Who Are the Yazidis, the Ancient, Persecuted Religious Minority Struggling to Survive in Iraq?


The U.S. contemplates sending military aircraft and possible ground troops to rescue the Yazidis, as more American military advisers arrive in Iraq to help plan an evacuation of the displaced people.

Photo of displaced Iraqi Yazidis demonstrating demanding more aid.

Displaced Iraqi Yazidis demand more aid at the Bajid Kandala camp in Kurdistan on August 13, 2014.

By: Avi Asher-Schapiro

for National Geographic News

Published August 9, 2014

 

For their beliefs, they have been the target of hatred for centuries. Considered heretical devil worshippers by many Muslims-including the advancing militants overrunning Iraq-the Yazidis have faced the possibility of genocide many times over. Now, with the capture of Sinjar and northward thrust of extremists calling themselves the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS), Iraq’s estimated 500,000 Yazidis fear the end of their people and their religion. In less than two weeks, nearly all the Yazidis of Sinjar have fled north, seeking refuge in Kurdish territory, while thousands remained trapped in the rugged Sinjar mountains, awaiting rescue. “Sinjar is (hopefully not was) home to the oldest, biggest, and most compact Yazidi community,” says Khanna Omarkhali, a Yazidi scholar at the University of Göttingen. “Extermination, emigration, and settlement of this community will bring tragic transformations to the Yazidi religion,” she adds.

 

The Yazidis have inhabited the mountains of northwestern Iraq for centuries, and the region is home to their holy places, shrines, and ancestral villages.  Outside of Sinjar, the Yazidis are concentrated in areas north of Mosul, and in the Kurdish-controlled province of Dohuk. For Yazidis, the land holds deep religious significance; adherents from all over the world-remnant communities exist in Turkey, Germany, and elsewhere-make pilgrimages to the holy Iraqi city of Lalesh. The city is now less than 40 miles from the Islamic State front lines.

 

Map of Yazidi

As the Islamic State continues to swallow up more Yazidi territory, the Yazidis are being forced to convert, face execution, or flee. “Our entire religion is being wiped off the face of the earth,” warned Yazidi leader Vian Dakhil.

While the advance of the militants constitutes a grave threat to Yazidis, persecution has been a painful historical constant for the small religious community almost since its formation.  “This dilemma to convert or die is not new,” says Christine Allison, an expert on Yazidism at Exeter University.

A Misunderstood Religion

The Yazidi religion is often misunderstood, as it does not fit neatly into Iraq’s sectarian mosaic. Most Yazidis are Kurdish speakers, and while the majority consider themselves ethnically Kurdish, Yazidis are religiously distinct from Iraq’s predominantly Sunni Kurdish population. Yazidism is an ancient faith, with a rich oral tradition that integrates some Islamic beliefs with elements of Zoroastrianism, the ancient Persian religion, and Mithraism, a mystery religion originating in the Eastern Mediterranean.

This combining of various belief systems, known religiously as syncretism, was what part of what branded them as heretics among Muslims. While some Yazidi practices resemble those of Islam-refraining from eating pork, for example-many Yazidi practices appear to be unique in the region. Yazidi society is organized into a rigid religious caste system, and many Yazidis believe that the soul is reincarnated after death. While its exact origins are a matter of dispute, some scholars believe that Yazidism was formed when the Sufi leader Adi ibn Musafir settled in Kurdistan in the 12th century and founded a community that mixed elements of Islam with local pre-Islamic beliefs.

Yazidis began to face accusations of devil worship from Muslims beginning in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. While the Yazidis believe in one god, a central figure in their faith is Tawusî Melek, an angel who defies God and serves as an intermediary between man and the divine. To Muslims, the Yazidi account of Tawusî Melek often sounds like the Quranic rendering of Shaytan-the devil-even though Tawusî Melek is a force for good in the Yazidi religion.

“To this day, many Muslims consider them to be  devil worshipers,” says Thomas Schmidinger, an expert on Kurdish politics the University of Vienna. “So in the face of religious persecution, Yazidis have concentrated in strongholds located in remote mountain regions,” he adds.

