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Firstly, I am not posting this to criticize the diary currently on the Rec list "Something Weird is Happening in Kurdistan" by bink.

His reaction to the story about Hunt Oil seeking an independent deal with Iraqi Kurdistan is appropriate.

I am just taking this opportunity to point out that there is not too much surprising about Hunt Oil's actions.  The failure of present US Policy in Iraq is inevitable, and opportunistic corporations are putting their money where the future opportunities will be.

On September 14, I posted a diary about the likelihood of a coming partition of Iraq, and presented evidence of the possibilities and pitfalls of Joe Biden's plan to preemptively partition Iraq, which balances our clear need to withdraw with humanitarian concerns about what happens to the Iraqis we leave behind.

Although I certainly am not announcing a Biden for President endorsement, his Iraq plan is the most serious and thoughtful of any I have read.  Indeed, the Brookings institute published a major analysis (PDF) of partition in June, suggesting partition was the best "Plan B" if (when) our present strategy of a strong central government failed.


The reality of why Hunt Oil is making a deal with Kurdistan

I believe that (unlike our Government) American business are responding to the clear failure of our policies and positioning themselves to profit from the eventual reality of partition:

  1.  If our strong centralize government plan fails (as it looks to do), then Iraq will partition, either softly (with our and the UN help, "Soft Partition") or violently (auto-segregation along sectarian lines, "Hard Partition").
  1.  The Kurds sit on 15% of Iraqi Oil Reserves.  They are most happy about removal of Saddam and possible partition and hence the most favorable toward US interests long term.  Kurdistan is relatively safe and stable now, and their present leaders will likely remain leaders if partition comes.
  1.  Sunnis (with 20% population and less than 10% oil reserves) in partition will be left without major oil reserves and will be seething at the loss of empire perpetrated by De-Baathification.  Forget about a Pro-US regime with American business opportunities.
  1.  Shiites and all their oil will likely fall under Iranian influence.  There may be future access for US corporations, but the fact of the matter is that there is no one for US corporations to deal with at present.  The present US-backed Shia politicians are likely to be discarded in a new autonomous Shia region/state.


Summary

US corporations are playing the odds of an ultimate US policy failure and positioning themselves for profiting from partition, targeting the region most likely to remain stable in partition.

Hard or soft partition certainly makes Iran stronger, and this is the reason the Neocons in power now are loathe to consider it.  Hard partition precipitated by US withdrawal also has the potential of generating a perpetual Sunni "terrorist breeding ground" based on their marginalization and impoverisation.  This is why Brookings and Biden favor a US/UN supervised "soft partition".  Although Bush will never willingly accept partition, his friends are seeing that he will be gone soon and we will re-enter reality-based domestic and foreign political rules.  The likelihood is that regardless of who comes next in the Oval office, US policy will lean toward soft partition as the only way to escape Iraq without chaos and totally sacrificing our interests in the region.

Originally posted to drational on Sat Sep 22, 2007 at 09:33 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Partition is an unpopular solution (17+ / 0-)

    for many reasons, but it's pretty clear that big money is betting on it.

    Read the Brookings report in the link above.

    •  Show me a partition in history that worked out... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marie, frandor55, Sura 109

      India/Pakistan was ugly.  Yugoslavia was ugly.  Korea was ugly.  Vietnam was ugly.  China IS ugly.  Palestine is VERY ugly.

      Trying to emulate the Paris Conference (1919-1920) is a bad idea.  And, these people live neighborhood-by-neighborhood in Iraq.  Segregation/partition is a bloody affair.

      It may be somewhat less ugly than other choices, but pity the fools in the crossfire.

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man. I wish I was a moron, My God! Perhaps I am! -Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Sat Sep 22, 2007 at 09:41:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Czechoslovakia worked out (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        luckylizard

        though perhaps it was already de facto partitioned.

        OTOH you can add Cyprus to that list, and possibly Ethiopia/Eritrea.

        Osama has killed his thousands, and Bush his tens of thousands.

        by Sura 109 on Sat Sep 22, 2007 at 10:00:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The partition of Czechoslovakia (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          polecat, MarketTrustee

          was not imposed on them by force from an outside power.

