Iraqi Kurds tell Russia to stay out of their air space; cite commercial air stoppages

Iraqi Kurds tell Russia to stay out of their air space; cite commercial air stoppages
Tu-95 Bear bomber, one of several types used in Russian strikes on Tuesday, 17 Nov. (Image: UK MOD, SAC Robyn Stewart via Guardian, Oct 2014)

[Ed. – No handicapping where this one will go.  It’s actually an opportunity for the Russians — i.e., to gain the advantage with the Kurds — if they take it.  Up to now, the U.S. has been the nominal patron of the Iraqi Kurds, but where that has gotten them is unimpressive after 6 years of Obama.]

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq, based in northeastern Erbil, has requested the Russian government keep its fighter jets out of its airspace when conducting missions against enemies of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in Iraq. …

Flying through Kurdish airspace can be the fastest route to finding those targets, whether ISIS or Syrian rebels. This forces the Kurdish government to ground commercial flights, however, and have begun affecting the regional economy. So said KRG Interior Minister Kareem Sinjari on Monday, reportedly requesting to the Russian Consul General to Erbil that the Russians find a new route to their targets to allow commercial planes into and out of Erbil to keep flying. …

Russian military activity has kept commercial airliners grounded in both Erbil and Sulaimani airports on two separate occasions this month. Kurdish officials are concerned that Russia will make a habit of shutting down their airline industry. Simakov said at the meeting, Rudaw reports, that “currently there is no other way for Moscow to avoid Kurdish airspace.”

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