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Kurdish Advances

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From many in the West, this is actually a silver lining in the otherwise bad news of the advance of “ISIS.” From Jonathan Spyer — here’s the subtitle of his report: “With ISIS’s induced violence shaking the region, Kurdish forces quietly make headway in the northern Iraq.”

The stunning collapse of the Iraqi army in Mosul, and the rapid advance of the fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) through Tikrit and toward Baghdad has created a new reality in Iraq.

ISIS advances have continued this week; the organization has now taken the town of Tel Afar, with its 200,000 inhabitants, located west of Mosul.

Iraq is now divided on a de facto basis into a Shi’ite south and center, including Baghdad, a Sunni, ISIS-dominated west and a Kurdish-ruled north.

The biggest winners from this situation, apart perhaps from ISIS itself, are the Iraqi Kurds. The conflict between the Sunni jihadis and the Iran-supported Baghdad authorities has enabled the Kurds to add a number of key building blocks to the nearly completed edifice of Kurdish independence in the area once known as northern Iraq.

Largely ignored by the Western media, the Kurds have been quietly building their autonomy in the three northern provinces of Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Dohuk, granted to them by the Iraqi Constitution of 2005.

A stable political system protected by a powerful armed force of around 100,000 men (the Peshmerga) has been out in place.

In the weeks prior to the current crisis in Iraq, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) began to independently export crude oil, via Turkey, without seeking the approval of Nouri al-Maliki’s government in Baghdad. Maliki struck back by cutting funding to the KRG in Erbil.

Read more: The Jerusalem Post

H/T: Middle East Forum

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