Vision of an Independent Kurdistan

kurdIn an address delivered at Tel Aviv University on Sunday, June 29, 2014, Israel’s Prime Minister called for an “Independent Kurdish State” in northern Iraq. Citing the collapse of Iraq amid the ISIS insurgency and sectarian violence, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu endorsed the de-facto independence of Iraqi Kurds. Netanyahu has also called for support of the “Kurdish aspiration for independence.” Netanyahu’s support for Kurdish independence is not only strategic, it is emotional as well. Jews and Zionists identify with the Kurdish quest for self-determination of a scattered people that have been discriminated against and abandoned by the international community.

The open recognition of Kurdish rights to self-determination by a major international figure such as PM Netanyahu has finally shone a light on the 40 million Kurdish people without a state of their own. The Arabs have 22 states already, and the international community including the Obama administration, are clamoring for a Palestinian State. This would add another rather unstable state to the existing Arab states. It is therefore a moral imperative to recognize the right of the Kurdish people to an independent state of their own.

Kurds have unsuccessfully sought freedom and self-determination since the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. The legal basis of their modern-day independence efforts was the Treaty of Sèvres signed on August 10, 1920. It was annulled in the course of the “Turkish War of Independence” and the parties signed and ratified the superseding Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, which was silent regarding Kurdish rights due to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s tactics (founder of Turkey), where he presented himself as the representative of Kurdish-Turkish brotherhood of the newly created republic, and removed all reference to the Kurds.

Turkey has been the major obstacle to Kurdish independence. In recent years however, as the regime of Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara found itself more isolated in the region, the vision of a friendly and perhaps independent Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil (Northern Iraq) has been seen more positively in Ankara and Istanbul. A July 14, 2014 visit to Ankara by KRG President Massoud Barzani was widely speculated to be Barzani’s search for Turkish endorsement for an independent Kurdish state.

Turkey is in no rush to endorse an independent Kurdish state. The upcoming presidential elections in Turkey make it necessary for Erdogan to show friendliness toward the Kurds. Yet, as a foreign policy issue, Turkey is in line with President Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who oppose an independent Kurdish state. Not long ago, Turkey, Iran and Syria were in an alliance to forestall any manifestation of Kurdish self-determination.

Sherkoh Abbas is President of Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria (KURDNAS) and the organizer of an all-Kurdish conference in Germany in late August, 2014. He shared his vision of a future Kurdish independent state with this reporter.

“The Kurds merit an independent Kurdistan based on the treaty of Sèvres. Kurds arrived in the region now inhabited by Arabs, Persians and Turks (Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey) more than 4,000 years ago, and have continuously lived in these areas. The Kurds have been moderate, tolerant, pro-western, democratic, and protective of minorities. In fact, the Kurdish controlled areas in Iraq and Syria have recently become a haven for Christians and other minorities seeking refuge from Sunni Islamist radical groups such as the Islamic State (SI). Why then can there be 22 Arab states, one Turkish state, one Persian state, one Jewish state, but no Kurdish state? Why is it that 40 million Kurds do not enjoy the same rights of self-determination as the Arabs, Persians and Turks under the UN Charter that provides for ‘universal recognition of the inalienable right of self-determination?’

U.S. and Western nations support for an independent Kurdistan comprised of northern Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan) and northern Syria (Syrian Kurdistan) would accomplish the following: It would expand the area currently under control of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) where political and social stability exists, economic development is in full swing, and where security and peace provide a refuge for minorities. It would also serve as a beacon of democracy for the region and prevent radical Islamist groups such ISIS /Al-Qaeda from controlling the resource rich (oil included) Kurdish region of Syria and Iraq. Moreover, it will deny them a base to spread terror in the region and worldwide. The independent Kurdish state would become an economic oasis, and simultaneously serve as a barrier against the threat of Sunni (Islamic State)/Shiite (Iran) radicals threatening U.S. interests and its allies.