The Yazidis are not the only religious minority threatened by the Islamic State. Thousands of Christians have fled Mosul since the extremists captured the city in early June. For now, religious minorities are finding refuge in Kurdish territory in the north. But the Islamic State is capturing villages just a few miles from the Kurdish capital of Erbil. With the security of Kurdish territory in doubt, the U.S. launched air strikes on Islamic State positions late last week.

Organized anti-Yazidi violence dates back to the Ottoman Empire. In the second half of the 19th century, Yazidis were targeted by both Ottoman and local Kurdish leaders, and subjected to brutal campaigns of religious violence. “Yazidis often say they have been the victim of 72 previous genocides, or attempts at annihilation,” says Matthew Barber, a scholar of Yazidi history at the University of Chicago who is in Dohuk interviewing Yazidi refugees.  “Memory of persecution is a core component of their identity,” he says.

Isolated geographically, and accustomed to discrimination, the Yazidis forged an insular culture. Iraq’s Yazidis rarely intermarry with other Kurds, and they do not accept religious converts. “They became a closed community,” explains Khanna Omarkhali, of the University of  Göettingen.

Iraqi Yazidi people who fled their homes in Sinjar, enter Iraq from Syria at a border crossing in Faysh Khabur in Dohuk Province, northern Iraq, Aug. 9, 2014.

These Yazidi people, who fled their homes in Sinjar, wait at a border crossing on August 9, 2014.
Photograph by Adam Ferguson, The New York Times/Redux

Victims of Hussein’s Regime

Yet, as Kurdish speakers, Yazidis often share the same political fate as Iraq’s other Kurds. In the late 1970s, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein launched brutal Arabization campaigns against the Kurds in the north. He razed traditional Yazidi villages, and forced the Yazidis to settle in urban centers, disrupting their rural way of life. Hussein constructed the town of Sinjar, and forced the Yazidis to abandon their mountain villages and relocate in the city.

After the United States toppled Hussein in 2003, Iraqi Kurds were given an autonomous region in northern Iraq known as the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). But Sinjar, along with many border regions at the edge of the KRG, remains an area of dispute between the Kurds and the government in Baghdad. The KRG claims Sinjar as Kurdish, while Baghdad still considers the area under its control.

As ISIL sweeps through the Yazidi homeland, Kurds throughout the region are rallying to defend the embattled religious minority. This week, Kurdish fighters from Syria and Turkey crossed into Iraq and joined with the KRG to push back ISIL and secure a safe passage for the Yazidis out of Sinjar. Some Yazidis are even fleeing into war-torn Syria, seeking the protection of Syrian Kurds in the north.

For now, these Kurdish fighters are the only thing standing between the Yazidis and the Islamic State. As he has continued his work with Yazadi refugees, Matthew Barber says that a general panic has set in as hundreds of thousands of new arrivals from western Iraq flood Yazidi villages outside Dohuk, seeking shelter behind Iraqi Kurdish lines. “The Yazidis are terrorized,” he says. Refugees are now calling the mass exodus from Sinjar the 73rd attempt at genocide.

With the help of U.S. air support, the Kurds vowed to retake Sinjar in the coming days. For the Yazidis the stakes are especially high. “It’s difficult to see how Yazidism could exist if they all left northern Iraq,” says Allison. “The struggle is truly existential.”

ISIL rob a bank in Tikrit

The terrorists of the so called Islamic State in Iraq and Levant ISIL stole about seven Billion Iraqi Dinars (about six million US dollars) form a governmental bank in central Tikrit city, the center of Salah-il-Din province, on Wednesday, reportes a security source.

The source added “The gangs of ISIL stormed in the governmental Agricultural Bank of central Tikrit city and stole a cash of about IQD seven billion then they fled to unknown destination.”

 

The terrorists of the so called Islamic State in Iraq and Levant ISIL stole about seven Billion Iraqi Dinars (about six million US dollars) …

via - 

Iraq Buys $1.56 Bln of Gold, Biggest Purchase in 3 Years

Iraq Buys $1.56 Bln of Gold, Biggest Purchase in 3 Years

The Central Bank of Iraq acquired the metal to help stabilize the Iraqi dinar against foreign currencies, it said in an e-mailed statement.
By Khalid Al-Ansary and Nicholas Larkin Mar 25, 2014 6:08 AM

Iraq bought 36 metric tons of gold this month valued at about $1.56 billion in the largest purchase by a nation in three years.

