2014 June 26 Thursday
Can Kurds Hold On To Kirkuk?

McClatchy reporter Mitchell Prothero talked with Kurds in Kirkuk and Western military guys in the Kurdish zone about the capacity of the Peshmerga to hold onto Kirkuk.

“Look, these guys are good,” he said in Irbil, the Kurdish capital, where his company consults for the military. “They’re not like Iraqis, they fight for a nation they believe in and have training, experience, equipment and a good dose of discipline you rarely see in the Middle East. But they’re best fighting at home in their mountains. And they’re at their best fighting around and protecting the Kurds.”

Click thru and read all the comments. It sounds like the Kurds also can not do well in large military units due to clannishness just like the Arabs, but perhaps to a lesser extent. They feel more loyalty to Kurds as a whole than Arabs feel toward larger political units.

ISIS might be more willing to fight hard because some of them come from other countries. They have strong feelings about their cause. Though since the Kurds are Sunnis ISIS is less motivated to fight them.

Will the Kurds ethnically cleanse Kirkuk to make it easier to hold? Already they are only policing the Kurdish areas and this makes the non-Kurdish areas much more dangerous. I expect less ethnic cleansing in Kurdish regions than in Arab regions of Iraq.

The Kurds are in a tough spot with borders on Turkey, Iran, Arab Shiite-stan, and ISIS-stan. The Russian airplanes which Shiite-stan just bought from Russia and Belarus are going to arrive in a few days and could be used against Kurdish units which are guarding Kirkuk. Though that seems unlikely unless ISIS gets kicked way back and the Shiitte government in Baghdad decides it is time to take back Kirkuk.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2014 June 26 09:14 PM 

amac78 said at June 27, 2014 8:33 AM:

Hanging onto oil-rich Kirkuk may prove a challenge for Iraq’s Kurds
By Mitchell Prothero
McClatchy Foreign Staff
June 26, 2014

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