>> Iraqi forces removing the Kurdish colors from the government building in Kirkuk, and cheering the raised Iraqi flag. Iraq's elite counterterrorism force captured the oil city on Monday from Kurdish Peshmerga fighters. Opening a new front in the country's 14 year civil war and sparking a jump in global oil prices.
e Peshmerga moved into Kirkuk and defended the area's oil fields in 2014 after Iraqi government forces were driven out by Jihardists. Now the two sides are clashing with the Kurdistan regional government or KRG paying a price for an independence referendum last month.
Reuters Michel George explains, it could potentially draw in regional powers.
>> A referendum on independence which won overwhelming backing has angered not only Baghdad but Turkey and Iran. All three parties fear will create chaos. And Turkey and Iran fear that it will encourage Kurds in their nation to agitate for change.>> Turkey, which had allowed the Kurds to export oil through its pipes has swung behind Bagdad, both sides in this dispute armed and trained by the US which had urged the KRG not to hold its independence vote.
Washington now in the awkward position of recognizing Iraqi authority while trying to maintain close ties with the Kurds. Thousands of Kurdish civilians have fled the multi-ethnic that cooked fear and reprisals. The Peshmerga have said Baghdad will be made to pay a heavy price for triggering, quote, war on the Kurdistan people.
Instability in the region has also boosted global oil prices. Brent Crude futures, the international benchmark, near $58 on Tuesday, 2.5% higher since Friday.