Iraq: The Kurds have Issues

The emergence of ISIS as a force to be reckoned with in Iraq has changed quite a few power questions. One question involves the kurds. They have long wanted autonomy – control over their own affairs But up to now, there was no strong push to split up the Iraqi regions to provide it. That may now change.

There are several reasons. First, the Kurds have a cohesive military structure that the Shiites and US need to fight ISIS. Not just defend kurdish regions, but to attack ISSIS in Sunni regions. The kurds are likely to go along, but for a price. Second, the kurds control significant oil production facilities. And they are demonstrating that they can get at least some of that to market, even if that violates Iraqi law. If the Shiites want the kurds to “play ball” with oil exports, they need to offer the kurds something in return.

So I think you can look for a deal where the kurds get more oil ervenue and more autonomy, though not independence. Any other course will make the already bad situation in Iraq much worse.

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