The Central Bank of Iraq acquired the metal to help stabilize the Iraqi dinar against foreign currencies, it said in an e-mailed statement. The country held about 29.8 tons of bullion as of August, according to data on the International Monetary Fund’s website. The latest addition was the biggest since Mexico bought 78.5 tons in March 2011.

While nations purchased about 544 tons in 2012 in the largest accumulation in about five decades, acquisitions slowed to 369 tons last year, according to the London-based World Gold Council. Countries will continue buying amounts in the “hundreds” of tons, the producer-funded council said in February. Bullion prices rebounded 9.2 percent since December, after slumping the most since 1981 last year as demand for a store of value waned.

“Gold is quite attractive to central bankers,” Mark O’Byrne, a director in Dublin at brokerage GoldCore Ltd., which has more than $200 million in bullion under management, said today by phone. “They see it as an important asset diversification and a safe-haven element within foreign-exchange reserves.”

Gold for immediate delivery traded at $1,316.15 an ounce in London, after sliding 28 percent last year. It reached a record $1,921.15 in September 2011. Prices averaged $1,344.78 so far this month, valuing Iraq’s purchase at about $1.56 billion.

Iraq’s Reserves

Adding the amount Iraq said it bought in March to its reported holding in August would make it the 40th-largest holder by country, according to the WGC. The nation has no plans to sell metal from its reserves, Muneer Omran, director general of investments at the central bank, said in an interview in Dubai in January.

Bullion had accounted for less than 2 percent of the nation’s total reserves, compared with about 70 percent for the U.S. and Germany, the biggest holders.

“Demand from the likes of Iraq is important,” GoldCore’s O’Byrne said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean it will lead to higher gold prices per se, but it definitely means that there’s an ongoing demand from central banks that is likely to continue” and should support prices, he said.

Mexico owns about 123 tons of the metal, according to the WGC. Turkey‘s reserves, at about 488.6 tons now, expanded as much as 44.7 tons in July 2012. Bullion has been added to its balance sheet as a result of accepting gold in its reserve requirements from commercial banks.

Economists Divided Over Deletion Of Zeros on Iraqi Dinar

Economists Divided Over Deletion
Of Zeros on Iraqi Dinar

A customer counts Iraqi dinars at a money changer in Baghdad
A customer counts Iraqi dinars at a money changer in Baghdad, Oct. 1, 2012. (photo by REUTERS/Saad Shalash)
By: Amina al-Dahabi for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse Posted on October 1.

The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) has been attempting to delete three zeros from the Iraqi currency since 2003. This project has raised many concerns among the Iraqi public and within the business community, and Iraqi economists are divided. While some support the project and consider it a chance to decrease inflation and unemployment, others warn of economic shocks that may prevail over the Iraqi market as a result of the project’s implementation.

About This Article

Summary :

While the Central Bank of Iraq has been considering deleting three zeros from the currency for several years, economists remained divided over how markets would be affected.

Original Title:
Soon … A New Iraqi Currency
Author: Amina al-Dahabi
Posted on: October 1 2013
Translated by: Joelle El-Khoury

Categories : Originals  Iraq  

Following amendments made by the CBI, implementation of the project has been postponed several times. This is because of fears that are mostly related to the lack of security, the presence of a market open to foreign commodities without any restrictions, the prevalence of counterfeit money in the market and rampant corruption in the country.

The independent Iraqi News Agency (INA) quoted Abdul Hussein al-Yasiri, a member of the Iraqi parliamentary Finance Committee, as saying that 2014 will witness the deletion of zeros from the Iraqi currency. He noted that the deletion will occur in coordination with the CBI, and that as a result of the project, the number of banknotes in circulation will be reduced from 4 billion to 1 billion.

Haider al-Abadi, the head of the Iraqi parliamentary Finance Committee, told Al-Monitor that while deleting zeros from the current currency is possible, this has been postponed until after parliamentary elections. He noted that studies are being carried out to ensure that, following the currency change, counterfeiting is limited and that Iraqis don’t go back to trading in the old currency.

The step to delete zeros from the currency has been postponed several times, leading the parliamentary Economic Committee to demand that the CBI accelerate this project, as Al-Sharqiya reported. In a news conference held July 6, the Economic Committee confirmed that the deletion of zeros will lead to an increase in the value of the Iraqi dinar and will have positive repercussions, including a reduction in unemployment and poverty rates in the country.

Nafee Elias, a financial advisor at the North Bank, told Al-Monitor that the step to delete zeros is merely an administrative process, and the currency equation should remain the same. This means that the purchasing power of the new currency should be equal to that of the old currency. He added that the two currencies should both remain in the market for a period not exceeding three years, then the old currency should be gradually withdrawn. Elias expected problems to arise if debtor-creditor transactions are not set according to the new currency, or there are defects in withdrawal or payment transactions. He added that it is unlikely the change will affect inflation or poverty rates.

Ahmed Faizullah, deputy head of the parliamentary Finance Committee, agreed with Elias. Speaking to Al-Monitor, he noted that the deletion of zeros will not affect the Iraqi dinar’s purchasing power, because the latter is linked to the size of industrial production and imports. He added that the CBI’s hard currency reserves have saved the Iraqi dinar and served as a cover for it. Faizullah called for not applying the project at the moment, because it will confuse Iraqis and disrupt the market.

Amid these views, Enas Mohamed, deputy director at Naseem Al Shemal Brokerage Company, told Al-Monitor that the stock market will be harmed the most by a change of currency and the deletion of zeros. The price of a share is one dinar, so currently 1,000 dinars are equal to 1,000 shares. Following the deletion of zeros, the new dinar will be equal to 1,000 shares, which would further confuse the stock market, which is already muddled as a result of the security situation.

Amina al-Dahabi is a political-economic researcher and reporter trained in the field of oil and energy journalism. She holds a doctorate in American Containment Policy.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/10/dinar-currency-iraq-plans.html#ixzz2gZ9KPHCY

Iraq Central Bank Boosts Gold Reserves

By: Omar al-Shaher for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse. posted on January 7.

Despite the attention given by Iraqi media to the increase of gold reserves, locals are still oblivious to the repercussions of such an act on their daily affairs.

 

The monthly statistical report of the International Monetary Fund stated that over the three months between August and October of last year, Iraq’s gold holdings quadrupled to 31 tons, the first time something like this has happened in years. The value of gold as a strategic reserve has grown over the past few years due to the continued instability of the U.S. dollar exchange rate.

International banks perceive gold as having long-lasting value that is not affected by rapid economic development. Gold can be used to compensate for insufficient cash reserves in the wake of political or economic crisis. In that context, Iraq is probably the country that is most in need of a great deal of gold reserves given its succession of political and economic crises.

“Gold is the first shelter for countries in times of crisis,” said the Iraqi economic analyst Majid al-Suwari.

According to Parliamentary Economic and Investment Committee member Abdul Abass Shiyah, “it is normal for the public not to read between the lines of sharp increases in gold reserves.”

“The Iraqi dinar exchange rate is based on the amount of cash reserves, which include not only money but gold as well,” said Shiyah, a member of the Dawlat al-Kanoun parliamentary bloc led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Gold is the most stable component of official reserves. It will result “in the stability and possibly the improvement of dinar exchange rates,” he added.

Shiyah reiterated that the public will sense indirectly the impact of the increase in gold reserves.

“When the value of imported goods decreases following the increase in the value of the dinar, which directly correlates to the increase of cash reserves, the public will remember the steps the state took to boost gold reserves,” Shiyah added.

The Central Bank of Iraq announced in August of last year that cash reserves had reached $67 billion, which is a first in the country that relies entirely on oil exports to finance its budget.

“The Iraqi reserve is figuratively described as ‘cash,’ but in fact it has multiple components. Iraq owns U.S. dollars, euros, pounds, gold and different types of securities,” said Shiyah.

He added, “The central bank uses a part of its huge reserve to fund major governmental projects. Even though a part of this reserve is disseminated between international banks and benefits Iraq financially, the central bank ought to fund some weighty governmental activities.”

Since 2003, Iraq has had an insignificant cash reserve. Some sources state that those who were in charge of the Iraqi economy during the first months following Saddam Hussein’s toppling converted a ton of gold, which was the only reserve held by the central bank, into cash.

