The Clash Over Kirkuk

Why the Real Crisis Is in Baghdad—Not Erbil

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and KRG President Massoud Barzani in Erbil, April 2015. Azad Lashkari / REUTERS

It is an indictment of U.S. foreign policy that the two major players in the U.S.-led military campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) have come to blows: the Iraqi central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government. Four days ago, Baghdad deployed thousands of its forces and the militias of the Shiite Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) to Kirkuk, which is claimed by both the KRG and Baghdad. After clashes following the KRG’s refusal to hand over the province, Baghdad now controls the oil-rich territory.

Kirkuk has long been one of the country’s most dangerous flashpoints and the most coveted of its disputed territories. It contains as much as an estimated nine billion barrels of oil and hosts a series of strategic installations and facilities, including its oilfields, airport, and the important K-1 military base. Kirkuk has historically been home to a Kurdish-majority population, but Arab families

Loading, please wait...

To read the full article

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.