We, at the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria (KURDNAS) and our allies, including the Kurdish National Council (KNC) have a considerable influence among the Kurds of Syria. Our people in Syria prefer an independent Kurdistan comprised of Iraqi and Syrian Kurdistan. At a minimum, our people seek the Kurdistan region of Syria to be free and confederated with Iraqi Kurdistan.

The current opposition groups in Syria, including the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National Coalition do not serve the interests of Syrian people and are instrumental in creating divisions and conflicts, which are aiding radicals groups such as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham changed to Islamic State or (IS) recently) and al-Nusra. Kurds reject an alliance with the opposition groups for just such reasons, and because they are no different than the Assad regime with regards to Kurdish rights. Following decades of Arabization by the Assad regime, which spawned a culture of hate and violence, that denied human and national rights to Kurds and other minorities, it would be farfetched to expect reform from the embattled Assad regime. Hence, the Kurdish need for independence. The KRG in Iraq is a success story unlike the 22 Arab states which are mostly failed states that have achieved little in terms of human and religious rights, women and minority rights and democracy.

While KURDNAS and KNC accept all Kurdish representation, they will not accept the affiliation of PKK and associated groups such as YPG and PYD that can’t be considered Kurdish because they are working for the interests of neighboring regimes and against the interests of Kurdish leaders and organizations.

We recognize that in our region, military power alone can guarantee a nation’s survival. The Syrian Kurdistan region has the capacity to establish a force of 35,000-40,000 Kurdish National Guard or “Peshmerga,”which would providesecurity from external forces and would be under the command of the civilian Kurdish authorities.

As a final comment, I would like to stress the importance of a combined polity of Iraqi and Syrian Kurdistan that could serve as a free and democratic Pro-western barrier to the hegemonic ambitions of the Iranian regime and its allies, and similarly prevent the spread of the Caliphate-seekers of the Islamic State.”

The international community and certainly the U.S. should echo Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu’s call for an independent Kurdish state. If we believe in what we preach about democracy, human rights, religious freedom, tolerance and shared values, then an independent Kurdish state fulfills our vision. Conversely, the failed unitary states of Syria and Iraq lack all of them. An independent Kurdish state is in the interest of the U.S. and the West. It is also a moral imperative that an historic wrong has been righted.

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  • Tabitha Bliss

    Notice how we always seem to be on the wrong side of things since Obama’s been in office?

    US against an independent Kurdistan in Iraq

    01 July 2014 09:02 (Last updated 01 July 2014 09:09)

    US reiterated its position on the unity of Iraq and urges all parties in Iraq to unite against ISIL threat

    WASHINGTON D.C.

    U.S. State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki said Monday that the U.S. is not supportive of an independent Kurdistan in Iraq and called for all countries to support efforts for unity.

    As Iraq has been in the grip of terror stormed by militants of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) on several key cities since early June, the partition of Iraq and the idea of an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq has been voiced more loudly.

    “At this challenging and grave security, we think it’s even more important that all parties – the Shia, the Sunni and the Kurds – remain united against the threat they face,” Psaki said on the possibility of an independent Kurdistan.

    Psaki stated that the U.S. has been aware of the aspirations of Kurds for independence and said the threat that the region faces requires unity and this is the reason that the U.S. has been emphasizing it so strongly.

    As key US ally, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Sunday, called for an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq, while another ally, Turkey’s Deputy PM Bulent Arinc said that Turkey would never support a disintegrated Iraq, in respect to PM Netanyahu’s statement regarding the establishment of a Kurdish State.

    Concerning ISIL’s declaration of restoring caliphacy, Psaki said that this declaration has no meaning to the people in Iraq and Syria but acts only to further expose the true nature of the organization and its desire to control people by fear.

    “It emphasizes even more that this is a critical moment for the international community, for countries in the region, for all of the Iraqi people to unite against the threats that they face,” said Psaki.

