New states on Arab lands
Trend Arab News Service head Rufiz Hafizoglu
One of the most talked-about topics is recent statements of the Kurdish administration about creation in northern Iraq of an independent "Kurdish state" and major difference between central government and the administration on economic issues.
The head of the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq, Massoud Barzani, announced his intention to proclaim on March 21 this year, an independent "Kurdish state". Despite the fact that the proclamation of a "Kurdish state" was expected in the specified time, for some reasons it did not happen. The head of the administration told TV "Al-Shargiyya" Kurds are subject to oppression in the region, but sooner or later, the Kurds will also have their own state.
"All I have said is reality, the Kurds are not worse than the Arabs, Persians or Turks. Kurds as a nation are divided in territories of several states, they were not provided an opportunity to create their own state," said Barzani. He also added that the Kurds are waiting for the proclamation of the state.
Statements of Barzani seem not to be taken seriously, but if we look at events taking place recently in the country's economic life, it becomes clear that these statements are far more serious than it might seem.
Thus, the Kurdish administration without the consent of the Government signed an agreement with the U.S. Exxon Mobil for exploration and production of oil in the administration's territory. Once the central government of Iraq announced the agreement illegal, Exxon Mobil temporarily suspended its operations in northern Iraq. And on April 2 the Kurdish administration has stopped oil supplies to the central government of Iraq. Government of Barzani explained the move by the fact that central government owes them $1.5 billion.
Such a concurrence of events once again shows that in order to declare an independent "Kurdistan" and leave the zone of influence of the central government, the government of Barzani will not only carry on a political struggle, but will also use the means of economic pressure.
The most interesting statement amidst these events came from the central government of Iraq. A source told Trend that the Kurdish administration is illegally exporting oil. It is also noted in the statement that cessation of oil export to Iraq was a significant blow to the budget of the Kurdish administration, and if the administration is not concerned about it, so it replenished its budget from the sale of oil by alternative means.
Taking into account the fact that Kurdish administration is landlocked and the unstable situation in neighboring Syria, we can see that the only alternative for oil export is the territory of Turkey.
But it does not mean that the Kurdish administration will always use Turkish territory to access the sea. We can assume that the only reason for the fact that Barzani has not declared yet a "Kurdish state" and that the Party of Democratic Unity (Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat) at a meeting of opposition in Istanbul unlike other political groups did not support the agreement to protect the territorial integrity of the country, is to gain time.
It is not excluded that Government of Barzani will proclaim an independent "Kurdish state" after the departure of Bashar al-Assad from power and the beginning of the struggle for "independence" of Kurds living in the north of Syria. And it is one of the important steps to split Iraq.
Of course, it is not quite correct to think that there is a political activity of only Kurds in Iraq. Enhancing of the Iranian factor in the face of Shiite Muslims since the fall of Saddam's regime in the country suggests major changes in the region in the near future, namely the creation of a new Shia state.
As strange as it may be, serious steps in this direction have already been taken. Some Arab Shiite thinkers believe in the inevitability of the establishment of a "new Shia state" in the region after the political crisis in Bahrain. All this gives grounds to say that there may be new states in the Arab Middle East, albeit somewhat later.