Editorial: The Battle For Order In The Cradle Of Civilisation

Tim Haïdar


"Great emergencies and crises show us how much greater our vital resources are than we had supposed" -
William James (1842 – 1910)

As the to and fro of hostilities in Northern Iraq rages on, the United States have weighed in with airpower to stem the advances of Islamic State fighters. Unlike the jihadists of Libya and Syria, whose religious and revolutionary zeal has spiralled into infighting, the Islamic State represents an altogether different threat.

Ostensibly united under their spiritual and military leader, Caliph Ibrahim, the image of a formidable fighting force belies the business brain that is attempting to create a functioning state in the Middle East.

The battle for Mosul Dam, and the country's largest hydroelectric power station, is an example of the Islamic State's plan to capture vital energy infrastructure not solely for strategic benefit, but also to form the building blocks of a nascent nation.

As bombing sorties strike ISIS targets around the Kurdistani capital of Erbil and its neighbouring 10 gigabarrel Kirkuk oilfield, US forces are carrying out a two-pronged mission of protecting American assets and preventing a terrorist organisation from raking in billions from seized oil reserves.

The Islamic State’s motto translates as "Remaining and Expanding" and their stated goal is to eliminate the borders between Islamic Middle Eastern countriesas defined by the Sykes–Picot Agreement during World War I.

Every successful state needs a secure resource base. The battle for Erbil is more than a fight to stop oil prices rocketing and keeping Iraq on the road to nine million barrels per day by 2020, it is a microcosm of the battle for global order being played out in the cradle of civilisation....

What could the Islamic State’s takeover of energy infrastructure mean for the Iraq and the Middle East? Have your say below


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