Murat Karayilan: Hoping for a Kurdish Spring

Kurds are 40 million strong. They spread out along the southeast Turkish border and into Syria, Iraq and Iran. The most famous Kurd in Islamic history is Sultan Salahdin Ayubi (RA). He was the man who united Syria and Egypt to make a unified army under his command which then liberated Al Quds (jerusalem) from the Crusader kingdom.

The Kurds are now fighting on several fronts. In Iraq they were nearly imprisoned by the Baathists. Syria is no different. Now with Syria and Turkey nearing a full blown conflict Kurds in the buffer zone could be the favorite shooting target for Syrian and Turkish forces.

The borders that unjustly separated a nation only to keep another nation satisfied (at least partically) is a massive exercise of injustice by the colonialists at the end of WWI. Dividing the Ottoman provinces created this mess we see today. Further divisions will only help to increase border tensions and raise the prospect of war in the region.

Kurdish political party PKK is almost like the PLO of the Kurds. Here is an interview from the leader of the PKK to Al-Jazeera:

Murat Karayilan: Hoping for a Kurdish Spring – Talk to Al Jazeera – Al Jazeera English.

Advertisements

Division here, unification there, whats the story

The recent flaring up of sectarian violence in Syria, Iraq and Turkey stands testament to the unworkable international boundaries drawn up after world war 1. The flash point currently is northern Syria where Turkish army is building up forces to crush the kurdish intrusion into its southern border. Another war front has been in operation in northern Iraq between Iraqi Kurds and Turkish south. Kurdistan itself is plit into two factions in Iraq.
 
Historically, before the effects of world war 1 Ottoman caliphate ruled over Syria, Iraq and Turkey under one super state with its capital in Istanbul. Kurds, Turks, Syrians and Iraqis lived under the unifying umbrella of the Ottoman sultanate where nation-state boundaries did not exist. World War 1 changed all that. Racism cam back to dovode people on grounds of ethnicity, language and religions. Of these, religion was used in a dangerous way to split people far apart, making their lives in this ‘duniya’ a living hell before begining the after life journey.
 
The drawing up of boundaries took place on political maps only after the Ottomans accepted defeat in the war. Artificial boundaries had to be drawn up on political maps which forced nations to differ on national interests giving birth to a great fitnah (oppression) called sectarianism. This fitnah is worse than actual war itself.
 
Two weeks ago Iraq’s main cities were litterred with body parts due to explosions which took over 82 innocent lives. This week is no different. Sunnis blame shias, kurds blame sunnis, Iraqis blame Syrians, Turks blame Iraqis and Syrians, and this game of maniacs goes on and on.
 
Syrian uprising is being met with heavy firepower from Assad’s criminals. The fight could very well spill over into Iraq and Turkey, making western intervention a ncessity to hold the security of western allies. Israel is not a silent spectator in this great game. They see the end of Hizbullah and Hamas linked to the fall of Assad. The risk lies in loosing Syria to the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
Maliki government of Iraq did not prove to be worse than Saddam for Israel’s security. Iraq could be the western model for a post Assad Syria rather than an Islamic regime as in Morsi’s Egypt. The loss of Iraqi Kurdistan came as a part of a post Saddam package for Iraq and for Syria northern Kurdistan could gain autonomy from central authority in a post Assad Syria.
 
This is an old game played out by new players. The game is called “divide and rule”. Sectarianism is only a tool to achieve the main objectives, which is to keep the former provinces divided and busy in fighting with each other. The unification of middle eastern countries is immediately discarded as something evil and unacceptable to the international community. The reaction is exactly the opposite for european union. Countries pump in billions of euros to save their member countries from falling out of the alliance. Western world wants unification for themselves but promotes division for “third world” countries. why?
 

Kurdistan out of Iraqi control over oil

Iraqi Kurdistan is the star attraction for western oil companies. It has the largest reserves of the world’s best oil in terms of quality and cost of exploration. Recently Total of France has stepped in the picture by buying a large stake in two exploration blocks in Kurdistan. Iraqis are fuming at their loss of control over the most important economic zone in Iraq.

 

Autonomous since 1991, Kurdistan has its own government and armed forces, but still relies on the central government for its budget drawn from the OPEC nation’s oil revenues.

