Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) looks in disarray with armed conflict erupting in the western district of Sinjar and the temporary occupation of an oil facility at Kirkuk by one of its two main political factions. But behind the scenes, elements from the two dominant parties are in negotiations to further entrench their positions. The upshot is that it is increasingly likely that President Masoud Barzani’s term will be extended a further two years.

The temporary occupation of oil facilities in Kirkuk by armed members of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) last week seemed to highlight a further deterioration of relations between the party and Mr Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). But MEES understands that Hero Ibrahim Ahmad, wife of PUK founder Jalal Talabani and one of the most senior party leaders, subsequently held talks with the KDP in Erbil over extending Mr Barzani’s term. (CONTINUED - 1125 WORDS)