When in early December, 2015, Czech President Milos Zeman announced that the emergence of an independent Kurdistan was only a matter of time, many said he was exaggerating. But just a few days later, they heard Middle East mass media reporting that the leader of Iraqi Kurdistan Masoud Barzani had instructed his Kurdistan Democratic Party to organize an independence referendum. This is why Zeman was so confident. As far as he knows, Barzani consulted with the Americans on the matter and they gave him the green light.
Otherwise, pro-American Barzani would not have ventured such a thing – for it is really a hard job to organize a referendum in the mostly tribal atomized Iraqi Kurdistan. De facto, Iraqi Kurdistan is already independent from Baghdad: it has its own parliament, government, army (an 80,000-strong Peshmerga) and all other attributes of an independent state. So, not all Kurdish politicians are inclined to get independence de jure as this may cause a whole bunch of unnecessary problems.
Things are much simpler though. If created, an independent Iraqi Kurdistan will become a center of gravity for all the Kurds living in Turkey, Syria and Iran. In fact, it may become the core of a Great Kurdistan, a state with an area of no less than 200,000-220,000 sq km and a population of no fewer than 20,000,000-25,000,000 people. For Turkey, Syria and Iran this is unacceptable. So, if started, this process may cause long bloody war. The Americans planned such a war in the 1990s, when they toppled Saddam Hussein and gave wide autonomy of the Iraqi Kurds. Today things are different. In Syria and Iraq, the Kurds are facing ISIL, in Turkey they are suffering from genocide.
But unlike the previous decades, when the Turkish Kurds were regarded as “terrorists,” today, they enjoy support of the Peoples Democratic Party, a legitimate political force having almost 80 seats in the Turkish Parliament. As EADaily reported earlier, on Dec 28, 2015, the capital of Turkish Kurdistan, Diayarbakir, hosted the first conference of the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress. The conferees adopted a declaration on the political settlement of the Kurdish cause. The key point of the declaration insists on giving Kurds autonomy in their habitat.
The leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party Selahattin Demirtas supported the document. As a result, he faced an inquiry by the Prosecutor’s Office – as for the Turks Kurdish autonomy means a threat to their territorial integrity. But repressions instead of a dialogue may prove to be a much bigger threat to Turkey’s territorial integrity. Whatever the case, all that is going on in the Middle East (the situation in Turkey, ISIL’s actions in Syria and Iraq, the Sunni-Shiite Arab-Iranian confrontation) is urging the Kurds to be quick in creating their own state as only an own state can ensure their security.
In this context, we would like to remind you that recently ISIL appeared with a five-year plan for world conquest and their map strangely coincides with the well-known American map of the “new Middle East.” The first victims of this plan are Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
For some great powers it is OK if Iraqi Kurdistan becomes independent. The EU is even going to open its consulate in Erbil. Russia is not against either: quite recently Russian Consul General in Erbil Viktor Simakov said that “the Kremlin has always supported the Kurdish region and the Peshmerga.” When asked by Kurdistan24 about possible independence, Simakov said that all ethnic groups living in Iraq should have the right to decide on their own how to go on. “We will support any decision provided that it is not imposed from outside. The UN Charter says that each nation has the right to decide how to live. I think it is for each nation to decide to be independent or not.” (EADaily cannot guarantee that the Kurdish TV company presented the exact words of the Russian diplomat – editor's note).
In this light, it is interesting what they in Washington think about Barzani’s idea. Until recently, the Americans have been restrained on this matter as their key NATO ally, Turkey, was against any Kurdish sovereignty. But now they are said to have given the green light. Why? On the one hand, they must be happy about Turkey’s anti-Russian policy, but, on the other, they may be worried to see the Russians’ success in Syria and may be afraid that this may ruin their plans to ruin the region. What they need is an irreversible and permanent “controlled chaos.”
Since the core of the future Great Kurdistan, Iraqi Kurdistan is controlled by the Americans, logically, all the other elements will be made pro-American. So, no surprise that the Americans are actively interacting with Kurds in Iraq and Syria.
Today, the Americans can no longer rely on the Turks. Before the 1990s, Turkey was mostly secular and the Americans used it as a NATO outpost on the southern borders of the Soviet Union. But in the 1990s, the secular traditions set by Kemal Ataturk gave way to Islamism. Erdogan and his team call themselves “moderate Islamists,” but nobody can say what this term means and how far “moderate” Islamists are from “immoderate” ones. As a result, Turkey has become a potential threat for the Americans and can no longer be a partner for them. The breakup with Israel has revealed Erdogan’s real mentality and even though today he is trying to right the ship – with a view to get support from the Russian and American Jews and to get access to Israel’s offshore fuel – they in Tel Aviv are already aware that for the Turkish leader “Jew” is a swearword just like “Armenian.”
The Kurds have never been radical Islamists. This is why ISIL is so cruel to them. Their leading political forces – the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Iraq, the Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers’ Party and its Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress are mostly secular. So, their independent state would be no threat for the Americans.
By the way, Barzani’s presidential term expired on Aug 20, 2015, but he refused to resign and was given two more years. And this may well be the very deadline for an independent Kurdistan to be formed.
Guy Borisov, EADaily's political analyst