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Netanyahu lobbying foreign leaders to help embattled Kurdish forces: report

Kurds raise the flag of Israel during a rally in Erbil, a supporter of the referendum on the independence of the Kurdistan region, 16 September 2017
AFP
The Israeli PM reportedly expressed support for Kurds in phone calls with Merkel and Putin

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lobbied world leaders to come to the aid of Iraqi Kurds as disputed territories they were holding came under attack from the central Iraqi army, Reuters reported Friday.

Netanyahu reportedly expressed support for the Kurds in phone calls with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin and asked that they help prevent "further setbacks" for the independence-seeking northern enclave.

The autonomous Kurdish region lies in the middle of what Netanyahu and other senior ministers have warned is a developing "Shia crescent" stretching between Tehran and Lebanon, which they see as a grave security threat. 

In a lightning operation this week, Baghdad's forces swept through almost all of the territory the Kurds had gained in 2014 during battles with Islamic State, including Kirkuk's key oil fields, virtually confining them to their original three provinces and dramatically curbing the Kurdish Regional Government's oil production capability. 

Baghdad, along with regional powers Iran and Turkey, has been livid at Kurdish leaders for pressing ahead with an independence referendum late last month. 

Israel's national security adviser has also been discussing the Kurdish independence referendum and Baghdad's retaliation with Trump administration officials in Washington DC, the report added. 

Jewel SAMAD (AFP)

“This (territory) is a foothold. It’s a strategic place,” an unnamed Israeli official told the news agency. “It would be best if someone gave them weaponry, and whatever else, which we cannot give, obviously.”

The official also told Reuters that Israel has security interests in the region and the Israeli government sees the region as a military stronghold in its conflict with Iran and Syria.

Israel's intelligence minister on Friday also voiced fears that Baghdad's wresting of territory from the Kurds would continue.

“The issue at present is ... to prevent an attack on the Kurds, extermination of the Kurds and any harm to them, their autonomy and region," Yisrael Katz said in a radio interview, "something that Turkey and Iran and internal Shi‘ite and other powers in Iraq and part of the Iraqi government want,”

Israel has also been a top buyer of Kurdish crude oil since the peshmerga captured the formerly Baghdad-controlled fields in 2014.

However it is unclear if that trade will continue, as companies operating within federal Iraqi territory may be reluctant to sell oil to traders in the knowledge that it is being exported to Israel, an enemy state. 

The six fields taken back around Kirkuk should produce some 340,000 barrels daily. When they were a part of Kurdish territory, they contributed to more than half of the KRG's daily output. 

(Staff with AFP)

Comments

(2)

which must be why nobody is helping the only worthwhile humans in any of those counties.. the Kurds, since so many past US and EU policies do nothing but enable terrorists

Trump. don't be an Obama. provide the Kurds with the weapons they need

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