead of the then-advancing militants. Baghdad refuses to recognize Kurdish control of the area.

    “The war on ISIS is edging to an end and now the real war starts, the war between the regional powers in order to control resources and define their own areas of influence,” said Sami Nader, head of the Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs in Beirut. What’s happening in Kirkuk is not just a local Iraqi conflict but a regional race to establish new boundaries, he said.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...ts-over-kirkuk

  2. #2
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    If the West abandons the Kurds again words will fail me. For all the Kurds have done and suffered they deserve their own state and the West should be supporting it.

  3. #3
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    It's the west keeping the others onside that counts, Turkey and Iraq.

  4. #4
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    Kurds fleeing Kirkuk and the Iraqi army looting their houses now. Bet the Kurds are wondering why they bothered fighting ISIS if just going to be left to get slaughtered again.

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    It's a pitiful situation but the west has turned a blind eye to this for decades, the west does not want to upset the mainstream countries in the region.
    The mainstream regional countries do not want the Kurds to have a homeland, that could turn into another Israel.

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  7. #7
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    Looks like the Kurds are split. Some commanders surely cut a deal with the Iraqis as the did not resist at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by buriramboy View Post
    If the West abandons the Kurds again words will fail me. For all the Kurds have done and suffered they deserve their own state and the West should be supporting it.
    West doesn't have much of a record in support/defence of friends.

    Cut through political expedience and deal with giving the Kurds their state, to create one area of that volatile region you can remove from dozens of conflicting equations, with the people at relative peace and prepared to defend their own borders. And with confidence that your weapons and training won't be used to kill your people.

    Will industrially piss off Turkey, Iran, Iraq and maybe even Russia, but they're all pissed off anyway.

    PS: Probably won't work, but nothing else has to date.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsnub View Post
    Looks like the Kurds are split. Some commanders surely cut a deal with the Iraqis as the did not resist at all.
    They are probably outgunned.

    Live to fight another day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    They are probably outgunned.
    Of course they are outgunned. The Iraqis have M1 abrams tanks and Apache helicopters. Also the Golden Division is trained by US spec ops and is the best unit in the entire country. But word is that some Kurdish factions colluded with the Iraqi government.

  11. #11
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    the Golden Division is trained by US spec ops and is the best unit in the entire country.
    Yeah, right up there with "Elite Republican Guard" then.


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilsonandson View Post
    Oil exports flowing normally from Kirkuk and Kurdish fields
    Bottom line here. No more need be said.

    “We’re not taking sides,” President Trump said at a news conference in the Rose Garden, adding that the United States had a “very good relationship” with the central government and with Kurds."

    "Shortly after Trump spoke, the Kurdistan government’s representative in Washington, Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, called the U.S. position “bewildering,” and she echoed Irbil’s charges that Iran was already benefiting from the upheaval."

    “How can you not take sides?” Rahman said. “This is Iranian-backed militia, using American weapons, to attack an ally of the United States. I’m bewildered by the U.S. government position. Not just President Trump’s statement, but statements from the [Defense Department] and others, trying to downplay what’s been happening in Kirkuk.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world...=.c0be05894afb
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

  13. #13
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    Yep. If the Kurds were to go independent, their neighbours could just switch off flow of oil.

    Something of which they are surely well aware.

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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    Yeah, right up there with "Elite Republican Guard" then.
    No comparison. The Golden Division is heavily vetted and trained by US special forces who have overseen that unit nonstop since 2004. They use all US equipment and tactics. Without them taking Mosul not have been possible for the Iraqis.

  15. #15
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    Bsnub still reading comics I see. Who is your favourite super hero?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by buriramboy View Post
    Bsnub still reading comics I see. Who is your favourite super hero?
    Leave the serious conversations for the adults you dimwit. Threads like this require more than a double digit IQ. You don't make the cut so take your stalking elsewhere. Perhaps do some studying about Dunkirk since you know fook all about what happened there.

  17. #17
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    Basement dweller triggered.

  18. #18
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    ^ Running out of material? You are getting slapped around pretty good today you illiterate bozo.

  19. #19
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    One doesn't require any material with you, can just sit back and watch you make a total tit of your self on a daily basis.

  20. #20
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    The Kurds have walked away from Kirkuk because they dont want the city destroyed and the civilian population killed or driven out. They have seen all the other places the US has bombed and have no wish to see it happen to their city, a purely humanitarian decision.

    They were the main force that took back Raqqa and if indeed fighting there is at an end then their army there will be free to join up with other units of the Kurds and fight for their own homeland rather than fighting for the US who would abandon them.

    The Kurds will be back but in a way that does not destroy what they see as theirs.

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