Profile image
Story Views

Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:

ISIS update 2/4/2016..UN envoy announces pause in Syria peace talks

Thursday, February 4, 2016 11:33
% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

(Before It's News)

UN envoy announces pause in Syria peace talks

UN envoy warns of consequences if Syria talks fail

Syria peace talks to take longer than expected

Syria opposition threatens to quit suspended talks

Syrian talks paused ‘in part’ because of Russia, US State Dept claims


Grounds to Believe Turkey Planning Invasion of Syria

Russia: Turkey breaching open skies treaty

US denies abandoned airbase reconstruction in Syria amid numerous reports

Iraqi Kurd Leader Wants Independence Referendum: “The Time Has Come And The Situation Is Suitable”

Iraq probably didn’t need to become any more fractious.

The country is deeply divided along sectarian lines with the Shiite government effectively making up for lost time spent under Saddam by marginalizing Iraq’s Sunni minority in the wake of the US invasion that ousted the Ba’athists.

Complicating matters is the presence of Islamic State (which in its early days recruited from the ranks of Saddam’s conquered security apparatus), who still control the country’s second-largest city as well as several oil fields.

And then there are the Kurds, whose semi-autonomous status has gotten less “semi” the more chaotic the country becomes.

As we recounted in detail back in November, a key point of contention between Erbil and Baghdad is oil revenue. SOMO wants the KDP to transfer some 500,000 b/d of oil production to SOMO and in return, the Kurds are supposed to get 17% of Iraqi oil proceeds.

Without delving too far into the specifics, just know that the two sides have never really been able to come to a comfortable and/or lasting consensus and so, the Kurds have moved to export their oil independent of SOMO to the tune of some 630,000 b/d. The revenue from those sales is Erbil’s lifeblood and the money also pays the salaries of the Peshmerga – the Kurdish fighters who have proven to be particularly effective at battling ISIS and who are allied closely with the American boots on the ground in the country.

Now, in a move that’s sure to irk Baghdad, Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani has declared that “the time has come and the situation is now suitable for the Kurdish people to make a decision through a referendum on their fate.”

In other words, Barzani wants to see what his people think about the prospect of declaring statehood.

“The chaos created by Islamic State’s occupation of swathes of Iraq and Syria has given Kurds a chance to further their long-held dream of independence,” Reuters writes, adding that “the region is currently struggling to avert an economic collapse.”

Barzani was careful to say that the referendum wouldn’t necessarily lead to a formal declaration.

“That referendum does not mean proclaiming statehood, but rather to know the will and opinion of the Kurdish people about independence and for the Kurdish political leadership to execute the will of the people at the appropriate time and conditions.”

Right. It’s not entirely clear what’s “appropriate”, but one has to think that if ever there were a “time” that was not “appropriate,” it would be now.

“Both the referendum on independence — which Iraq’s federal government opposes — and the issue of which areas it covers will raise tensions between the autonomous Kurdish region and Baghdad, potentially complicating anti-IS efforts,” AFP writes. “The region officially includes three provinces, but Kurdish forces now hold parts of four more over which the federal government wants to maintain control.”

Specifically, Baghdad won’t be keen on giving up Kirkuk, the oil-rich province in the north currently held by the Peshmerga.

It’s also unclear if Barzani could count on Recep Erdogan to support independence. As AFP correctly notes, “Turkey fears that having a Kurdish state on its southern border, or even moving toward one, could increase calls for similar action within its own territory.” In other words, it could embolden the PKK and the HDP whose politicians have called for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey.

Additionally, the harsh economic realities that accompany sub-$30 crude would make an independence push even more difficult. “There is no on-the-ground justification for a referendum now,” Kirk Sowell, a Jordan-based political risk analyst who spoke to AFP said. “You don’t form a state when you are in the middle of an economic collapse.”

Some have suggested that Barzani is simply attempting to foment a bit of expedient nationalism to rally the people. As Reuters goes on to point out, “Barzani’s mandate as president expired last year, but he remains in office.” In short, he could be out to create a distraction.

“The same way that Scotland, Catalonia and Quebec and other places have the right to express their opinions about their destiny, Kurdistan too has the right, and it’s non-negotiable,” Barzani declared.

We imagine Baghdad begs to differ.

Baghdad residents react to Iraqi Kurdish leader’s statements

Spokesperson Kirby on Russian Airstrikes in Aleppo, Syria

Syrian govt forces cut militants’ supply route, break siege

Syria regime forces press advance in north Aleppo

Syria – First moments of breaking the siege of Nubbul (Nubbol) and al-Zahraa towns in Aleppo

Army tightening noose on militants in Aleppo city

Mass celebrations inside the towns of Nubbul and al-Zahraa in Aleppo province

Heavy Clashes between the Syrian Army and Militants in Maarastat al-Khan in Aleppo

Syrian army advances in Atman town in Daraa province

Russian SU-24 Destroys ISIS Tank near Palmyra

International Military Review – Syria, Feb. 4, 2016

US ready to take action against ISIL (Daesh) in Libya

Hammond rejects idea of sending combat troops to Libya


Iranian Quds Force Advisors, Syrian Army, Hezbollah, Iraqi Units Replace Popular Forces in Nubl

Syrian Militants North of Aleppo Agree to Fight Alongside Gov’t Forces

Top Commander: US Seeking to Assassinate General Soleimani

Iranian General Killed in Syria

Army Fires over 100 Rockets at Terrorists’ Positions after Breaking Siege of Nubl, Al-Zahra

Aleppo: Kuweires Area Still Scene of Fierce Clashes between Army, Militants

Syrian Army Advances in Northern Aleppo

ISIL Positions near Deir Ezzur Blown up by Syrian Army Missiles

Syrian Army Blocks Terrorists’ Supply Routes at Turkish Borders


Report abuse


Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Top Stories
Recent Stories



Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.