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For a United and Independent Kurdistan

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What’s next for Kurds in Iraq and Syria

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It has been quite some time since I wrote for this blog. Although I continue writing articles for an online Kurdish website (RojevaKurdistan.com), in Turkish, I have not been producing in English.

Events have taken a path that is very favorable for the Kurds, both in Iraq and Syria. The fake and failed states of Iraq and Syria have literally fallen apartand Kurds have gained so well that it has become nonsense to talk about Iraq or Syria.

rojava and bashur

Iraq
One thing about Iraq is that (or was that) that it has been an Arab state. Disregarding the Kurdish majority up in the North, Iraq has always had an Arab identity and Kurds fit nowhere in this. Even though a recognition of Kurdish ethnic political rights was always an issue for governments in Iraq, it had not been realized until American invasion in 2003.

Thanks to the American intervention with Gulf War I, then with the invasion in 2003 and the weakening of Baghdad in its capacity to rule, Kurds prospered and ensured control in their native lands. The invasion of the Sunni parts of Iraq by ISIS and its subsequent defeat by Peshmerga has helped Kurds to gain control of the last bits of their historical land, liked to be called the disputed regions by Arabs of Iraq. No more. Map of Kurdistan in Iraq has been drawn with blood and no sane person could recommend the Kurds to give them back.

Iraq-Ethno-Map

As for Arabs in Iraq, it is the historical enmity between the Sunni and Shii populations that will not cease to exist unless one or both decide to give up their religion. They hate each other and, be assured, will continue to do so.

What is then best for Iraq? To divide into three separate states. One for Kurds, one for the Sunni and the last for the Shii. Once these three go their own ways, there will be no reason for any conflict in this geography, unjustly called Iraq any more. Would anyone of these to pursue political ambition beyond what is Iraq today, it would then be an analysis of a different topic.

Currently Kurds are preparing for a referendum for independence that will take place on September 25 and there is no doubt the majority of them will vote in favor.

Syria
Syria is yet another failed state created at the same time with Iraq, during post WWI era. Ruled by the Alawite Arab minority in the last decades Syria could hardly be considered one its citizens were happy with. The Kurds, at least a good portion of them, did not even have ID cards and bsides the Kurds, Sunni Arabs, the majority of the population, could not take part in ruling the country.

If Arab Spring had one effect there, this effect was unleashing the political ambitions of Kurds and the Sunni that resulted in a full scale war, with various regional and global powers supporting one side or the other.

failed syria

In the current state of the ongoing war the regime controls a fraction of the country, which is the most populous and strategically most important parts, if Syria was ‘intact’ as before. Kurds however, control the most important dams and oil wells, that were anyway on Kurdish land. The fight of the Sunni opposition in the South of the country being a mystery for the news watchers, the north is almost a complete loss for them, save some parts neighboring Turkey and this thanks to the support of Turkey and its allies. Regime is supported by the Russians and by good luck, the Kurds, led by the Syria faction of the PKK, managed to ally themselves or their interests with those of the USA.

Currently the opposition and the regime enjoy a kind of truce in their fighting, but Kurds continue their fight with ISIS in Raqqa, which is the capital of the self declared Khilafat. According to the latest news report, there are about 2’000 IS fighters left in the city but Kurdish fightersi known to be fierce at battle field, and with support of the US Army, fight well to recapture the city. It is important to note though that the Kurdish ambitions do not involve controlling Raqqa. After the recapture, it is very likely that some Kurdish fighters at different levels will remain in Raqqa only to help create a governing body formed by local Arabs. This obviously gives the advantage to the Kurds to create (and in the future keep under control) a neighboring Arab regime that is friendly to them and will remain so.

The future for Kurds

map of kurdistan - approximate

Pandora’s box in the region was opened in 1991 when the USA responded with a war to Saddam’s invasion of Iraq. Kurds were given a safe haven in the North and this was used for a political establishment in the course of the history. Could it better than it is today? I do not think so. I believe things developed perfectly for Kurds, as all the setbacks in all this time has also helped to have an experience that will prevent similar setbacks in the future.

After Iraq came Syria, rather unexpectedly for most. The lazy Kurdish politicians of Iraq and their non-ambitious political establishment could not take advantage of the troubles in Syria to expand their rule there. There was PKK and with the right people on the ground, PKK managed to control a land bigger than those of the Iraqi Kurds. Richer? I do not know but if they could somehow reach to the Mediterranean they could also possibly take the political lead from Barzani or Talabani families and their affiliates to themselves. If some news reports are to be believed, they currently have a better supplied and better organized, or at least a more battle ready armed force than the Peshmerga of Northern Iraq.

Let’s together imagine a scenario where finally the Iraqi Kurds decide declare independence that would be recognized by the UN. How could this possibly effect the politics of Kurds in Syria and beyond, Kurds in Turkey and Iran.

Kurds in Syria (Rojavayé Kurdistan, West of Kurdistan)
The PKK will find it in a position to match the legal status of the newly independent Kurdistan, which is Bashuré Kurdistan for Kurds, South of Kurdistan. Guessing these two, we may expect a stupid enmity and aggression from Turks, which I believe will lead to a Turkish defeat in the hands of Kurdish fighters, the YPG, Syria faction of the PKK. I do not expect at any time a Turkish aggression towards Bashur, mainly for the inability of Turks in such a situation to explain the world their reason nor open yet another front with Kurds in addition to ongoing conflict within Turkey (Bakuré Kurdistan, North of Kurdistan, led by PKK directly) and in Syria, Rojava. Second and most striking reason is the Turks’ need for the cash flow they receive from Bashur. In a scenario in which this cash flow cuts, and Qatar cash flow in suspect, Turks would fall into an economic crisis they would not be able to get out of.

Short? Expect a Turkish attack to Rojava and suffering a terrible defeat. What will follow is a guess but it could either be an attempt for independence or, better in my opinion, a constitutional deal with Damascus regime that will give such an autonomy that would leave them more independent, more powerful and completely conflict free than what independence could give.

This is it for today. Please leave your comments below on what you think of these thoughts.

🙂

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Written by M. Husedin

11 August 2017 at 11:49 PM