Kirkuk Update

The dust is settling, and it is easier than before to identify winners and losers. Everybody considers Barzani and his KDP followers the clear loser. He gambled on Kurdish unity to give him the clout he needed to hold Kirkuk’s oil. He lost Kirkuk to the Iraqi army, abetted by the Iranians. The Talibani faction of southern Iraqi Kurds stood by and watched Kurdish aspirations go up in smoke. We stayed behind the scenes, trying vainly to persuade Barzani not to call the referendum but to stand down and settle for half a loaf. Turkey won in that the Kurds lost, but may be a loser in the long run if the result is KDP cooperation with the Turkey-based PKK.

According to one report we told Barzani if he stood down we’d talk to Baghdad about some kind of break for the KDP later on. Interesting if true. It didn’t happen, anyway. The Kurds are back to square one, more or less.

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