          What FDR giveth; GWB taketh away.

          by Marie on Sat Sep 22, 2007 at 10:25:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Different Peoples, Different Traditions (0+ / 0-)

          The Czechs, Moravians and Slovaks just happened to come from a background similar enough yet different enough to make a peaceful partition possible.  For starters, the people are pragmatic enough to know when to throw in the towel.  They might not like the deal being dealt, but they figure they can work their way through it somehow.

          Unlike the Shiites and the Sunnis, the Czechs, Moravians and Slovaks didn't have any overwhelming religious differences (the Utraquists having passed on long ago)fueling sectarian violence.  They did't have strong language differences (Czech and Slovak are very, very close linguistically) like the Iraqi Arabs and the Kurds to spark ethnic violence.  Further, the Czech, Moravians and Slovaks had access to the news  and physical proximity about what was happening in the former Yugoslavia to understand that that route was insanity, which the residents of Iraq may or may not have had.  Consider it a confluence of benevolent factors in everybody's favor.  A civil war in the heart of Europe could have been messy.  It's how the Thirty Years War started.

          "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

          by PrahaPartizan on Sat Sep 22, 2007 at 10:51:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Big religious differences and (0+ / 0-)

            differences in how much oil each would have. I think it's the oil and they use the religious differences to propagandize the masses.

            Anyone who has been tortured, remains tortured. Primo Levi The Drowned and the Saved

            by abbeysbooks on Sat Sep 22, 2007 at 02:25:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Iraq was not a "nation" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tmo, trevzb

        until Britain and France decided it was.  That is one of the reasons why they are having so much trouble without a dictator to hold them together.  I don't know if partition will work but I am equally skeptical that unity has much of a chance, either.  

        "We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace." - Walter Mondale

        by luckylizard on Sat Sep 22, 2007 at 10:32:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  What is the alternative? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        polecat, abbeysbooks

        More Bush Plan?
        Walking away?

        We stepped into a ditch.
        There is no easy solution.

    •  You might want to add (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drational, pickandshovel, luckylizard

      the information that's beginning to surface about Saudi Sunni activity in Iraq territory inhabited by the Kurds.

      My guess is that the oil companies are only banking on the US occupation continuing for ten years -- to keep the Shia and Sunni to busy in So. Irag fighting each other and US. They can make a lot of money in those ten years and if things work out for them so that they  can stay long, so much the better.

      What FDR giveth; GWB taketh away.

      by Marie on Sat Sep 22, 2007 at 10:30:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well some parts have more oil than other parts (0+ / 0-)

      You know some animals are more equal than other animals.

      The kurds have the most oil I think and they want to keep it. Understandable.A strong central govt can emerge after the individual tribes decide to have it. After all in the US the states were supreme until the Consitutional convention. And the members were educated, literate, and schooled in grass roots democracy and still they had to fight it out and compromise without getting out the guns.

      The Iraqis are just not there yet. The tribal members are more primitive. The secular Sunnis ae educated and sophisticated but they have been decimated by all this. The professionals have fled the chaos. Who can be an intellectual or run a profitable business in the mess we have created. I tend to think we wanted chaos so as to get another right wing dictator that we could control. We had Saddam under our thumb for a long time, since 1959 and we don't want change. We also cut a hunk off the area and renamed it Kuwait so it was understandable that Saddam wanted to bring it back.

      Jeesus, the ignorance everyone displays about this area is the cause of the problem.

      Anyone who has been tortured, remains tortured. Primo Levi The Drowned and the Saved

      by abbeysbooks on Sat Sep 22, 2007 at 02:19:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's the realpolitik (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drational

    and what is capitalism other than capitalising on the realpolitik.

    It's just a shame that oil money and peace are so often mutually exclusive, and that because money is power and peace is not, money always wins.

  •  Kurdistan loves us and would likely even welcome (4+ / 0-)

    a US base in their territory.  (Voila: our democratic ally in the mideast!)  As long as we can keep Turkey and Kurdistan from going to war, their independence could be just fine for the US.

