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The other story in Iraq: Kurdistan independence

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The other story in Iraq: Kurdistan independence

June 12, 2014
by Brian4Liberty

Much attention has been focused upon the rapid retreat of Iraqi government forces from several northern cities in Iraq. Those cities include Mosul, oil-rich Baaiji and Saddam Husseinís hometown of Tikrit.

As these cites have traditionally been mostly Sunni Muslim, there is little, if any local resistance to the Sunni Muslim group that has taken control of this territory. Depending upon the translation, the Sunni Muslim group now in control goes by the name of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Both of these names indicate a territory that extends outside of the present day boundaries of the nation of Iraq.

The city of Kirkuk

With mush less fanfare, another major city has been abandoned by the Iraqi government, and that is the city of Kirkuk. Claimed by the Kurds as a historical Kurdish city, it is located in the midst of oil rich territory.

The disputed Kirkuk region has long been on the dividing line between autonomous Kurdistan in Northern Iraq and the central Iraqi government. In recent years, there has been an uneasy truce between the Kurdish peshmerga forces and the forces of the Iraqi central government.

With the bloodless withdrawal of central Iraqi forces, the Kirkuk Region is now under the control of Kurdistan. And as the ISIL forces close on Baghdad, Kirkuk will be nearly cut-off from central Iraq. This bodes well for an independent Kurdistan.

The inclusion of the oil-rich Kirkuk region in Kurdistan provides all of the resources necessary for an independent State. Friendly with both Israel and the United States, an independent Kurdistan would have eager trading partners, and potential protectors.

Unfortunately, the new ISIL also wants to claim Kirkuk. It seems likely that a clash between the more capable fighting forces of the Kurdish peshmerga and the ISIL may be in the future, unless cooler heads and diplomacy prevails.

This may not end in Iraq

Longtime predictions of Iraq breaking into three separate states may be coming to pass, with Sunni and Kurdish states in the north, and a Shiite Iraq in the south. But will it end in Iraq?

As with the ISIL organization, long-term Greater Kurdistan ambitions include territory that now lies outside of Iraq, and inside other national boundaries.

ISIL claims territory inside of the nations of Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Lebanon.

A Greater Kurdistan would include claims to some territory inside of the nations of Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran.

While highly unlikely that the greater ambitions of these groups will be realized any time soon, it will certainly result in more realignments, alliances and the possibility of future tensions.