The UK’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in Erbil, is courting currently one of the most popular men in the Middle East. CCTV’s Tony Cheng reports from Iraqi Kurdistan.
President, Masoud Barzani, had played host to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry two days before. Both men were hoping to persuade the Kurds to remain within Iraq and hold back any thoughts of an independent Kurdistan.
However, it may well take more than a brief courtship to bring the Kurds back into the fold. Peshmerga fighters now control the oil rich city of Kirkuk. A territory they’d long claimed as their historic right, they now have under their control, and there’s no indication they’re going to give it back.
The Kurds now have much greater control over distribution of their own oil – a process that previously had tied them to Baghdad. New refineries and pipelines are able to ship oil directly to Turkey and beyond, and that which isn’t sent via pipeline is shipped out direct by tankers.
It is security that at this stage appears to be the Kurds greatest argument for independence. As the rest of Iraq appears, in the near term, destined for an uncertain future of sectarian violence and political bickering, the Kurdish autonomous areas seem stable and prosperous.
No amount of visits from charming western diplomats is likely to change their minds. Independence has been the dream of the Kurds for centuriesand they’re closer now than they’ve ever been.
UK’s Hague pushes Kurds to support unified IraqThe UK's Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in Erbil, is courting currently one of the most popular men in the Middle East. CCTV’s Tony Cheng reports from Iraqi Kurdistan.
CCTV was joined by Manal Omar from the U.S. Institute of Peace. She’s the Associate Vice President for the Middle East and Africa Center.
Manal Omar on the Iraq conflictCCTV was joined by Manal Omar from the U.S. Institute of Peace. She's the Associate Vice President for the Middle East and Africa Center.
On the political front, the country’s top Shia cleric is calling on Iraqi political parties to select a prime minister and other top leaders within days. CCTV spoke with Hamza Hendawi.
He’s the Associated Press Cairo Bureau Chief, who’s covering events in Baghdad. He has the latest on a key message from influential cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.