The opposing armies massed on either side of the contested border separating northern and southern Iraq, leaders in Baghdad and the semiautonomous Kurdistan region are giving warning that they are really nearby to civil war – one that could be generated by Exxon Mobil.
Even though both parties’ leaders are having a negotiation about a walk back from the brink, they also say their armies could easily be inflamed into a battle. One of the most sensitive tripwires is Exxon, which is getting ready to drill for oil in the unresolved territories at the heart of the military standoff. The two most explosive political clashes of Iraq – over hand and oil – are primed to combust.
The prime minister has been clear: If Exxon lays a finger on this area, they will have to face the Iraqi army, said Sami al-Askari, who is a member of parliament and confident of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, they do not want any war though they will go to war for the oil and for Iraqi sovereignty.
The key ethnic groups of Iraq have laid competing claims to be a belt of land between the southern Iraq and Kurdistan region. An informal line of control divides the unresolved matters, separating the southern border of Kurdistan-governed area.
The battle in the town of Tuz Khurmatu took place on 16th November and since then the crisis has begun. A discharge exploded when the federal forces took attempt for arresting a Kurdish fuel seller, who asked the soldiers of Kurdistan (known as pesh merga) to protect him.
Maliki and the Kurdistan region’s president, Massoud Barzani, rapidly ordered thousands of reinforcements to move toward the control line. They do want war, that is what Barzani said in a speech to troops on the front lines, but if the war takes place, then none of the Kurdish people will step back from fighting.
Iraqi Kurds are scarred by memories of Saddam Hussein’s campaign of ethnic cleansing. Since Saddam Hussein’s regime has fallen, they staked out substantial self-government in northern Iraq, and now the Kurdistan region has got many characteristics of an independent state.
Many of the region’s southern Iraqi neighbors, however have complaints about the Kurds’ illegal action of grasping the area. The authorities in Baghdad say that they had to organize thousands of Iraqi troops in order to prevent further Kurdish violation.
The Kurds have been favored by this current crisis, expressed a high-ranking military officer in Baghdad, speaking on the condition of secrecy because of the political sensitivities.
The military leaders in Baghdad and the Kurdistan region say fighting could start on with a single misfire. Nearby the Kirkuk city, in some areas, the epicenter of the territorial disputes – the Iraqi army and the pesh merga (Kurdistan soldiers) are well within firing range of each others’ weapons.
The military officer said that the army of Iraq would open fire under three situations: If the Kurdistan soldiers force fire first or advance beyond their latest positions or if the oil companies start working in unresolved areas. The officer also said that if they do this, it is an open announcement of war.
Exxon Mobil is not only company with oil contracts in Iraq’s unresolved areas, but its deals are the most divisive because of the company’s iconic status and the location of its exploration blocks, on the southernmost edges of Iraqi Kurdistan’s spacious interpretation of its area. Baghdad did warn Exxon even before the company signed the deals that the deals will be considered as illegal.
Source: [Washington Post]