This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Future of Kurdish Independence

"Should the [ISIL] threat recede, Baghdad will have to contend with a range of land disputes with the KRG, as well as strengthened Iraqi Kurdish forces, which have received training and equipment from coalition members, including Canada."
"[The war with ISIL created conditions for the Kurdistan Regional Government] to expand into disputed territory in northern Iraq, including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk."
Diplomatic briefing note to Canadian Prime Minister
Peshmerga vehicles in Mount Sinjar, Iraq, late last year.
Peshmerga vehicles in Mount Sinjar, Iraq, late last year. Photo: New York Times

This speaks of the condition of 30 million Kurds whose historical presence in the lands of their ancestors were never recognized by the occupying colonial powers when borders were set in the Middle East, leaving the Kurds without a promised dedicated and sovereign territory of their own, living instead within the borders of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. It is hardly surprising that the Kurds in those countries have yearned for a territory of their own, since they are in actual fact, a nation, and an ethnic minority separate and apart from the Arabs (and Persians).

Now, with the total collapse of two of those countries in which the Kurds live in semi-autonomous enclaves of Syria and Iraq, the savagery of a sectarian conflict between the two major sects of Islam, Shiite and Sunni, has brought the entire geography to a state of vicious and violent destabilization. Where a president of one country whose minority Shiite group has inflicted barbarous bloodshed on the majority Sunni group, leaving Syrian President Bashar al Assad with charges of war crimes.

And in Iraq, where another Shiite administration, this one in the majority has dominated and repressed its minority Sunni population, a response has emerged in the form of Sunni jihadists claiming to represent a new caliphate, and using every monstrous form of horrifyingly morbid atrocity to deliver death to their opponents. The reputation of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant which has succeeded in grasping territory in both Iraq and Syria representing at least one third of each, is fearsomely terrifying.

Causing the Iraqi military to disperse at the very point where they should have challenged the Islamic State when it first marched on the city of Mosul, then began expanding its territories to encompass oil and gas fields, the sales profits of which have enabled it to fund its war. Where the Iraqi military melted away in fear at the approach of the ISIL militias, the Kurds have stood steadfast in opposing them. Their victories against the Islamic State have enabled the Kurds to access and retain territory that was theirs traditionally.

And just as ISIL has funded their activities with oil and gas so too have the Kurds in Iraq been able to do the same, from the oilfields they captured in Kirkuk, their ancestral territory. The collapse in oil and gas prices as a result of an OPEC-inspired market glut, has harmed both their abilities to pursue their ends. "This economic crisis is really as big a threat to us as [ISIL]. It is a serious threat to the Kurdistan Region's ability to conduct the war", pointed out the KRG's representative in Washington, Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman.
"Right now we feel like everything is on our shoulders, and we just don't have the economic wherewithal to deal with it."
"With regards to a war for independence that is absolutely not in our plan. We have a long-term vision for our independence, and we will achieve it. But we want to achieve it through dialogue and consensus."
"These so-called disputed territories, for us Kurds, they have never been disputed. They have always been part of Kurdistan."
"We will not give them back, because those territories were not protected by the Iraqi army. Why on earth would we give them back?"  
Abyan Sami Abdul Rahman, KRG representative, Washington

A Kurdish Peshmerga soldier passes by tires set on fire in Sinjar, Iraq, days before by Islamic militants late last year.
A Kurdish Peshmerga soldier passes by tires set on fire in Sinjar, Iraq, days before by Islamic militants late last year. Photo: Getty Images

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