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In a memo to British Intelligence in 1916, Thomas Edward Lawrence -aka Lawrence of Arabia- described a hidden plot behind the Arab Uprising: ‘The Arabs are even less stable than Turks. If the Arabs are properly handled, they would remain in a state of political mosaic, a tissue of small, jealous, principalities, incapable of cohesion… incapable of co-ordinated action against us… …. When war broke out, an urgent need to divide Islam was added.’

The principle of ‘Divide and Rule’ is long known foreign policy axiom and that was again shown itself with the western efforts on keeping the four principal oil producing areas (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran and Iraq) under separate political control.

Then after the collapse of the Soviet Empire, the West began to support Islamist tendencies within each country and also worked hard to create strong and binding relationships with Islamic, pro-western monarchies in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Jordan. These relationships endure to this day. (*)

Except that, the balance shifted with President Erdogan’s strong hold in Turkey…

Turkey is currently experiencing a measure of turbulence in its relations with the West, particularly with both the United States and the main players of the European Union. While at the same time suffering a degree of isolation within the most Middle Eastern countries; on the contrary, Turkey rapidly improving its relationships with Russia as well as the other major Asian countries (such as China, Pakistan, Indonesia, India, Japan, and South Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore).

Undeniably, Asian states’ readiness to engage in dual and multilateral partnerships increased their openness to the cooperative measures introduced by other Eurasian states like Russia and Turkey as well.

While Turkey (TR) continue shifting its focus from Western orientation towards the East, strengthening relationships with Asia’s giants, brought an opportunity of ‘turning the matter into another diplomatic bargaining chip’ for Turkey, especially towards U.S. and the EU.

Particularly when Russia entered into the same game as an irresistible frenemy…

All things considered, alike Turkey, Russia is also re-shaping its foreign and regional policy, while the Middle East is experiencing major conversion and tendency to take sides either with TR and RUSSIA or the US and EU front holds.

For now, while TR and RUSSIA enjoying their solidarity and promising to bring stability to wherever the stretch reach, will be imminent that the both countries introduce more influence in their targeted regions, and both will stand against the ultimate US & EU agendas.

Yet needless to explain again that, the impact of declining Turkey-US relations is a major factor in the improved ties between Moscow and Ankara.

Nothing Happens Independently…

Therefore, US President Trump’s surprising U turn on abandoning the Kurds in the North Syria was well calculated long-term plan (which I have highlighted some possible considerations on my previous article -written in Turkish language-). After all, the most outstanding idea of this plan was ‘focusing on the oil reach soils; re-shuffling the Kurdish mass while even creating possible diversion towards Iraq’.

As noted in CNBC news ‘Crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan area and the disputed areas flows through the Iraq-Turkey Pipeline controlled by the Kurds. Another pipeline to Turkey operated by Baghdad has been repeatedly bombed by ISIS militants and will take several years and hundreds of millions of dollars to repair (according to RBC Capital Markets). Again, also as highlighted by Goldman Sachs, the high-value and low-cost oil from the Kirkuk region creates an incentive for both sides to keep oil flowing’.


As US President Trump’s part of the ‘divide to rule’ agenda, intensely effecting much smaller Kurdish mass in Syria (compared to Iraqi Kurds) and turning them into the ‘casualties of war’ will highly likely continue till the rift is being repaired again, one day after a bigger uncertainty being caused again in Iraq.

Today, nearly 90% of Iraq's crude oil production comes from onshore oil fields in the southern part of the country; these fields are under the control of the central government in Baghdad. Therefore, Iraq’s oil supplies will not be secure until the central government and Kurds reach an agreement. Again today, there is an increasing social unrest taking over the country, particularly uniting the public against the central government in Baghdad. Yet causing another divide.

Plus, the Kurds control the main export pipeline to Turkey; so this is anytime to use it as a wild card for the US, when it comes to create concerns (while bringing regional peace(!)) on stranding the oil in northern Iraq when right time comes to supporting a big mass of Kurds in the area again.

