The Popular Mobilisation Forces in Iraq entered Kirkuk a couple of days ago, and were successful in retaking the city, among others.
Within hours, Kurdish Peshmerga withdrew from the area, after Popular Forces leader, Hadi Amiri, and Kurdish leader, Bafel Talbani, son of the late Jalal Talbani, struck a deal with the government.
Rumour has it that the deal was brokered mainly by Iran’s most power man in the region, Gen Qassem Suleimani, and was overseen by Iraqi Premier, Heidar Abadi.
Leaks suggest that the Americans knew about the Iraqi military operation. They also indicate that the historical dispute between the two large Iraqi parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), has reignited, while Americans stood by.
More so, there are rumours that the Americans actually agreed to the Iraqi military operation in Kirkuk and other Kurdish territories, but demanded that it would be “clean”.
Naturally, these events would reflect significantly on the future of the Kurds’ relationship with the central government in Baghdad, and the very feasibility of establishing the Kurdish state. Especially with Baghdad in control of most of its oil resources.
Internally, this will escalate the conventional disagreement between the two Kurdish groups, between Erbil and Suleimaniyah. The latter was even accused of treason by the Kurds, for turning over the city.
Regionally as well as domestically, in Iraq, these events will have significant effects, as well as on internal policy on the region.
In time, we will be able to revisit these effects in depth, but from the seams of it, I would say that the Kurdish dream is in danger.
Only recently did the Kurds make a move to realise their long-desired independence, with the referendum last month.
Now, it seems that the world has collaborated to put an end to the Kurds’ aspirations of an independent national state.
The very futility of the aspiration is now in question.
State or no state, however, the Kurdish identity has prevailed, and is now clear as daylight. All of the parties involved has broken the threshold of 2011.
Maybe the local, regional, and international players all decided to put off this complex issue, among others, until an all-encompassing accord is delivered. But the truth is that the issue of identities resurging from the depths of the failed nation-state is not exclusive to the Kurds.
There are growing Christian fears from the evolving power of sectarianism in Iraq and Syria. Not to mention the Sunni crisis.
Sunnis, as a Muslim sect face the fear of growing Iranian influence.
Meanwhile, there is the question of minorities.
The entire region, it seems, is seeing an unprecedented implosion of sub-identities, sectarian, racial, ethnic, and religious, all in dispute.
In the meantime, the American position was deliberately vague. They wouldn’t want to cross any one of the parties involved in the region’s demise, because they have interests with each and every one of them.
On the one hand, for instance, the US needs the Kurds, as they have become America’s own ally in the region. On the other, the US do not want to lose the Iraqi government, the Turks, nor any of the other regional forces.
So the Americans declared a neutral position on the current situation between the Kurds and the central Iraqi government.
In conclusion, what happened in these last few days only proves that our whole region is being divided among the regional, domestic, and international powers in play in Syria and Iraq.
So far though, who will take what and how remains unclear, at least for the time being.
It is likely that this regional and global rivalry over ISIS’s leftovers will crystallise soon, with the biggest players being the Iranians and Russians, who have significant influence in Syria and Iraq.
All the while the Americans have developed limited presence in either one of the countries, whereas the Arabs are completely out of the game!
This article is an edited translation of the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.