Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Kurdish infighting, assassinations, Kirkuk and Turkish pipeline sabotage

A couple of interesting events unfolding around Kirkuk.

First, this article reports that the sabotage last week of the Kurdish-Turkey pipeline cost the Kurds $250 million. http://rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/030820152 "“The oil exports via the pipelines are the KRG’s principal source of revenue and enable the KRG to pay people’s salaries and help the government and people of the Kurdistan region resist the grave challenges the region is currently facing,” the statement said.

"Kurdistan region is facing unprecedented threats from Islamic State terrorists, the budget cuts imposed on the Region by the federal government in Baghdad, and the influx of over 1,800,000 refugees and IDPs," contiued the statement.

The PKK armed wing, the HPG, claimed responsibility for the operation on July 27 in the Sirnak-Cizre area near the Iraqi-Turkish border. It initially described it as “sabotage against Turkey’s interests,” but a PKK statement Sunday denied the HPG attackers had acted under direct orders and said the units “did not know to whom the pipeline belonged.”

The KRG statement said the action did not harm Turkish interests since the halt of oil exports mostly hurts the KRG, which has relied on oil exports to Turkey as its main source of income since Baghdad ceased paying the KRG revenue shares in December 2014.

“Turkey stands to suffer relatively minor economic damage through the loss of transit fees from the pipeline to Ceyhan. Therefore, some 99 percent of the burden of these attacks is borne alone by the Kurdistan region of Iraq and its people,” the KRG statement said.... "

Second, unknown gunmen assassinated the chief of pipeline maintenance.  http://rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/030820153About a month ago his boss was also assassinated. 

Third, Barzani is calling on locals to keep Kirkuk in Kurdish hands which especially means the oil fields. http://rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/09072015 "... 
“We have to turn to the will of the people of this region,” said the Kurdish President. “And at the same time the ethnic and religious groups of Kirkuk must be treated with utmost respect.”“But the Kurdistani identity of Kirkuk has to be in the meantime established,” he added.Barzani highlighted the unity of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in their fight against ISIS across a stretch of land more than 1,000 KM long.“The blood of our Peshmerga in the defense trenches is the basis of our people’s unity and it should be a guide to our politicians for more unity and brotherhood,” said Barzani.Barzani’s visit to Kirkuk came just days after a major battle south of the city where the Peshmerga repelled a major ISIS attack, killing dozens of militants and recapturing several villages...."