Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict
Islamic State (IS) fighters have failed to seize control of the Northern Iraqi giant oil field at Kirkuk, after a tense battle on Wednesday. The Iraqi army and Kurdish peshmerga forces, with help from coalition air strikes, pushed back the IS attack on Kirkuk, though there has been damage to oil facilities. IS is still attempting to take control of the Kirkuk oilfields. Kirkuk is a highly strategic location, which lies in the disputed northern territories between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the central authorities in Baghdad. When IS originally launched its attack on Iraq, Kurdish forces took advantage of Baghdad’s weakened position to take control of the disputed territories; however, in August, IS refocused its offensive on the northern territories, partly pushing back Kurdish forces. Thanks to air strikes, Kurdish forces have regained a fair amount of control over these disputed territories, but IS clearly is eyeing oil-rich Kirkuk, at the heart of the area.
In the meantime, the Kurds continue to make headway in their designs for economic independence through oil exports and their battle to this end with Baghdad. Last week, we noted positive movement in a deal between Erbil and Baghdad to resolve the Kurdish export question. There has been further development over the past week. The KRG has now received most of the promised oil payment from Baghdad in this temporary oil deal. An…