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US ‘concerned and saddened’ by Erbil-Baghdad conflict

By Rudaw 24/10/2017
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad on Monday. Photo: Official
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad on Monday. Photo: Official
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Stressing friendship with both Erbil and Baghdad, American’s top diplomat said he was "concerned and a bit saddened" by the recent differences between the central and regional governments.

"I think if both parties commit themselves to a unified Iraq, to a – to the Iraqi constitution, I think all differences can be addressed and the rights of all can be respected and Iraq will have a very secure and a prosperous future," US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in a meeting in Baghdad on Monday evening. 

In a statement last week, the US State Department emphasized its stance that the "disputed" areas remain so and Iraq’s exerting federal control over the areas does not resolve their status. 

In their meeting, Abadi told Tillerson that he does not want to wage war against any of the people of Iraq and that defeating ISIS remained Iraq’s priority. 

Iraqi forces and mainly Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi took control from the Peshmerga of the disputed areas of Kirkuk, Diyala, and Nineveh provinces last week. Clashes have continued this week, with the Peshmerga reporting they repelled Iraqi attacks near Rabia and Makhmour on Tuesday.

Tillerson also met with Iraqi President Fuad Masum, a Kurd from Sulaimani, on Monday.

In their meeting, Masum said Iraq needed to draw on the expertise and experiences of others, particularly the United Nations, "to achieve positive and lasting results on the resolution of the problem of the disputed areas."

He praised the United States for their support in the war against ISIS and "the elimination of dictatorship and the legacy of the establishment of the federal democratic system," according to a statement from Masum’s office. 


Vibe | 24/10/2017
I am concerned and saddened too. How does that help? The Shiite army is marching to Lebanon and Kurds are on their way. Aren't you worried Mr. Tillerson?
FAUthman | 24/10/2017
The relations of both US and Russia with Baghdad and Arbil is key to the future of Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. A lot of rumors Russia is shifting to Baghdad away from Arbil. But Lavrov says our work continues with Arbil but it will be as it has been coordinated with Baghdad. If Baghdad wants to take over KRG oil exports it will then have to pay the 17% of Iraqs budget to to the Kurds and assume Kurds debt of $20 billion. Rosneftft on Sept 18 signed a big gas deal with the KRG, that many say could have encouraged president Barzani to hold the referendum a week later. Now whether this was a sinister plot by Russia to gain more influence with Baghdad and collect its Kurdish debt from Baghdad is another matter! US is committed to the security of Kurdistan and Baghdad and to the country's constitution. Not much choice there! That much we know. But whether Kurds will get their income from independent oil sales or from the budget Iraqi parliament passes. That we do not know! Baghdad may say keep your contracts with IOCs, pay your own debts, and export your own oil. Of course Turkey is key. If it wants to dump Barzani then we know no more KRG oil exports. But I think Turkey, like Russia, may want to work (or use) both Arbil and Baghdad. Things can really fall apart if Iran becomes confrontational and or Abadi loses his job to Maliki next May or Hashd al Shabi goes on a rampage. Although we can see the way forward a bit more clearly now, there still are lots of unknowns and there may be some big surprises ahead like Iraq falling apart and Kurds declaring unilateral independence with the West reluctantly supporting them.
FAUthman | 24/10/2017
Here is some the very good news, it is very significant news that now Russia and not Iraq is in charge of the Kurds pipeline to Turkey. It is right on the border of the KRG territories with the rest of Iraq and Kurds by themselves cannot defend it: "Lavrov was meeting Jaafari days after Russian state oil major Rosneft agreed to take control of Iraqi Kurdistan’s main oil pipeline. Iraqi oil minister Jabar al-Luaibi said on Saturday he had sought clarification from Rosneft." ..LOL!
FAUthman | 24/10/2017
Turkey of course will go along with Russia and keep that pipeline open for Kurdish oil exports from their region and Iraqi exports from Kirkuk. Kurds output will soon increase substantially so would Baghdad's. The likelihood now of Baghdad taking over Kurds oil and gas fields or infrastructure has almost diminished to zero since only a military takeover of the fields of Khormalla, Taq Taq and TAwke would accomplish that for Baghdad and that is not going to happen. Incredible is the significance of this ingenious move by Kurds and Russia to take over the pipeline!!!

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