News / Middle East

Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oili
X
Jeffrey Young
July 20, 2014 8:54 PM
The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong.

Kirkuk, in northern Iraq, has fabulous oil wealth. It is an ethnically divided city. For years, Kurdish, Arab and Turkmen factions fought each other. Then, insurgents including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - or ISIL - unleased their terror.

In June, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Peshmerga troops, reputed to be some of the toughest fighters in this region, moved into Kirkuk to restore stability, and to protect the oil beneath it.

A monument in Kirkuk, a well-head surrounded by swords, is highly symbolic of both the value of the province’s oil, as well as the fight to control it.

Peshmerga member Mohamed Swani explains that Kirkuk’s oil now belongs to Kurds, not Baghdad, which objects to the takeover.

“Now, this place is Kurdistan. The oil is for Kurdistan. We must keep the oil, and the defense of the land, for all the places in Kurdistan.”

This reporter went out with the Peshmerga on a security patrol, to see how they keep the city and province safe, as well as the oil the Kurds want for their hoped-for independent state.

We left the military compound and pulled out into the street, our vehicle packed with troops, guns always at the ready.

The ride can be wild and bumpy, but the message put out by every Peshmerga patrol is clear - order will be kept, and those who challenge it face the barrels of many guns.

Since these Peshmerga patrols began in June, Kirkuk has enjoyed more peace than at any time in the past decade. While this patrol covers the city, other Peshmerga units have been out in the province driving out ISIL and other insurgents.

Some Iraqi government troops dropped their guns and ran when ISIL swept into Iraq, but the Peshmerga did the opposite - they engaged ISIL, known as Dash - and drove them out. Peshmerga Kamal Mohamed Mustapha explained.

“You know, Dash came - to try to control Kirkuk. But when we heard about Dash trying to do that, we came over to Kirkuk, and took Kirkuk from them. We kicked them out of Kirkuk now,” said Mustapha.

The Kirkuk oil field and its pipeline, and oil patch, Bai Hassan, are under Kurdish control.  Their pipelines are now rerouted to send the oil north and on to Turkey, to the port of Ceyhan.

Iraq’s central government has angrily reacted to the KRG’s takeover of Kirkuk and these oil fields. But the Kurds have made it clear that they will not give them back to Baghdad. This oil, as Kamal Mohamed Mustapha says, guarantees the viability of an independent Kurdistan.

“This oil is the future of Kurdistan, so if there is no oil, there is no future,” says Mustapha.

The Peshmerga say that if Baghdad wants to take Kirkuk back by force, they are ready to fight.


Jeffrey Young

Jeffrey Young came to the “Corruption” beat after years of doing news analysis, primarily on global strategic issues such as nuclear proliferation.  During most of 2013, he was on special assignment in Baghdad and elsewhere with the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).  Previous VOA activities include VOA-TV, where he created the “How America Works” and “How America Elects” series, and the “Focus” news analysis unit.

You May Like

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

New methods for mapping pain in the brain not only validate sufferers of chronic pain but might someday also lead to better treatment More

Sierra Leone's Stray Dog Population Doubles During Ebola Crisis

Many dog owners fear their pets could infect them with the virus and have abandoned them, leading to the increase and sparking fears of rabies More

Fake, Substandard Medicines Pose Global Challenge

So-called 'fake drugs' include expired medicines, those with manufacturing defects, and bogus tablets More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: sam from: us
July 21, 2014 11:02 PM
kirkuk is belong to kurdish of course the going to keep it.

by: tedD from: usa
July 21, 2014 10:25 PM
Russia and China will veto a Kurdish state.

by: Tracy Ultican from: Minnesota
July 21, 2014 10:15 AM
I have read about the Kurds for a number of years. These people started as a organized rebel group during Sadam's regime and have fought the Turks. If we go back farther in History they once ruled the area they now have during the Automn Empire. The Kurds will prevail in this area and if the USA is smart they will side with them. They are more pluraistic than Bagdad, enjoy democracy and are fairly forward thinking when it comes to women's rights.

by: redmanrt from: Jacksonville, FL
July 21, 2014 8:44 AM
Mosul is next.

by: Anonymous
July 21, 2014 6:23 AM
Do you think ISIS can challenge 500K syrian Army and Iraq's government but not the Kurdish regions? Conspiracy theories about Kurds and ISIS cooperating is correct. The mutual aim is to disintegrate Iraq.
In Response

by: Jeffrey Young from: Back in Washington
July 25, 2014 7:47 PM
Anonymous: Your "conspiracy theory" about ISIS (ISIL) and the Kurds cooperating "to disintegrate Iraq" holds not a drop of water. I was with Peshmerga forces which engaged and killed Dash (ISIL) that they engaged. Pehmerga liquidate Dash. Watch the video embedded in this piece. Why do you post such things? So that someone might believe it? I have lived in the ME for a long time. I know what you are.

by: Free Man
July 21, 2014 3:59 AM
Good for the Kurds. Kirkuk was historically Kurdish until Saddam Hussein force populated it with Arabs to gain influence there. I wish the Kurds all success in their independence.

by: Anonymous
July 21, 2014 3:55 AM
Seems like the Kurds on the only entity in Iraq that have their stuff together. They should keep Kirkuk,
In Response

by: Anonymous
July 21, 2014 6:23 AM
Don't believe what ever you see. Look deeper.

by: James from: St. Paul MN
July 20, 2014 9:21 PM
Nothing like writing an article on month old news as if was new. What did you do copy and paste articles from june because you where in a hurry.
In Response

by: Jeffrey Young from: Back in DC from Iraq
July 25, 2014 7:53 PM
Excuse me, sir. I was live, on the scene, producing my pieces from the video I was shooting as it was happening. The statements given to me were made on Wednesday, June 16 - the day I went out on the Kirkuk security patrol with the Peshmerga. "Copy and paste articles?" You have no position or point here. Regards.

by: US
July 20, 2014 8:31 PM
"The Peshmerga say that if Baghdad wants to take Kirkuk back by force, they are ready to fight."
So the truth comes out, ISIS is viewed by Kurds as liberators.
In Response

by: Jeffrey Young from: Back in DC from Iraq
July 25, 2014 8:02 PM
"So the truth comes out, ISIS is viewed by Kurds as liberators." Not hardly, sir. I know firsthand, as this article and video confirm. The Kurdish Peshmerga is hunting down and killing Dash (ISIL) so that the entire province (Governate) is secure. I was not involved in a live fire engagement with Dash, but I did come up on a combat scene about 18 hours old. It was rather clear that the Peshmerga liquidated the insurgents. The oil beneath the ground in Kirkuk is the future of an independent Kurdistan. What I said in my piece is true: the Kurdish Peshmerga will fight the Iraqi army fiercely if Baghdad moves to try to retake Kirkuk from the KRG. But to suggest that Kurds are pleased that Dash severed a large piece of Sunni Iraq is something I cannot support. Regards.
In Response

by: NA from: NA
July 21, 2014 1:38 AM
wrong ..it was an opportunity for them to gain independence in the face that their own govt were cowards....

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs