US Military Mediates Iraqi-Kurdish Standoff

Reuters reports that Iraqi Arabs and Kurds may yet step back from the brink of conflict, with some serious “guidance” from the US.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi military leaders agreed on Monday with commanders from the Kurdistan region to defuse tension and discuss pulling their troops back from an area over which they both claim jurisdiction.

Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdish region last week sent thousands of troops into the oil-rich territories along their contested internal border, raising the stakes in a long-running row over land and oil rights.

Military leaders from both sides met at the Ministry of Defence in Baghdad in the presence of a senior military officer from the United States on Monday.

A statement from the commander in chief of the Iraqi armed forces said the two sides had agreed to “start pacifying the situation and discuss a mechanism to return the forces which were deployed after the crisis to their previous positions”.

A spokesman for the Kurdistan regional government said the Kurdish delegation would report back to the political leadership, which would decide what steps to take next.

This, even if successful in de-escalating┬áthe armed confrontation this time, won’t do a damn thing to solve the underlying issues – it’ll just kick the can a ways down the road. There are other factors at play in Kurdish areas that mean the distance the can gets kicked isn’t as far as it used to be.

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