Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Referendum to annex oil-rich Kirkuk by Kurdistan delayed yet again

From day one the new Iraqi constitution required local border regions to hold referendums defining whether they were to be part of Iraq proper, or whether they were to be consolidated into the autonomous Kurdistan region, which has its own regional government and security forces. The deadline for holding the referendum has passed without the oil-rich Kirkuk region deciding its own allegiance, blocked by the Iraqi parliament in violation of the constitutional requirement, over concern the vote would favor joining Kirkuk to Kurdistan, thereby stripping Iraq of direct control over its vast oil reserves.

Last month, according to an article published today (July 14, 2009) at radiofranceinternationale (rfi.fr), the Kurdistan regional assembly passed the text of the draft constitution which would officially join Kirkuk and other parts of Nineveh and Divala provinces into Kurdish territory.

Once again, the Iraqi parliament, which must approve a regional vote on the measure, is expected to delay the procedure, according to Mahmud Othman, a Kurdish parliamentarian. According to the rfi.fr article, on July 6th Iraq's electoral commission "ruled out holding the referendum on the same day as parliamentary and presidential polls" that are to take place July 25th, 2009.

In response to the draft constitution, "Turkmen residents of Kirkuk are now seeking the right to arm themselves in self-defence", implying the results of such a vote would spark violence between the Kurds and Turkmen, as well as Arabs, living in the region located to the north of Iraq proper.

Certainly such a conflict is inevitable, as foreseen by the prophet Jeremiah -- "I am going to arouse and bring up against Babylon a horde of great nations from the land of the north, and they will draw up their battle lines against her; from there she will be taken captive... And Chaldea will become plunder; all who plunder her will have enough... A sword against her treasures, and they will be plundered... The LORD has aroused the spirit of the kings of the Medes, because his purpose is against Babylon to destroy it" (Jer. 50:9-10,37; 51:11).

The Kurds live in a mountainous region once populated by the ancient peoples known as the Medes, and may even claim direct descendancy from them. The treasures of Babylon -- the rich oil fields of Kirkuk -- are becoming a flash point for conflict between them and the Chaldeans, the present-day arab Iraqis.

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