The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has defended the takeover of Kirkuk and Iraq’s other key northern oil fields as a precaution against sabotage ordered by federal officials. It has now started testing a new pipeline from the Kirkuk oil field to Kurdish territory, widening the rift with Baghdad.

Should the KRG succeed in getting Kirkuk oil to market, whilst bypassing federally-controlled infrastructure, the Iraqi Kurds might achieve financial independence sooner rather than later. However, the adventure could stumble on legal, political and security hurdles. (CONTINUED - 2199 WORDS)