Fires flare off the gas from in Kirkuk, Iraq this October. Photo: Emad Matti / AP

After Iraqi Kurds' overwhelming vote for independence last month, their energy strategy is now up in the air, in particular since the Iraqi army moved in to the disputed, oil-rich Kirkuk after the vote, the NYT reports.

Context: Iraqi Kurdish leaders have been courting international companies (think Chevron and Exxon Mobil) for oil and gas deals for years as part of a linchpin to a financially strong independence strategy. Losing Kirkuk means their pitch may no longer be viable on top of already-depressed results in the oil sector.

  • Iraq, including Kurdish output, is the second-largest producer in OPEC (4.5 million barrels of crude per day). The region, however, is exporting 250,000 barrels of oil per day, a quarter of what it estimated a few years ago, per the Times.
  • Chevron recently said it would be backing off its operations in Kurdistan, and Total backed off last year.
  • The region's politically shaky situation makes eventual independence harder to achieve as well: Kurdistan's regional president has said he will vacate his post, which could create a power vacuum and make relations with Ankara and Baghdad more difficult.

Go deeper: Why an independent Kurdistan is so hard to achieve

Go deeper

Trump's Tucker mind-meld

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images and BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

If you want to understand the rhetorical roots of Trump's Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore, go back and watch Tucker Carlson's monologues for the past six weeks.

Between the lines: Trump — or rather his speechwriter Stephen Miller — framed the president's opposition to the Black Lives Matter protest movement using the same imagery Carlson has been laying out night after night on Fox.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 11,366,145 — Total deaths: 532,644 — Total recoveries — 6,154,138Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 2,874,396 — Total deaths: 129,870 — Total recoveries: 906,763 — Total tested: 35,512,916Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona hot spot near capacity — Houston mayor warns about hospitals
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Former Trump official Tom Bossert says face masks “are not enough”
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: Sports return stalked by coronavirus
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.

Bolton's hidden aftershocks

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The news media has largely moved on, but foreign government officials remain fixated on John Bolton's memoir, "The Room Where It Happened."

Why it matters: Bolton's detailed inside-the-Oval revelations have raised the blood pressure of allies who were already stressed about President Trump's unreliability.