Tensions seem to be escalating between Baghdad and Irbil, as Kurdistan rolls out its Soviet-built tanks and positions them along its undefined southern border, all aimed at the unseen Iraqi forces on the other side of the town of Tuz Khurmato.
For the past three weeks Kurdish and Iraqi soldiers have been reinforcing their positions around the area, whilst Iraqi Prime Minsiter Nuri-al-Maliki, and Kurdistan’s President Masoud Barzani, have been busy shouting about war and patriotically flying their respective flag. Few, however, actually believe that the whole situation will go that far.
Technically a war would suit neither party. Baghdad would lose out on valuable oil revenues as production wells, or export and import terminals close down during the conflict, and Kurdistan’s growing economy would suffer from the lack of trade and damage to its infrastructure.
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Actually both leaders are thought to be secretly gaining from this situation by consolidating their supporters for upcoming elections in their respective regions.
Maliki has claimed that the Kurdish action of increasing the number of tanks across the border has increased the risk of an unpredictable action leading to regrettable situation. He has warned that, “if it erupts ... it will be a painful, shameful ethnic conflict.”
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com