    The Shiite south would no doubt ally with Iran but will not be controlled by them, given the divisions and suspicions of Arabs vs. Persians. The Iraqi Shiites' sense of identity would not allow them to be swallowed by Iran.  Furthermore, with the growing secularization of the Iranian people, we are likely to see a very different Iranian government in the future--one that may even become another ally in the mideast.

    The Sunnis present the toughest dilemma.  Hopefully a fair oil sharing plan could keep them out of poverty . With their own defined sandbox to rule, they could potentially restore a sense of pride and self-determination leading to a healthy society.

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember the professionals use water."

    by Happy Days on Sat Sep 22, 2007 at 09:52:28 AM PDT

  •  Juan Cole writes that the Peshmerga are buying (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    frandor55, MarketTrustee

    and Kurdistan is facilitating arms smuggling in Iraq. Not Iran.

    The US arrested another Iranian and Kurdistan has called foul on that arrest and said it was "illegitimate."

    SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq — U.S. troops arrested an Iranian man during an early morning raid on a hotel in this northern Iraqi city Thursday and accused him of helping to smuggle a deadly type of roadside bomb into Iraq.

    But the Kurdistan Regional Government in a statement called the arrest "illegitimate," said the man was a member of a trade delegation that had been invited to Sulaimaniyah by the local government and demanded that he be released.

    "Actions like these serve no one," the statement said.

    The US kidnapped another Iranian from Iraqi Kurdistan, alleging that he is an officer in the Quds Force section of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and an arms smuggler. The Kurdistan Regional Authority says that he is Aghai Farhadi, a trade representative of Kirmanshah Province in Iran.

    Either the US suspicions about Farhadi are baseless, or the Kurds are the major conduit for Iranian arms into Iraq. Five other Iranians were kidnapped from Irbil by the US military. Farhadi would not be doing what he was doing in Sulaimaniya unless he was the guest of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. If he was smuggling in arms, he was smuggling them to the Peshmerga, the Kurdish paramilitary, which is allied with the United States. Presumably this means that the Peshmerga is either transfering the weapons to the Badr Corps or selling the arms off on the Iraqi black market. If this scenario is correct, then it is pure propaganda for the USG to complain so loudly and bitterly about Iranian meddling in Iraq, when it is being facilitated by some Kurds, who are in turn putative US allies.

    Also of note, five (5) aides to al-Sistani have been assassinated since late August.  Sistani supports a unified Iraq.  Most Iraqis want a return to a unified Iraq.

    <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

    by bronte17 on Sat Sep 22, 2007 at 11:18:56 AM PDT

  •  I Don't Mind Criticism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DHinMI, drational

    My diary entry was speculative and ended with the question, "What do you think?"  As is often the case, certain comments made in the diary entry were more illuminating than my original post.

    The reason why recent events struck me as "weird" in Kurdistan, I suppose, is because how sharply they diverge from the narrative about Iraq and its future currently being promoted by the Bush Administration.

    DHinMI argued quite convincingly that its incompetence to blame here, rather than duplicity.  I'm not entirely convinced.

    I think Sen. Clinton would make a very good president.

    by bink on Sat Sep 22, 2007 at 02:07:30 PM PDT

    •  Well for sure (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bink

      This posting was not a frontal assault on your line of reasoning.
      there are lots of reasons to be concerned about a bush crony circumventing/undermining US policy in dealing with the Kurds.

      I just wanted to point out that it may have a very simple, if materialistic and calculating, answer.

      Thanks for visiting here tho.
      I like your work.

      •  No ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DHinMI, drational

        Thank you ... I have linked this entry in an update to my diary post.

        I think Sen. Clinton would make a very good president.

        by bink on Sat Sep 22, 2007 at 02:57:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks bink (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bink

          by the way that you have treated criticism in your diary update and comments, I can see you are an intellectually honest person, and certainly an asset to this site.

          I may have disagreed that it was surprising, but you nailed the impropriety of it all so I recd and tipped your diary.

          see you around.

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