 

Kurdish officials accuse Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shi’ite, of amassing power at the expense of Sunni and Kurdish minorities, but Baghdad says Kurdistan is breaking with the constitution by signing deals with foreign companies.

 

Increasingly chafing against Baghdad’s authority, Kurdistan is testing the central government with proposals for a more independent energy policy.

Now one of the most prosperous parts of Iraq, Kurdistan has been isolated from the violence and sectarian strife that still beset the rest of the country.

 

French oil major Total has bought a 35 percent stake in two exploration blocks in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, drawing an angry response from the Iraqi government which has tried to bar companies from dealing directly with the semi-autonomous region.

Total, which is following U.S. rivals into the area, was warned by Baghdad on Tuesday it faced “severe” consequences for buying the stakes in the Harir and Safen blocks from U.S. peer Marathon Oil without the government’s consent.

 

“We will punish companies who sign deals without the approval of the central government and the oil ministry,” said Faisal Abdullah, a spokesman for Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani.

“Unless Total reviews the deals, it will face severe consequences… Total will be blacklisted for violating Iraqi law,” he said without giving further details.

Total, seeking to tap Iraqi Kurdistan’s vast oil reserves and bank on more attractive terms than in the south of the country, ignored earlier veiled threats to refrain from deals with the Kurdish region.

 

Total’s Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie had signalled in February that the group was considering investments in Kurdistan since contractual conditions there were better than in the rest of Iraq where it and its partners began production at the south-eastern Halfaya field in June.

 

Both fields in the Marathon Oil deal are located south of Iraq’s border with Turkey. Seismic exploration of both fields is expected to be completed by September.

The first exploration well on the Harir field was drilled on Monday and the first exploration well on the Safen field will be drilled next year, Marathon Oil said.

“These are enormous blocks. There’s rarely a disappointment in exploration in Kurdistan,” said a Paris-based analyst who declined to be named.

“They have a permit in the south of Iraq and at the worst the government could renegotiate concessions or withdraw the license. But these wells are not very profitable,” he said.

He cited the exit of Statoil and Exxon as evidence of their disappointment with the wells and the terms that Baghdad has set for oil majors to operate them.

He said the challenge for Total and its peers doing business in Kurdistan would be to transport the product, as Baghdad could block the use of its pipelines in the south.

The deal will further strain ties between Baghdad and the KRG which is caught up in a long-running political feud over oil rights and disputed territories along its hazy internal border.

 

Exxon Mobil became the first oil major to move into the northern region of Iraq in mid-October when it signed a deal with the KRG. Norway’s Statoil is also looking closely at KRG exploration deals, industry sources have said.

The Iraqi central government in Baghdad considers that any oil contracts signed with Kurdistan are illegal and it blacklisted Chevron Corp, which followed Exxon into Kurdistan this month, over such a deal.

 

Iraq in an imperial drama for oil

I almost forgot about Iraq. A country that was devastated by the US Army for possessing weapons of mass destruction that never existed. But things seem to be under (American) control now. Iraq did not become a shii republic like Iran. It remains “friendly” to the US as well as committed to a secular democratic path.

While the rest of the world is focused on Egypt and Syria, Iraq has marched forth into another divide and rule platform. Most recently Iraqi Kurdistan announced plans to build oil pipelines with Turkey and Baku. The news made heads swing, as Kurdistan did not bother to take the Baghdad route. Something very unusual. Not unless Kurdistan is now a semi independent state. East Timor and South Sudan are the first flashes in my mind when I think about Kurdistan.

The case in Iraqi unity as a nation state may have already met its model from the Hindustan partition of 1947, which split United Hindustan into India and Pakistan on communal grounds. Time and again this time tested political model of divide-and-rule has emerged as the best answer to problems arising from vacuums created by imperialists.

Already Iraqi Kurdistan is being referred to as Pipelinistan by many respecting its position as the world’s paradise for energy resources, having billions of barrels of oil and trillions of gas. While Egyptian Arabs battle for ballots Kurds are being courted for their barrels, worth billion of dollars.

The new Iraq (oil) war – Opinion – Al Jazeera English.