    ISIL has gained a significant ground in Iraq and Syria since early June. From the borders of Jordan to the outskirts of Baghdad, ISIL militants have been influential.

    Kurdish troops, the Peshmerga, protected the territories of Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) and took over the oil rich Kirkuk city as Iraqi army’s line broke by ISIL militants.

    During KRG President Masoud Barzani’s meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Barzani said that there is a new conjecture and a new Iraq which is being assesed as his will to declare independence.

    • Bamaguje

      America has always favored a united Iraq…. it’s not an Obama thing.
      With NATO enforced no-fly zone over Kurdistan, and even boots on the ground in Iraq, both Bushes could have easily established an independent Kurdish nation, but chose not to.

    • Ken Kelso

      And this idiot Obama and Kerry support a Palestinian state, but no Kurdish state. This is insanity.

    • PATRIOT.WW48

      Tabitha, well written.!! You are so correct

  • Damaris Tighe

    Joseph, you omitted to point out that the international community is calling for a SECOND Palestinian state. Jordan, carved out of eastern Palestine by the British, is a de facto Palestinian state with 50-80% of its people identifying themselves as Palestinians. The Two State Solution is in fact the Two Palestinian State Solution.

    Ok, if that brings peace so be it although I’d rather see Jordan, which has a peace agreement with Israel, take back the West Bank.

  • Ken Kelso

    And does anyone notice Obama, Kerry, Hillary, Madeleine Albright never talk about a Kurdish state, but want a Pal state.
    I’m sick of these hypocrites.
    The Kurds have been the best ally to America.
    No Americans died in the Kurdish section in the Iraq war.
    The Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan must have a state with Kirkuk as the Capitol.

    • Americana

      Why on earth would anyone endorse a Kurdish state and not a Palestinian one? What selective hypocrisy.

      • Gee

        Because the Kurds are like the Jews – wanting their own land and to be left alone. That is something the world opposes. Peaceful people living peacefully in the Middle East.

        My eldest daughter served in Iraq 2005-2006 with the 101st Airborne and they had strict instructions to ask the Kurds for information because they did not lie to US forces and would never attack them. The rest of the Arabs were just called Hajjis and never trusted

        • johnnywood

          You can never really trust an Arab Muslim anyway because their stupid religion permits them to lie to infidels,(us).

      • 1Indioviejo1

        It is quite simple. Arabs are terrorist at this time, and are trying to destroy civilization. The Kurds on the other hand, haven’t gone that way since the Armenian holocaust. The Turks did most of the killing, but all good Muslims joined in. Do you get it?

      • Ken Kelso

        Earth to Idiot, the Palestinians were offered a state by Barak and Olmert but rejected that offer, because their would be a Jewish state not controlled by the Arabs.
        This is about Arab fascism.
        The fact remains, Obama and Kerry support a Palestinian state but not a Kurdish state.
        That is a disgrace by Obama and Kerry.

      • johnnywood

        The greatest opposition to an Independent Palestinian State are the implacable Palestinians who refuse to recognize Israel`s right to exist.

      • Sharmake Yusuf

        :-) the brazen hypocrisy of zionists is just breathtaking!

        • Drakken

          Your not meeting with your 72 virgins yet?

      • Drakken

        The Kurds deserve their independence, the pali’s may they rot in H8LL!

        • IslamDownpressesHumanity

          Gee, what kind of state do you think the Kurds will establish? It’ll be merely one more state in the OIC and indistinguishable from the rest in terms of its treatment of the najjis kaffir.

  • Ken Kelso

    Good info about the Kurds on Twitter by a Kurdish poster on there with lots of good articles.

    https://twitter.com/search?q=kurds&src=typd

  • Ken Kelso

    Great Kurdish poster on Twitter with good articles about the Kurds.

    https://twitter.com/mrgoldfink

  • John P Center

    viva Kurdistan, viva Peshmarga

  • PATRIOT.WW48

    Sounds like a great idea to me. Sure hope it happens

  • jscumm

    at the end of the day, kurds are just as much moslems as are the Pakistanis or iranians. they all read koran, dictated by the pedophet mohammed, who told his followers to ‘islamicize the planet’ by killing brutally any resistance.
    sorry Israel, according to that pedophet, “jews turned in to monkeys and pigs” still holds the prime belief among two billion plus moslems

    • Gee

      Yes but they have stated that they want nothing to do with harming Jews or aiding anybody attacking Jews. That is all we ask for.

