Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Kirkuk Referendum Postponed 2 Years

According to

A referendum on the status of the oil-rich northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk has been postponed for two years, AsiaNews reported Feb. 28. Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdel Mahdi reportedly made the decision, which has not been formally announced, during a visit to Ankara, Turkey, on Feb. 21. The referendum had been scheduled to take place this year and will decide whether Kirkuk will remain a Sunni Arab province or join the Kurdish autonomous region. Kirkuk holds 70 percent of Iraq's natural gas reserves.
Kirkuk is a powderkeg, and postponing this referendum may postpone the long anticipated eruption of hostilities over oil that would put the U.S. smack dab in the middle of an even more vicious civil war in Iraq.

The nation of Turkey doesn't want to see Iraq's Kurdistan region annex Kirkuk, and has signaled to Washington and Baghdad the military consequences of holding the referendum by threatening cross-border military incursions to ostensibly root-out PKK strongholds in Iraq. According to a Stratfor report, the recent approval of the Iraqi oil law legislation agreement is "a done deal -- so long as the stickiest issues that have held up Iraqi development for the past four years get resolved in the following two months. The survival of this oil deal will heavily revolve around what the Kurds get in return for allowing the legislation to move forward." What the Kurds want is this referendum, and the speculation that it's been postponed will complicate matters for the already-exhausted President (Kurdish leader) Jalal Talibani.

There is a rather disturbing report from Turkish Weekly online that claims a former U.S. employee named Scott Sullivan recommends that Turkey should "strike immediately" to take Kirkuk.
If Turkey takes Kirkuk now, Turkey can count on the support of Syria and Saudi Arabia, including participation in a Turkish-led peacekeeping force. If Turkey waits, the U.S. is provided the opportunity to co-opt or coerce both against Turkey.

Interestingly, the discussion of this referendum postponement is out on Google News from many news sources, but as of now, it is not anywhere in the American MSM.

Yesterday, U.S. intelligence chief Admiral Mike McConnell pointed to the February 2006 bombing of the Golden Mosque as the place in time when everything changed, and was more than likely a point of no return in the Iraq civil war - unless the current surge is successful by miraculous circumstance. And no one other than BushCheneyCo actually believes it will be.
"The current security and political trends in Iraq are moving in a negative direction, particularly after the February 2006 bombing of the Mosque at Samara," he said.

He said the latest US intelligence estimate paints a grim picture of the future.

"Unless efforts to reverse these conditions gain real traction during the 12 to 18-month time frame of this estimate, we assess that the security situation will continue to deteriorate at a rate comparable to the latter half of 2006," he said.
There is every good and clear reason for our elected representatives to repeal the President's 2002 authority and to cut funding for any request that would make this surge easy for a dangerous executive administration that is virtually promising to ignore the will of Congress on the matter regardless of what foregn policy disaster they try to avert.

At the blog, Mash has long argued that a post-withdrawal Iraq will not lead to chaos, but is more likely to lead to stability:
The only remaining outcome for Iraq is then a negotiated settlement. The negotiated settlement may however come after an attempt at all out military victory is fought to a stalemate. The negotiated settlement will happen not because it is the preferred outcome, but because it is the only viable outcome. A negotiated settlement will certainly have to include the major regional players such as Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey. The negotiated settlement will come after realization by the Arab states, and acceptance by Iran, that Iraq is, and historically has been, the Arab bulwark against Persian influence. Iran will find once again that the Iraqi Shia are not Iran’s fifth column in Iraq. An American departure from Iraq will eventually lead to a restoration of the balance of power in the region between the Arabs and the Iranians.

The Kurds of Iraq will once again be denied an independent homeland. But that denial will likely come at a price for Turkey. Turkey may be forced to give autonomy to its Kurds as a condition for Kurdish guarantee of Iraq’s territorial integrity.

The Iraq that is likely to emerge through the meat grinder of civil war will owe its stability to a regional need for stability, not to some gift of freedom given by George W Bush. Ironically, Mr. Bush is likely to see this precarious yet stable Iraq emerge from the ashes of his failed policy. Yet, it will emerge because Mr. Bush will finally have left it alone, and not because of his efforts at playing puppet master to the Arabs.


Larry said...

The more they postpone things the more drawn in the U.S will be in a growing civil war.

Maybe that's the plan!

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