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The Fiction Of Iraq

Politics / Iraq War Jun 12, 2014 - 08:29 AM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop


Can You Trust This Man
Iraq was a prime example of post-World War I dithering and influence trading among the three Allied Powers, in Iraq's case especially concerning the UK and US. Everybody has heard about its early version with a 19th Province called Kuwait, and Imperial Iraq's incorporation – totally against their will – of the Kurds from 1923 to 2005. Its president today, Nouri el-Maliki is probably the last who can pretend the country is united and has “internationally recognized borders”, but he is not just anybody. Levering him into power, and his attempts at staying there, only since 2003, have cost more than one hundred thousand human lives and well over 100 billion US dollars.

In the rapidly escalating Turf War among Islamic militants, both Sunni and Shia, rival armed groups retreating from Syria and moving to easier conquest in Iraq – this week took complete control of Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul, and all the surrounding Nineveh Province. Police in the oil city of Baiji south of Mosul, near the Tikrit birthplaces of Saddam Hussein said they were attempting to provide “heavy security” around the town, but later fled. El-Maliki's state-run Iraqi Media Net claimed that government troops and tribal fighters had driven back ISIL militants crossing from Syria. Earlier this week, Jabbar Yawer, the spokesman for Kurdish armed forces in Erbil said that Baiji district and the route south to Tikrit were mow under the “Al Qaeda” militants control.

In Mosul and surrounding areas of Nineveh Province more than 150 000 troops fled their posts, abandoning their weapons as the guerrillas advanced, leaving behind thousands of weapons, including infantry materiel, RPGs, jeeps and tanks, and the ultimate for “Al Qaeda propaganda” - at least one US-made Blackhawk helicopter. Kurd Peshmerga forces have fortified their defense positions to prevent infiltration of extremists and to keep back “the flames of fire,” Jabbar Yawer said. Around 500 000 civilians fled Mosul city, about 130 kilometers (80 miles) from the borders with Turkey and Syria, and 350 kilometres from Baghdad.

El-Maliki and Kurdistan;        

 No agreed boundary exists between the KRG-Kurdistan Regional Government (which is the Baghdadi designation of Independent Kurdistan) and Baghdad-controlled regions of Iraq, which are shrinking rapidly. ISIL fighters gained complete control of Fallujah in January and also took control of Sulaiman Bek, a town located between Kirkuk, in KRG territory, and the Shia-symbol city of Salahuddin.

In the latest armed violence, Kurdish Peshmerga armed forces from the “semi-autonomous KRG” have moved to bolster security at Kirkuk regional oilfields and along the Kurdish-Syrian border, according to statements from Iraq’s police and military. US State Dept. spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in an e-mail statement that “ISIL is not only a threat to the stability of Iraq, but a threat to the entire region.” The firepower of ISIL and the large number of rival-and-allied fighter groups and factions operating in always-larger regions of Iraq, outside the KRG, will be strengthened by their latest haul from seizing Iraq army bases in Mosul, cash from all the city’s 21 banks, and the 2 500 fighters broken out from local jails, the New York-based political risk firm Eurasia Group said.

ISIL Sunni-majority fighting groups will however soon face political pressure from Turkey. Fighting in Mosul has halted repair work on the main oil pipeline to Turkey, its state-run North Oil Company said. Shipments through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline linking KRG-controlled oil production with Turkey – which are the target of frequent ISIL attacks - have been stopped since March 2. In turn, daily runs at the 310 000 barrels-per-day Baiji refinery will be terminated until the security situation ameliorates.

El-Maliki's Shia-majority cabinet, but Sunni-majority Parliament in Baghdad has since 2006 wrestled with the Kurd de facto independence issue, the oil revenue issue, and the Islamic insurgency issue which is now 'brush fire' civil insurgency fighting on a daily base, headed by “Al Qaeda militants', including ISIL forces pulling back from Syria to Iraq. Without oil revenues, el-Maliki's government will rapidly find itself between a rock and a hard place.

El-Maliki also wrestles with the “historic power struggle” opposing the official, but seriously ill Sunni president of Iraq Jalal Talabani, and his permanent rival and alternate-president, Mustafa Barzani, whose offices in Tehran are in daily contact with Iran's powerbrokers. Barzani's father, we can note, was hanged in public by the Shah of Iran. Both Talabani and Barzani are historic leaders but are arguably outpaced by Iraq's accelerating breakdown into rival fiefdoms.

The Fiction Of Iraq

Future historians will explain that following the US-UK led invasion of Iraq in 2003 the country ceased to exist as a “nation inside internationally recognized territorial boundaries”. Its break up was merely a question of time – and oil.

Since 2003 both US and British oil corporations, other IOCs, and Emerging nation NOCs have signed, sealed and operated separate and exclusive oil exploration, development and production agreements with the KRG. Until recent weeks, Kurdistan was seen as a 'haven of civil calm' on the bloodstained map of Iraq. The 10 years of de facto Kurdish independence have transformed the KRG controlled part of ex-Iraq, but this has always featured permanent and heavy interference from 'external players' – Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the US, the UK and other EU countries.

El-Maliki and his coalition partners are themselves intensively divided on whether or not the “Fiction of Iraq” should continue. The federal solution is the only rational choice – and is political dynamite!

El-Maliki is more than just “difficult” to interview due to massive and permanent personal security, at least rivaling that of Barack Obama and certainly more battle-hardened than Obama's Men in Black. Observers ask if el-Maliki is protected by his secret security personnel – or a prisoner if it? Barzani militants claim, in interview and on Internet site publications, that el-Maliki will either obey Tehran, or will die. In the second case, he will take any remaining fig-leaf trappings of “secure and recognized borders” for Iraq with him.

El-Maliki is fully aware of this double-edged-sword protection for his faltering regime.
For extremely different and opposing reasons, both Saudi and Turkish security and economic interests seek the perpetuation of the Myth of Iraq. For the external non-Arab, non-Muslim interests, only oil counts. Iraq's oil output is set to plunge in coming weeks.

At this stage we cannot forecast at what speed Iraq fully dissolves into warring fiefdoms of which the most powerful will be the the most oil-rich.  We can only forecast that Iraq will dissolve. Eastern Iraq, through “Shia Anschluss” can logically ally with Iran. The KRG zone can increase – especilly to the west in oil rich eastern Syria - but with fighting. The ISIS or “Al Qaeda” controlled regions can – if Saudi Arabia wants – achieve what they cannot achieve in Syria.

By Andrew McKillop


Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2014 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.

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