CBS: Iraq Insurgents Targeting Oil Fields

CBS This Morning's Holly Williams reported that insurgents in Iraq are targeting the country's rich oil fields and locals fear that a "bloody civil war" is nearly unavoidable without U.S. intervention at this point.

Aside from the Iraqi government, Kurdish fighters are also battling the terrorist group ISIL, but Williams said the Kurds are doing so to protect their own region in northeast Iraq and win control of oil supplies.

"With different groups in Iraq fighting for their own interests, the Kurdish leader told us all-out civil war may be unavoidable without U.S. intervention," Williams said.

Full transcript:

NORAH O DONNELL: Meanwhile, Sunni Muslim militants are advancing into new territory. Iraq's largest oil refinery is at the center of the battle. Holly Williams is in Erbil tracking the Sunni uprising. Holly, good morning.

HOLLY WILLIAMS: Good morning. Iraqi officials are denying reports that they've lost control of the country's biggest oil refinery and instead claim that they killed 70 militants there. Losing control of that would be yet another blow for Iraq's besieged government, which depends on oil revenues.

Internet videos show smoke billowing over Beiji, where the militants claim they've now taken control of the oil refinery, and in this video also posted online, they're seen parading triumphantly through the town. Other sources say the battle for the Beiji refinery is still raging. Sixty miles north outside of the city of Kirkuk, Kurdish fighters are also taking on the militants. But as in Beiji, there's something else at stake here. Kirkuk is rich in oil and a prize for whoever captures it. When the militants first swept through this region last week, Iraqi soldiers abandoned their posts, leaving northern Iraq to descend into chaos. The Kurdish fighters are well-disciplined.

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But their goal is to protect their own region in the northeast and win control of oil supplies, not to push the militants out of Iraq for good. Just outside of Kirkuk, and this is the last safe check point along the road. The men here are telling us that the militants are just over there in the mountains.

But they were content to hold them back rather than confront them. With different groups in Iraq fighting for their own interests, the Kurdish leader told us all-out civil war may be unavoidable without U.S. intervention. We need U.S. air strikes before the militants make it to Baghdad, he said. They cannot let them reach Baghdad. Many other Iraqis oppose U.S. air strikes but nearly everyone we've spoken to here fears that their country is rushing towards a bloody civil war.

Published under: Iraq , Islamic State