2009/12/19

The oil well affair

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I encounter many sources the same news; some Iranian combatants have allegedly seized an oil well in Iraqi territory.

That's interesting news; most news sources who report that accepted the Iraqi version of the story by 100%, about 95% didn't even mention an Iranian side of the story. That's quite a slant, considering how difficult it is to really *know* about who's right and if any side is *right* at all.


The anti-Iran bias isn't the most interesting part, of course.

First two historical examples:

(1) Remember the March 2008 Basra operation where the Iraqi security force took control of the city? That was a signal event; it turned the Iraqi prime minister al-Maliki into a strong politician and signaled that the government was about to assume control of the country.
The previous loss of power in the city by British and Iraqi government forces turned out to be more of an opportunity than a problem.

(2) Remember the Checkpoint Charlie face-off between U.S. and Soviet tanks in October '61 (or a history book text about it)? That face-off served demonstrated who was at power in Berlin; the occupying powers, not the German governments (especially not the Eastern German one).

Jump back to today, a stupid oil well somewhere in the Middle East:

The affair is a great opportunity for the Iraqi state to demonstrate sovereignty by addressing it on its own (and a great chance for the U.S. to finalize the nation re-building by staying invisible and mute on the issue!). Photos of how an Iraqi battalion f(of unidentified ethnicity) faces the Iranians with no foreign troops in sight would be a huge boost for Iraq's sovereignty.

The affair might also serve as a unifying moment - an external threat is always great to rally your people behind the government. It's of course questionable to what extent that works in the deeply divided Iraqi society. Maybe it helps at least to reduce the tensions between Arabs and Kurds a bit.

The whole affair is a huge opportunity for Iraq's government.
Now let's hope that the Western powers involved in the region don't do anything stupid.

Sven Ortmann
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1 comment:

  1. This incident is not really about Iran/Iraq, but has to be looked at in a larger perspective.

    As always, Stratfor offers among the best open intelligence and analysis that you can find anywhere:
    http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20091221_iranian_incursion_context

    ReplyDelete

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