Iraq Seized City of Kirkuk from Kurdish Control

A city torn apart. Again.

Photo found @D_abdulkader

A city torn apart. Again.

Thomas Stevens '19, Lunch Writer

Hey, it’s me again. I know this isn’t my usual “Trump this, Trump that” rant, but bear with me, this subject is actually interesting. Yesterday, Iraq seized the city of Kirkuk from Kurdish control. I’ll talk about what I think about Iraq and Kurdistan’s relationship more later, but first, let’s give some background for the situation.

Kirkuk is known for its rich oil fields and its majority-Kurdish population. On maps, it’s categorized as in the territory of the Republic of Iraq, however the rise of and chaos caused by ISIS has stroked instability in the region, testing the already-frail state. Iraq initially abandoned Kirkuk altogether in the 2014 mass expansion of the Islamic State, but the Prime Minister of Iraq, Haider al-Abadi, promised they would return and re-secure the city. The Kurdish Peshmerga, or the autonomous military of the Kurdish state, held the ISIS invaders at bay and under an independence referendum declared the city a part of the state of Kurdistan.

Fast-forward to yesterday. The Iraqi government and the Kurdish state both have US backing, and they don’t like each other, so trouble is abound. 16 Kurdish soldiers were killed, and the city is now under Iraq’s tenuous control.

Trump says he won’t pick sides, and I don’t blame him for stepping carefully (for once), but in my opinion, it is the duty of America to encourage in all places the right to self-determination. If the people of Kurdistan wish to be independent, then it must be, above all, the duty of the United States to act as a mediator to the region and ensure that fair terms are met between the Republic of Iraq and Kurdistan for the independence of Kurdistan and the creation of a stable post-ISIS Iraq region.