Iraq’s integrity in hands of Turkey
Baku, Azerbaijan, July 10
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
The Kurdish administration of Iraq has recently made a decision on independent sale of oil. This is nothing but another attempt of the administration to gain independence.
Although Safin Dizayee, spokesman for the Kurdish administration, explained this by growing economic problems in the territory of the administration (1.5 million refugees fleeing from militants of the Islamic State), Iraqi officials also consider this as the first major action to divide Iraq's integrity.
The Kurdish administration of Iraq thinks about the status of the administration, that is, about independence.
President of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq Masoud Barzani recalled the residents of the autonomy about independence on June 16.
Barzani said that if he is re-elected president in the election to be held on August 20, he will declare independence from Iraq.
That is, a decision to sell oil independently is connected with the fact that Erbil is preparing for independence from Iraq. Taking into account the fact that at present, there is no political leader in Erbil who could replace Barzani, one can say with confidence that Barzani will be re-elected.
If Barzani is re-elected, Erbil will hold a referendum on the status of the administration.
But it is worth stressing that even if the Kurdish administration of Iraq holds a referendum and gain independence from Iraq, the fate of Kurdistan will be in the hands of Turkey.
If we consider the situation in the region, one can say that the Kurdish administration is the best ally of Turkey in the region.
Baghdad and Ankara managed to mend the relations after the resignation of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki. But the sides have many differences. One of them is the "Shiite Militia" formed against the IS militants.
Turkish authorities believe that this militia can lead to new bloody clashes among Muslims in Iraq.
Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq is currently the safest and economically developing region of Iraq.
Turkish construction, textile companies have made a large amount of investments in this region. Moreover, Turkish lira easily competes with the US dollar and Iraqi dinar.
However, the region's economic development depends on oil sale and Erbil is very dependent on Turkey in this issue.
A number of Turkish analysts do not rule out it is more beneficial for Erbil to wait for the creation of a Kurdish state in Syria's north, since namely through these territories Kurds will be able to export oil towards markets bypassing Turkey.
All the more so, earlier, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad pledged to grant autonomy to the Kurds in the country. Despite the political disagreements, the Kurds have united against the "Islamic State", since first of all it is in their interest.
But these forecasts will unlikely come true at least because the fate of regions in Syria's north currently controlled by the Syrian wing of the Kurdistan Workers' Party - Democratic Unity Party (PYD) - is unknown.
Moreover, there is no infrastructure for pumping oil from Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq through Syria's territory to the Mediterranean Sea.
In this case, the only alternative for delivering oil from KRG to the world market is Turkey through the port of Ceyhan.
Ankara has many advantages over Baghdad: both the fate of "Kurdistan" and Iraq's integrity are in Turkey's hands. The time will tell which choice Ankara will make.
Edited by CN
Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency's Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu