Iraqi Forces Work To Build Buffer Zone Between Iraqi Kurdistan And US-backed Forces In Syria

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Iraqi Forces Work To Build Buffer Zone Between Iraqi Kurdistan And US-backed Forces In Syria

Click to see the full-size map

This is a translation of the text that originally appeared at Colonelcassad Blog

Iranian “proxies” [as the Popular Mobilization Units are described by MSM] and the Iraqi Army emerged near the last border crossing between Rojava and Iraqi Kurdistan. This border crossing has not been under Baghdad’s control before.

Taking control of Faysh Khabur is both strategically and symbolically meaningful, as it defines the border between Rojava [an area controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria] and Iraqi Kurdistan along the Iraqi-Syrian border, and it is gradually falling under the control of Iraq and Iran.

Iraqi high command plans on capturing the border when Barzani refuses to hand control over the border and the oil facilities to Baghdad. It’s worth remembering that Turkish Army troops have been stationed near Silopi since September, and they would likely act according to the agreement with Baghdad. Most probably, the operations of Iranian and Iraqi troops have been coordinated with Erdogan.

Iraqi Forces Work To Build Buffer Zone Between Iraqi Kurdistan And US-backed Forces In Syria

Iraqi forces are working to establsih control over border crossings at al-Qaim and Faysh Khabur. Click to see the full-size map

For now the operation is still ongoing despite the US urging to stop the advancement on the Kurds, and Erbil being ready to make concessions, including abandoning the idea of independence. Both sides are taking casualties. The clashes to the north of Kirkuk, to the north of Mosul, and near the border reflect the desire of Iran and Iraq to take control of as much territory as possible before starting negotiations with the Barzani faction. Of course, the situation would have been much more challenging for Baghdad and Tehran, if Soleimani hadn’t had reached an agreement with the Talabani faction, which undercut the Kurdish unity and stopped them from opposing the Iraqi Army efficiently.

Consequently, sporadic clashes between the Iraqi Army and the Peshmerga have slowed down, but haven’t put a stop to Baghdad’s and Tehran’s plans. If the Kurds let them take Faysh Khabur, Iraqi and Iranian forces will be in control of road traffic to Rojava, and they will be able to blockade both Iraqi Kurdistan and Rojava at the same time. In this scenario, the only way to reach the outside world would be by air, with US help. This will be a distinctive move for Iran in the hybrid war against the US on Syria’s and Iraq’s soil. Taking control over the border will further develop the “Shi’ite Bridge” and put a stop to the Kurdish projects.

The Kurds understand the consequences of losing Faysh Khabur, hence the clashes between the Peshmerga and the Iraqi Army near the checkpoint. If the Kurds lose and withdraw, the hypothetical Great Kurdistan will be aborted, and the US influence both in Rojava and Iraqi Kurdistan will diminish substantially.

Iraqi Forces Work To Build Buffer Zone Between Iraqi Kurdistan And US-backed Forces In Syria

A Peshmerga general was killed in clashes with Iraqi forces. Click to see the full-size image

Iraqi Forces Work To Build Buffer Zone Between Iraqi Kurdistan And US-backed Forces In Syria

Iraqi Army troops are near Faysh Khabur. Click to see the full-size image

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  • WinstonSmith

    They have to becuase eastern Syria is now a US dominion under the ISIS/SDF deals to hand over the land to the Kurds. Kurds in Syria shouldn’t even have a border with Iraqi Kurds, they even speak different languages with different writing systems. Only the US and ISISrael want to join them together.

  • Wegan

    Looks bad for the US plan in the middle east. Too many parameters. You can’t control chaos. The US has to move on before losing face more than it has.

    • Garga

      The US created this chaos and feeds on it. Iraqi government’s move helps to put the flames of chaos down, of course the US sill move to prevent it.
      What business the US has in ME to lose face over is anybody’s guess.

  • John Brown

    The recent Iraqi advances against the Kurds are a massive blow to racist supremacist Israel depriving Israel of over half of its subsidized cheap Iraqi oil being stolen for them by the kurds.

    • Kennethllindsy

      Stolen? Really?

      Oil from Oilfields on Kurdish lands, shipped via Kurdish pipelines doesn’t sound at all like stealing.

      • John Panelli

        It’s theft. The oil belongs to the Iraqi federated state . .

        • Wagner schmit

          Not really.

        • Kennethllindsy

          It’s complicated.
          KRG is due 17% of Iraqi Oil Revenues but the Iraqi Government has only been paying the KRG 11%.
          So legally pursuant to the Royalty Agreement, KRG should be entitled to revenues to make up the shortfall

      • Solomon Krupacek

        kurds built nothing.

  • dutchnational

    Iraq willing to ignore its own constitution while militarily attacking kurds for doing the same.

    Is this double standards?

    • Solomon Krupacek

      thumbdown for kurds

    • Mish

      Never you mind, dutchie

  • Ronald

    Soleimani probably deserv

  • Kennethllindsy

    Who knows what’s going to happen? Probably KRG Barzani screws this up like he did the referendum & Kirkuk.
    Anaysis was actually incorrect on the article though: in fact,

    1. KRG Barzani has an Illegal Blockade going against Rojava, which Abadi will lift; and

    2. US Coalition will continue to send supplies to SDF in Syria, whether via land at Fish Khabur or other entries etc.
    *It’s not that dire for US who ready loads Iraqi trucks in Kuwait Ports and then Iraqis drives them though Iraq and Kurdistan to get to Rojava.
    **If anything, it will probably speed up trucking to have Iraq manage the border.

    • Solomon Krupacek

      ad 2)

      the iraqi war has oficially finished. if iraqi government demands, the yanks must leave iraq

  • 59LesPaul

    The Kurds have learnt nothing. The US will abandon them yet again.

  • That Guy

    YES!, cut them off, so that they can’t trade the oil from Omar oil fields. This way, all of the gains in Omar oil fields would become useless to the YPG, unless they hand the oil fields to the SAA and take a certain percentage of the revenue of these fields (not more than 50%).