What did ISIS do for the Kur­dish econ­omy?

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Swara Kadir

Although the short- term ef­fects of the ISIS may have been dev­as­tat­ing for the Kur­dish econ­omy, but the long- term ef­fects seem to be quite the op­po­site!

Since the fall of Mo­sul to the hands of IS, the Kur­dish econ­omy has taken a down­turn. As they ad­vanced to­wards the ar­eas closer to the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, the eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion be­came in­creas­ingly worse. The mar­ket came to a stand­still, prices of ne­ces­sity items such as sta­ple food and fuel shot up. Non-es­sen­tial items such as lux­ury goods and prop­erty dropped se­verely. Peo­ple were gear­ing up for war and the econ­omy with­drew within it­self for ba­sic sur­vival func­tion. The much en­vied po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity of Kur­dis­tan seemed se­verely un­der threat. Pre­vi­ously the “Other Iraq” i.e. Kur­dis­tan was the only re­gion where business and eco­nomic growth could be seen as pos­si­ble, but is that true?

Cer­tainly the short- term ef­fects of ISIS on the Kur­dish econ­omy were un­de­ni­ably neg­a­tive, how­ever with fur­ther anal­y­sis a dif­fer­ent prospect emerges. As ISIS troops are be­ing snuffed out in the dis­puted ar­eas that have a Kur­dish pop­u­la­tion the mar­ket is start­ing to pick up again. Th­ese dis­puted ar­eas, next to the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, are now un­der Pesh­maraga (Kur­dish sol­diers) con­trol. This in­cludes Kirkuk, one of the ma­jor ci­ties in terms of crude oil re­serves, es­ti­mated at 15 bil­lion bar­rels. Within weeks Kirkuk oil is go­ing to be pumped via the newly con­structed pipe­line that con­nects the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion to Ci­han sea­port in Turkey. This will boost oil pro­duc­tion, es­ti­mated to reach 1 mil­lion bar­rels per day by 2015.

In ad­di­tion to oil, the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment is cur­rently re­ceiv­ing wide in­ter­na­tional support in­clud­ing arms sup­plies. This is strength­en­ing the Kur­dish Pesh­marga force, presently the only Iraqi bul­wark against ISIS. This will boost the Kur­dish econ­omy by hav­ing a stronger mil­i­tary force that will pro­tect the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion against pos­si­ble fu­ture threats, and it will also be a good bar­gain­ing chip with the cen­tral Iraqi gov­ern­ment for the cur­rent Iraqi gov­ern­ment ne­go­ti­a­tions. Ru­mors are fly­ing that the Kurds will be given a ma­jor min­istry; maybe fi­nance or oil. This would serve Kur­dish eco­nomic in­ter­ests bet­ter than the pre­vi­ous for­eign min­istry post.

ISIS maybe is the cat­a­lyst that will bring about a new phase in the Kur­dish econ­omy. With more oil pro­duc­tion, wider ter­ri­to­rial and mil­i­tary in­flu­ence, the world awaits the birth of a new proWestern, eco­nom­i­cally pow­er­ful na­tion.

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