Oil has played a significant role in creating and sustaining states in the Middle East. Since the Qajar Shah of Iran signed the first oil deal with William D’Arcy in 1901, oil money has been used to centralize power, fund an era of modernity, and build elaborate welfare states across the Middle East. Could Iraqi Kurdistan be the next state to buy its independence with oil? Unfortunately, the cards still seem to be stacked against Kurdish independence. Continue reading
It has not been an easy month for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Domestically, the Basra Provincial Council announced a lawsuit against the national Ministry of Oil and the central government in Baghdad is still locked in arguments with the Kurdistan
Regional Government (KRG) over the issuance of exploration permits and oil payments. More significantly, the worsening crisis in Syria, continuing talks over an attack on Iran’s nuclear program, and Turkish attacks on Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq are testing Maliki’s foreign policy and domestic sovereignty credentials. This week, facing a menage-a-trois of American, Iranian, and Turkish interests in Iraq, Maliki decided to send some powerful messages. Continue reading
A very interesting piece published on al-Monitor’s website today argues that Turkey has overestimated its ability to facilitate a Sunni Arab-Kurdish partnership capable of advancing Turkish interests in Baghdad.
Interestingly, the piece credits Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for playing up Iraqi-Arab nationalist sentiments among Iraqi Sunnis to rally them against Kurdish and Turkish influence. Continue reading
Any discussion of minority identities in Mesopotamia almost always ends with one group, the Kurds.This week’s class discussion about the League of Nations mandate system in the post World War I Middle East coupled with current events sparked an interest in the Kurdistan region. Kurdistan is a subject which is often brushed over when learning about the Middle East. Certainly, this can not be due to any lack of importance in the region. A quick search of recent headlines Continue reading