Juan Cole’s list of recent “disturbing” news items from Iraq begins with some major developments regarding the Kurds: 1. Last Wednesday Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki angrily lashed out at the Kurds, accusing them of harboring the terrorists of the so-called ‘Islamic State.’ Since the Kurds have in fact fought the IS radicals, al-Maliki’s charge is hard to take seriously. Rather, … Continue reading Kurdistan’s Moment? Ctd
Ranj Alaaldin has the latest on the Kurds, who, in taking and holding Kirkuk against the ISIS onslaught, “may have won a historic battle for what has been described as both the crown jewel and Jerusalem of Kurdistan”: It can now secure its economic independence from Baghdad. Control of Kirkuk also means the Kurds have the economic lynchpin for an … Continue reading Kurdistan’s Moment? Ctd
The president of Iraqi Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, has announced plans to hold a referendum on independence: [A]nnouncing a Kurdish independence vote during an interview with the BBC, Barzani said a referendum would only confirm what is clear already—namely that Iraq has been “effectively partitioned now” following the territorial gains by the self-declared Islamic State (IS), formerly known as ISIS, … Continue reading Kurdistan’s Moment? Ctd
The president of Iraqi Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, has indicated that the Kurds intend to remain in control of Kirkuk, which peshmerga forces occupied earlier this month to defend it from the jihadist scourge: Speaking at a press conference on June 27 with British Foreign Secretary William Hague in the Kurdish region’s capital, Irbil, Barzani said Kirkuk’s status “now … Continue reading Kurdistan’s Moment? Ctd
Steven Cook weighs in on the prospects for Kurdish independence. He’s less bullish than most: For all the confidence in Erbil, the Kurds have a host of significant problems that seriously complicate the establishment of an independent Kurdistan. The Kurds have enjoyed something that looks a lot like a state for the past three decades, but they … Continue reading Kurdistan’s Moment? Ctd
Dov Zakheim pushes Washington to recognize the Kurdish claim to independence, but he doubts the administration will go for it: The pro-Western, anti-Islamist Kurds are America’s natural allies. During the nineties, they were the focus of American support while Saddam Hussein was in power. Yet the administration remains reluctant to exert itself on their behalf, and, in particular, … Continue reading Kurdistan’s Moment? Ctd
Iraqi Kurdish leaders are reportedly hinting that they’re on board with partitioning Iraq. That’s not surprising, as they’d get their own state out of such an arrangement: Kurdistan Democratic Party figure Abdul Salam Berwari said in a phone interview with Al-Hayat, “The Kurdish political leadership sees since the 1990s that the only solution for the survival of a unified Iraq is … Continue reading Kurdistan’s Moment? Ctd
Koplow insists that Turkey’s best course of action right now is to support an independent state for the Kurds in northern Iraq: The best way to neutralize ISIS as a threat is to strengthen the KRG, whose peshmerga already took Kirkuk in response to the ISIS takeover of Mosul, and can keep the conflict with ISIS in Iraq rather … Continue reading Kurdistan’s Moment?
by Jonah Shepp The Obama administration has begun directly providing weapons to Kurds in Iraq: http://t.co/NZx158ty3E pic.twitter.com/B5g9DBzHDg — CNBC Politics (@CNBCPolitics) August 11, 2014 The US has begun providing weapons directly to Kurdish forces in northern Iraq, in a break with our longstanding policy of only selling arms to the government in Baghdad: The officials wouldn’t say … Continue reading Arming The Kurds
by Dish Staff Kurdistan’s image in the West as a stable, successful, democratic proto-state is not entirely in line with reality, Jenna Krajeski remarks: Kurdistan is booming on the promise of oil wealth, and their security—maintained by the peshmerga—has enticed investors to the region. But progress has come alongside reports of rampant corruption, a widening gap between … Continue reading Is Kurdistan All It’s Cracked Up To Be?