BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
We, Armenians, should be developing better, broader, and deeper relations with the Kurds (especially of Turkey). The Kurds should be reaching out to us in more ways than Genocide related matters. Turkey claims to want “normalized” relations with the Republic of Armenia (RoA).
Turkey is cynically supporting the Kurds of Iraq while “negotiating” with the Kurds that are its citizens and simultaneously fighting the Kurds of Syria (through intermediaries— the Islamic extremists it is arming, backing, and providing a base of operations for).
Iran is confronted with the reality of a de facto Kurdish state on its borders and is likely concerned about the potential restiveness of its own Kurdish citizens.
The KRG (Kurdish Regional Government, of northern Iraq, that is, not the fledgling one in Syria) is now sitting on far more oil (and I’d bet methane [natural gas] too) than it knows what to do with, especially after taking control of Kirkuk when the Islamist extremists took over a portion of Iraq. A recent oil sale by the KRG made the news by being transshipped across Turkey, then wandering around the sea in a tanker until Israel bought it.
The RoA needs to diversify its energy sources while it transitions to renewables (solar, wind, geothermal, small hydropower, etc). Think about it. Fuel comes through Georgia from Russia to the north and directly from Iran to the south. The northerly source has been disrupted previously. The southerly source could be disrupted by well placed pup-Turk (Azeri) shelling.
Put all this together and what do you get? An oil and/or methane pipeline from the KRG to the RoA. Take a look at the accompanying table. It would be the shortest of the pipelines listed. The numbers show the distances between the beginning and ending points (cities) of exiting or historical pipelines (The Baku-Batum pipeline was first completed in 1906 and is no longer in use.) It also shows the length of the pipeline between those two points.
The “jiggle factor” is a measure of the zig-zaginess of the pipeline to avoid various obstacles (mountains, lakes, bad ground conditions, human settlements, etc.). Because a pipeline from Kirkuk to Yerevan would run north-south and therefore CROSS mountain ranges (the other pipelines tend to run East-West, parallel to the ranges, and are thus easier to route), I’ve guesstimated a higher jiggle factor than any of the other pipelines in the area have. This is to show how eminently doable such a project is. I have also included the distances between major cities that would be familiar to Diasporan readers to give a sense of the scale such a project would entail.
So everyone wins, the Kurds/Armenians as sellers/buyers, as would be either Iran or Turkey being a transit country that makes money and works as a good neighbor with KRG/RoA, gaining diplomatic/political advantage.
Of course, the idea of enabling more hydro-carbon (oil, gas, coal) burning is extremely odious. We have climate change issues that are threatening all of humanity. But, when a nation-state is sandwiched between two others that are inclined to annihilate it, its government must look at all options. Who knows, it might even motivate the environmental community to help solve the Armenian Question and bring Turkey and Azerbaijan into the world of civilized nation-states.
Tell me what you think. This idea is really “out there” and improbable, right? Heck, people want to make money, which drives all kinds of otherwise improbable activity.