      • jscumm

        remember iran?
        it was pro-jewish under the shah but not anymore. islam showing its true colors under the ayatollahs.
        i’d never trust a moslem

        • Gee

          I will not trust anybody that goes back on their word. So far the Kurds haven’t. Trust but verify.

          • IslamDownpressesHumanity

            Tell it to the Armenians.

    • 1Indioviejo1

      You are the only one on this page that sees it like I do. It is a good strategic move to support Kurdish independence, but ultimately the are Muslims. Never forget that Muslims have been killing each other since the days of Mohammad, and with a Kurdish state there will be one more faction at each other’s throat.

  • 1Indioviejo1

    While I can see the strategic importance of a Kurdish state in a region in turmoil, I don’t believe another Muslim state will be a democracy. When the Kurds were part of the Ottoman Empire they most willingly participated in the Armenian Holocaust. At present they may need israel and Israel may need them. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”, until they don’t need Israel anymore. A Muslim is a Muslim, so any alliance has to be made with open eyes. It will last what it will and may even be advisable at this time, but do not look at it with rosy glasses.

    • jscumm

      you are right when you say “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”. however, looking at islamic history, i, as an infidel would stay neutral and let them destroy each other (shia vs sunni) until one is completey wiped out then I would quickly move in to finish the other so that the mankind is free of this brain desease “islam”

  • Attila_the_hun

    The main obstacle of Kurdish independence Turkey finally realized no longer can control 20 million Kurds living in its territory. Currently the largest Kurdish city in the world is not Erbil or Baghdad but Istanbul. Erdogan’s pipe dream is to coerce KRG to aligned itself with Turkey without full fledged Independence. At the same passivising its Kurdish population. What’s keeping KRG from declaring Independence is its landlocked territory and the tribalism among Kurdish population in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

  • HowCanIHelp

    Please sign the following White House Petition supporting an independent Kurdistan.

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/support-kurdish-independence/wk7K9SSp

    No U.S. soldier has ever been killed in Kurdish controlled territory.

    The Kurds are planning a memorial to U.S. military men and women killed in Iraq. The first of its kind on foreign soil since the Normandy memorial.

    There are 150,000 Kurds living in Israel.

    Kurds helped smuggle Jews out of Iraq to Israel in the 40′s and 50′s when the Iraqi

    government increased its persecution of Jews.

    • Ken Kelso

      Thank you for posting this.

    • IslamDownpressesHumanity

      How many Armenian and Assyrian Christians were slaughtered or enslaved by Kurds during the Armenian Genocide?
      Did the Kurds smuggle Jews out of Iraq out of the kindness of their heart?
      Or for cold, hard cash?

  • jscumm

    don’t forget, the kurds are predominantly sunnis. the ‘fanatic brand of islam’

    • IslamDownpressesHumanity

      But they’re good muslimes. Cough, gag, spit.

  • IslamDownpressesHumanity

    An independent Kurdistan will be judenrein by design, because whatever else it will be, it’ll be an islamic state.

  • Sharmake Yusuf

    Since when did Netanyahu become a “major international figure” as the writer of this article claims?
    Instead, Netanyahu is an international pariah known for his extremism, racism and massacre of palestinians!

  • Sharmake Yusuf

    Israel should not preach to other countries until it allows full civil rights of non-jews in Israel and paletinian territories. The ongoing discrimination and vioence against non-Jews must end under one democratic state in which Jews and non-Jews have full rights and living in harmony!