Economic Analyst Majid Suwari said that Iraq’s reserves amounted to $39 billion in 1979; however, Saddam’s policies squandered that fortune. In 2003, Iraq’s debts reached $125 billion.

“The central bank policy is currently based on the diversification of reserves. However, if the policy of purchasing gold had been adopted two years ago when the value of one ounce was about $500 to $600, Iraq would have quadrupled its investment gains,” he added.

He concluded that “this initiative started late, but not too late.” Suwari expects the central bank to pursue the policy of increasing gold reserves amid the government’s spending tendencies.

He clarified that the Iraqi government needs the dinar to cover its huge expenses. The central bank provides it with the necessary Iraqi dinars in exchange for U.S. dollars obtained through the oil trade. Afterwards, the central bank converts dollars to gold.

Omar al-Shaher is a contributor to Al-Monitor’s Iraq Pulse. His writing has appeared in a wide range of publications including France’s Le Monde, the Iraqi Alesbuyia magazine, Egypt’s Al-Ahaly and the Elaph website. He previously worked for Al-Mada covering political and security affairs and as a correspondent for the Kuwaiti Awan newspaper in Baghdad from 2008-2010. 

This article was translated by Steffi Chakti.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/01/iraq-central-bank-gold.html#ixzz2HzKubfJm

CBI- Saleh indicates project to delete zeros postponed until after 2014

Deputy Governor of the Central Bank  Mohammed Saleh, has stated that the project to replace the currency and delete the zeros has been postponed until after the year 2014.

 

 Saleh told / Baghdadiya News /  ” the national project has been postponed for the deletion of zeros until after the year 2014 due to the lack of appropriate political atmosphere to accomplish it ,” pointing out that “the Bank completed all the mechanisms and preparations for the start of the project.
The said project needs the support of government and parliament at the same time” and  unless this is achieved during the last period as a result of the presence of well­ founded fear of initiating such a move by some politicians and ministers and advisers in the government and who attributed it to the lack of appropriate political atmosphere to start with.

 Saleh,said that “any delay of the project we need to start before the New Year, because the state of the process or new system  can not work before this time under the law of the Iraqi Central Bank is likely to postpone the project to early 2014 or later”

CBI Postpones Iraqi Currency Redenomination

Posted on 04 October 2012.

CBI Postpones Iraqi Currency RedenominationThe Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) has ruled out deleting the three zeros from the Iraqi currency in 2013 because it needs time and a new fiscal year.The Deputy Chairman of the CBI, Mudhir Mohamed Salih, told AIN on Wednesday:

“The project of crossing out zeros from the Iraqi currency takes time … The Council of Ministers has instructed to take extra time to consider this project.”

According to AIN, Salih denied “The reports over a malfunction that took place while implementing this project in the exchange rate of the Iraqi Dinar against the foreign currencies.”

The report also said that the Council of Ministers decided during its session on 10th April to postpone the deletion of zeros from the Iraqi currency until further notice.

(Source: AIN)

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Iraqi cabinet urges patience before proceeding with Iraqi Dinar redenominatio

July 06, 2012

“The government prefers to be patient before cutting zeros off Iraqi dinar and its redenomination because it is not a priority at the current stage,” Cabinet Secretary Ali Al Allak told Alsumarianews assuring that cabinet is currently studying possibilities and available circumstances for such a procedure.

 

“We are not sure we can control major money sums’ withdrawal under current circumstances,” Al Allak added calling to be patient because the simple thought of withdrawing, storing and destroying between 30 and 40 trillion dinars requires a serious study.

 

“There are no defects in our currency especially that many countries deal the same way,” he advanced. Finance committee received, on June 26, the deputy governor of Central Bank of Iraq Mazhar Mohamed Saleh to discuss about procedures related to the zeros cutting off, required time and expected changes following the dinar redenomination.

 

“During the meeting with Saleh, Iraqi cabinet approved cutting zeros off Iraqi dinar and its redenomination after it had resolved upon taking time before launching the procedure due to Dollar’s increase in comparison with Iraqi dinar in local markets during past months,” finance committee member Najiya Najib told Alsumarianews on July 3.

