The greatest threat to the growing stability of Iraq is the differences between the US and Iran being fought out politically – and even militarily – in Iraq. The Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in an interview with The Independent earlier this week that his greatest concern is a US-Iran crisis. He added that “it is not my job to solve their differences, but it is my job to prevent their confrontation inside Iraq”. He hoped that mutual denunciations by Washington and Tehran would turn out to be rhetorical.
The recent imposition of direct rule by the Spanish government on the autonomous region of Catalonia is having a ripple effect across Europe and around the world.
In just the past few weeks, two examples emerged to demonstrate the harmful consequences when political leaders overplay their hand and provoke harsh responses. One occurred in Iraqi Kurdistan, the other in Spain’s Catalonia region. Both entities now teeter on the brink of calamity. There also are pertinent lessons from those episodes for U.S. policymakers.
October 16 is a deadline for Kurdish forces to withdraw from disputed positions, especially the city of Kirkuk, the main flashpoint of the dispute.