After all the matter for the US is focusing on the big rivalry list in the relevant area. According to Iraq Business News, the list of International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in Iraqi Kurdistan under licences granted by the Kurdistan Regional Government’sMinistry of Natural Resources in Erbil is everlastingly standing against Trump’s benefits:

*From Austria: OMV

*From Canada: Groundstar Resources, Niko Resources, Shamaran Petroleum, Talisman Energy,Vast Exploration, WesternZagros

*From China: Addax Petroleum

*From Hungary: MOL

*From India: Reliance Industries

*From Norway: DNO International

*From Papua New Guinea: Oil Search

*From Russia: Gazprom

*From South Korea: Korea National Oil Company

*From Turkey: Dogan Enerji, Genel Energy, Petoil

*From United Arab Emirates: Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA)

*From United Kingdom: Afren, Gulf Keystone Petroleum, Perenco, Sterling Energy

*From United States: Aspect Energy, Chevron, Hess, Hunt Petroleum, Murphy Oil Corporation

While on the other side,

The following is a list of International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in Iraq under licences granted by the Ministry of Oil in Baghdad:

BP ; China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC); China National Petroleum Corporation CNPC); Dragon Oil; Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC); Eni; ExxonMobil; Gazprom; Inpex; Itochu; Japan Petroleum Exploration Company (Japex); Kogas (Korea Gas Corporation); Kuwait nergy (KEC); Lukoil; Pakistan Petroleum; Pertamina; PetroChina; Petronas; Rosneft; Sonangol; Total; Türkiye Petrolleri Anonim Ortaklığı (TPAO)..

The above list also indicates why US President Trump knows his tactics well that ‘when the time comes, with his Israeli friends standing next the Kurds, the active list of International Oil Companies in Iraqi Kurdistan might require eliminating/reducing’. Particularly this is also why a new solidarity with Iraqi Kurds will be created -despite the heartbroken Kurds in Syria being left behind for now (as casualties of war). But needless to worry, on Trump’s agenda the heartbroken Kurds of Syria will be included to the bigger picture and the peace(?) will be brought upon the region once more again.

Looking Back to Russia and Turkey…

Taking US President Trump’s ego into the calculation and adding Putin’s very own ego into the game- this is also why Russia is urging the Kurds to protect the oil rich zone (of Syria and Iraq) and keep a potential Kurdish unrest under control for now.

So far Russia’s view

Since the US has abandoned the Kurds (and since a turbulent relationship evolving between Turkey and the Kurds, it is right time, to enter into the scene as the peace keeper of the region (between Turkey, Kurds, Syria -while controlling the frenemy Iran under the table) and to agree a mutual defence pact between the sides.

Plus, making some kind of federal arrangement with Syrian ruler Assad, while giving him a hope towards recapturing the lost territory in the north Syria; making an agreement with Turkey on the other side, provides an additional stronghold to Russian’s President Putin against the west and particularly creating a ‘buffer force’ against Donald Trump’s ultimate plan that I mentioned above.


On the Other Side for Turkey…

In either case as the fragile situation continues, Turkey’s President Erdoğan’s long yearned “safe zone in North Syria” has no great appeal for President Putin anyway. Hence, for Turkey, Russia and Iran, the only way to end Syria’s war; to contain Isis and to repel US, is to put Assad back on the negotiating table.

Besides, Turkey now is the new partner to Russia, thus stronger on controlling the regarded oil rich soils in this big game. Both contries’ joint decision to create a demilitarised zone in North Syria, along with Russia's support to Turkey in the energy and defence sectors are all part of the bigger plan towards strengthening the ties between Moscow and Ankara.


Concisely, Turkey’s rapidly strengthening relationships with Russia and the ‘considerable’ Asian states coming into the picture for the both sides, will continue taking its tool while ‘uniting to divide’ force will continue evolving against the western countries’ ‘divide to rule’ standpoint.

With the West and East’s political rivalries’ many surprising manoeuvres to come, it is only for certain that some unfortunate minorities will be craftly played and shifted by the imperialist agenda. Whether the wind blows from West or East.

*AB Atwan, (Book) Islamic State The Digital Caliphate

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