"Topics to be Discussed.
Saudi-led GCC bloc, meanwhile, says it is no longer to maintaining its crude oil price war against Iran, Russia and US shale oil producers. This war began in mid-June 2014 and was explained by the then Saudi Minister in charge Ali al-Na'imi during the last major OPEC ministerial conference in late November of 2014 as follows: The war was "for OPEC's share of world oil markets, rather than for crude oil prices". During that meeting - at the time attended by Russia's non-OPEC guest, Energy Minister Alexander Novak - Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, a moderate protege of powerful Ayatullah Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani agreed with Na'imi. That angered the Shi'ite theocracy's Safawi extremists headed by the co-ruling command of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) - which claims to represent the theocracy's Supreme Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei (see Part 22, ood4GccIrn10Oct16).
Barzani Repeats Kurdistan's Independence & Other Issues: Kurdistan President Mass'oud Barzani has repeatedly angered Baghdad by his talk of his region's independence plan, to be executed after a referendum to be held in all parts of the region including new areas now controlled by the KRG. On Nov. 20, he was quoted as saying the capture of the new areas in the adjacent Ninewa and Salahuddin provinces had, historically, been part of Kurdistan and now were still populated mostly by Kurds as well as other minorities such as the Turkomans, Christians and Sunni Arabs.
What angered Baghdad most was his repetition of the argument that these territories were "rightfully earned by the bravery and blood of those PeshMerga heroes who were martyred during battles with the [ISIS] terrorists". He said it was thanks to the bravery and rare fighting skills of the PeshMerga that the liberation of these and other provinces became possible" - a subtle reference to the less capable soldiers of the IRGC-trained Iraqi Armed Forces (IAF) since the last US troops left the country in late 2011 and the IRGC/QF-led Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) - a coalition of over 50 different Shi'ite militia groups accused of ethnic-cleansing and other atrocities on the Sunni Arabs and Iraq's other non-Shi'ite communities.
Barzani claimed that there was an agreement between the KRG, the US and Baghdad that Kurdish forces will not withdraw from regions they had "liberated". Speaking from the partly Christian town of Ba'shiqa (north-east of Mosul) on Nov. 16, Barzani said: "We have a deal with Americaand with the Iraqi government that the defence lines before the Mosul operation are non-negotiableWe are in accord with the US on not withdrawing from the captured areas of Kurdistan", stressing he will not turn his back on the pre-ISIS Kurdish population of Mosul, which he alleged was over 300,000. He asked: "How can we turn our backs on them?" - reiterating the PeshMerga will "take part in the liberation of Mosul".
Shi'ite PM Haider al-Abadi said before the start of the Mosul operation the PeshMerga would only help to take areas around Mosul and would withdraw to their positions before the campaign to re-take Iraq's second city from ISIS. After the PM's talks with the Iranian ambassador to Baghdad, Abadi's office on Nov 20 again asked the KRG to clarify Barzani's statements, saying the agreement Baghdad had with Erbil stipulated that PeshMerga units should withdraw "to the previous places they held before the launch of liberation operations. The agreement includes a specific clause on the withdrawal of the PeshMerga from the liberated areas after the liberation of Mosul".
The KRG on Nov. 20 again stressed that almost 12,000 PeshMerga casualties had fallen since ISIS invaded northern Iraq in mid-2014. But Barzani keeps insisting that areas "liberated" by Kurdish forces should remain under KRG control due to the high price they have paid in the war with ISIS since 2014. On April 16 he said: "These areas were liberated by the blood of 11,500 martyrs and wounded from the PeshMerga", adding that "it is not possible after all these sacrifices to return [territories] to federal control".
There are many cities and towns disputed between Baghdad and Erbil (KRG's "temporary capital". Petroleum-rich Kirkuk, the planned KRG capital formally still under Baghdad authority, was captured in 2014 by the PeshMerga who filled the vacuum left by Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) who fled from the ISIS invasion which led to the loaa of several Iraqi cities, including Mosul. These disputed territories may be a trigger for future conflict once the ISIS crisis in Iraq is over. But Turkey also has plans to intervene to protect the Turkoman community living in Kirkuk, Mosul, Tal Afar and other cities in the petroleum-rich north.
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|Publication:||APS Diplomat Operations in Oil Diplomacy|
|Date:||Nov 21, 2016|
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