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Kurdistan: Raising the Oil & Gas Stakes

Until Sunday, 29 September, Kurdistan (Northern Iraq) has not seen an attack of the kind that plagues the rest of Iraq on a daily basis since 2007.

A series of attacks in the capital Erbil most likely indicate that the conflict in Syria has now spread into Kurdistan. On 29 September, as yet unidentified militants launched a series of attacks in Erbil on the Kurdish security services (Asayish) headquarters. A suicide bomber detonated explosives at the entrance to the Asayish headquarters, which was followed by a shoot-out between Asayish forces and four militants. This scenario was then followed by the remote detonation of an ambulance by a fifth militant. All six militants were killed in the attacks and clashes, along with six Asayish forces. Some 60 other people were wounded throughout the course of the violence.

(The KRG’s security apparatus, the Asayish, operates with a similar mandate to the US FBI, with jurisdiction over economic and political crimes, but operates fairly strictly along party lines.)

For the Kurds of Syria, the conflict in Syria is extremely complex. A number of Kurdish fighting brigades had earlier joined under a single umbrella to fight alongside the rebels and the jihadists against the Assad regime—though they have since found themselves taking up arms against the jihadists. However, the most influential Kurdish group in Syria, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which has its own Asayish security forces, has remained…

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