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The Problem with Kurdish Independence

Iraqi Kurdistan will hold [1] an independence referendum on September 25, and there is no international support for that:

On Monday, the European Union joined the United Nations, the United States, Turkey, and Iraq to discourage Iraqi Kurds from holding an independence referendum on Sept. 25.

That was to be expected, and won’t deter regional government authorities in Erbil, said Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, the Kurdistan Regional Government representative in Washington.

The broad international opposition to a Kurdish independence referendum underscores the problem with trying to create an independent Kurdistan: the new state would be immediately isolated, it would lack recognition from most other governments, and would face intense disapproval from all of its new neighbors. Iraqi Kurdistan would forfeit the benefits of its current semi-autonomous status in exchange for a formal independence that would impose numerous costs on it. Iran isn’t mentioned in the article, but their government has likewise expressed opposition [2] to the referendum.

Supporters of the referendum say that a vote in favor of independence isn’t a declaration of independence, but for the many regional opponents of a Kurdish state it might be taken as one. It is doubtful that the Turkish and Iraqi governments would limit their opposition to rhetoric, so a new Kurdish state would find itself besieged and under attack very early on, and Iran would presumably aid the Baghdad in trying to prevent the separation of the region. The last thing the region needs is even more instability and violence, and a push for Kurdish independence would produce more of both. Contrary to the hopes of Western partition fans, Kurdish independence would spark new conflicts and complicate existing ones. It would resolve none of them.

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5 Comments To "The Problem with Kurdish Independence"

#1 Comment By Pennzy SW On June 20, 2017 @ 9:34 am

“Contrary to the hopes of Western partition fans, Kurdish independence would spark new conflicts and complicate existing ones. It would resolve none of them. “

You may be right about the hopes of Western partition fans, but our parasitic “friends” in the region (the Israelis and Saudis in particular) would be overjoyed to see us permanently bogged down in regional conflicts created by an independent Kurdistan.

All the more reason for us to have nothing to do with it.

#2 Comment By William Dalton On June 20, 2017 @ 10:49 am

When I was a student at Chapel Hill in the early 70’s I heard a lecture by a professor of Azeri background who predicted that the next great war, one which had the potential to be more than a regional conflict and could become a world war, would be the war for Kurdish independence. I don’t believe this is a problem which will go away. The world will have to make room for an independent Kurdistan or conflict in the region will continue.

#3 Comment By Will Harrington On June 20, 2017 @ 1:09 pm

See what we let loose with Kosovo! On what basis can the West now deny this and refuse recognition when we stripped Serbia’s heartland away from Serbia? If it does come down to war, it might be good for the Kurd’s neighbors to remember that Saladin was a Kurd.

#4 Comment By jk On June 20, 2017 @ 8:13 pm

The US has enough problems certainly these days with the internal politics in their own country.

They sure fail or make worse with neocon social engineering experiments with other countries they don’t understand or have no interests in.

Negative and long lasting and worse off unintended consequences abound whenever US military acting as the foreign policy arm of US affairs goes into action.

#5 Comment By Bob K. On June 21, 2017 @ 2:21 pm

It all started with the Sykes-Picot agreement in 1916. The West could not let well enough alone then and it still cannot 100 years later.