distributing food aid to refugee Yazidis : activists in Erbil, capital of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region
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Some Kurds whose tweets and posts I have read on;ine since the huge battle against ISIS began want independence for their homeland. It is easy to feel solidarity with that demand. By their courage and resolve, and by the inclusivenss they show to all peoples who now live in the Kurdish regions, the men and women of Kurdish iraq and Syria have earned the world’s respect, support, and friendship. Indpendence seems the least that we can now encourage.
It would be a huge mistake. Not morally, but politically. My view is that the Kurdish regions of iraq and Syria gain immeasurably by being part of these larger nations. Here’s why :
1.the Kurdish lands do not confine to Iraq and Syria. By far the largest part of them lies within Turkey, which has already shown its utter refusal to grant the Kurds of Turkey any measure of autonomy. An independent Iraqi-Syrian kurdistan would become an irresistible attraction to the Kurds of Turkey, one that Turkey would almost certainly oppose with force.
2.Some Kurds also live in Iran. The Iranian authorities are allowing their Kurds to go to Iraq and fight ISIS, and for very good reason, as ISIS threatens Iranian influence in iraq itself. In no way, however, should Kurds imagine that iran would feel riendly toward an indepencent Kurdistan almost certain to draw to itself the parts of Iran in which Kurds dominate.
3.By itself, the Kurdish homeland sits encircled by major nations and powerful. It has no outlet to any sea; its oil pipelines pass through the powers that surround it. Kurdish trade depends utterly on the friendship of at least some of its powerful neighbors : the United states, Britain, and Europe can communicate directly with the Kurdish lands by air, but all air routes to Kurdistan overfly its powerful neighbors. They need not allow these overflights.
Instead of seeking the probably unattainable and the likely impermissible, Kurdish patriots should realize that right now, with the situation as it is, kurdistan has all the moral authority it need, all the powerful friends it could ever draw, and all the support from its neighbors that it can ever arrogate. Moreover, every responsible nation wants a united Iraq to succeed. A free and propserous, stronly defended Kurdish region is the bedrock upon which a united Iraq must be built.
Iraqis know this too; thus the Kurdish part of Iraq has the support of every Iraqi political leader who wants Iraq to succeed.
The Kurdish lands of Syria face a situation somewhat different. It’s not yet clear what kind of a Syria will emrerge from the pres ent civil war; and in nay case, the Kurds of Syria are a small population living at the far eastern edge of that nation. The Kurdish lands of Syria can join with the Kurdish region of Iraq — in some sort of loose trading union, maybe — withoiut gravely upsetting anyone’s power politics. Significant, too, in gthis regard is that the lands between kurdiush iraq and the Kurds of Syria are home to that region;s most endangered minoerities : Yazidis, Turkmen, Chaldean Christians. A loose but workable union between these two Kurdish areas would surely give some absolutely needed protection to those minority peoples.
The battle against ISIS continues. Almost certainly the days of ISIS in Iraq’s north are numbered. While ISIs lasts, the Kurds will be ascendant with vital allies. the difficulty will come when ISIS is defeated and no longer a threat to Kurdish lands. Then wise politcal heads will have to convince Kurdish patriots that being a vital part of ther larger picture is the strongest and smartest Kurdish policy.
—- Mike Freedberrg / Here and Sphere