 

“Zeros will be cut off Iraqi dinar and the currency will be denominated in January 2013,” Finance Committee member Haitham Al Jabouri advanced on May 15 noting that printing the new currency bills will start in September 2012.(Source)Alsumaria news

Iraq’s oil riches finally being tapped

 

Article by: THE ECONOMIST

June 18, 2012 – 9:31 PM

 

New pipelines stretching into the Persian Gulf near the city of Basra promise to shower Iraq with wealth and turn the nation into one of the world’s biggest oil exporters.

Leighton Offshore, an Australian firm, is installing additional oil-loading buoys to fill tankers with Iraq’s abundant crude.

 

The country claims to have reserves of 143 billion barrels, the third-largest in the world. In April Iraq exported more than 2.5 million barrels a day, more than at any time since the 1980s, earning its treasury almost $9 billion. Total production is now almost 3 million barrels per day, according to OPEC, the oil producers’ cartel.

 

More loading buoys are in the works and, as oil firms invest billions of dollars in Iraq, the industry is booming. By the end of the year, reckons Peter Hitchens, an analyst at the bank HSBC, Iraq’s output will reach 3.5 million barrels a day, a torrent of new oil to quench global markets.

 

Iraq’s production targets are even bolder. Hussein al-Shahristani, deputy prime minister for energy, says that contracts with foreign oil firms should lift output to an outlandish 12 million barrels per day by 2017, a level that would put Iraq on a par with Saudi Arabia, both as an exporter of oil and, if crude prices maintain their recent heights in coming years, as a global spending power.

 

It is unlikely to get anywhere close to that level. Saudi Arabia spent 80 years building its oil industry amid relative peace and stability. Iraq enjoys neither.

 

Sectarian violence persists. A series of bombings on June 13 killed more than 80 people. The government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki depends on a feeble coalition. Despite years of negotiations, Iraq still has no petroleum law, leaving thorny disputes between the federal government and the regions over the control of oil revenue.

 

“All of this recent progress has happened against a backdrop of dysfunction,” said Keith Myers, a Revenue Watch Institute consultant working with the Iraqi parliament on the oil law.

Although the country’s crude is cheap to pump, Iraq hardly provides the bonanza that foreign companies such as BP, Lukoil and Royal Dutch Shell hoped for when they signed deals to develop its big fields. Unrest and crime can impede operations. Trucks being used by one company to conduct seismic surveillance recently disappeared overnight.

 

Graft taints much of the dealmaking. Transparency International, a Berlin-based activist group, ranked Iraq 175th out of 182 countries in its corruption-perceptions index last year.

 

Apart from the tiny coastline near Basra, Iraq is landlocked. So, aside from the new loading buoys, any increase in export capacity depends on pipelines through neighboring countries. One from Kirkuk to Ceyhan, a Turkish port, could be expanded — but with difficulty.

 

Other options are even harder. In recent years the governments in Baghdad and Damascus have talked of a new pipeline to Banias, on the Syrian coast, but civil strife in Syria makes that unlikely for the time being. A pipeline to a port in Saudi Arabia was shut down when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. Saudi Arabia now uses it for natural gas and will not free it for a rival’s oil.

 

Export bottlenecks will keep Iraq’s ambitious production targets a ways off. Hitchens predicts Iraqi output of 7 million barrels per day by the end of the decade — a significant rise, but less than America produces today. At some point Iraq also plans to rejoin OPEC’s quota system, which might further limit exports.

 

Two other issues have the potential to undermine Iraqi production. Some analysts believe Iran, a rival producer increasingly hit by sanctions, could yet use its sway over Iraq’s Shias to spark more unrest. But would Iraqi Arabs really undermine their own prosperity in order to benefit Persian co-religionists?

 

Meanwhile Iraq’s autonomous northern province of Kurdistan has signed dozens of oil contracts with foreign companies, outside central government control. The region holds less oil than Iraq’s south, but the production-sharing agreements being offered to investors are far more enticing.

 

Kurdish leaders believe that, with such big firms involved, they can build their own oil industry. Kurdistan’s regional government has proposed a new pipeline to Turkey, allowing it to bypass the one belonging to the federal government.

 

This could be seen as a step toward Kurdish secession, however, unraveling federal Iraq and creating yet more sectarian fighting. Turkey may be unwilling to support such a move, not least given its own restive Kurdish population.

© 2011 Star Tribune