The KRG is Blocking Kurdish Independence

There are no prospects whatsoever for a nuclear agreement between Iran and the United States and so the US government resorting to Plan B, i.e. the military options, is inevitable. This means that the US and Israel will jointly destroy the Iranian nuclear weapons program and the emerging US-led international Iran coalition will impose a no-fly zone over Iran that will provide air support to armed rebellions throughout the country. The Iranian Kurds will no doubt be the first or at least among the very first to rise against the Khomeinist regime once a no-fly zone has been imposed. The establishment of a Kurdish self-governing region in Iranian Kurdistan will offer the opportunity of the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in half of Kurdistan, i.e. the Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian sections.

For Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian Kurdistan to unite to form a Kurdish state requires significant preparation and reconciliation as well as agreement between the AANES (Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria) and the KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government) in northern Iraq. Yet, we are seeing the very opposite in Erbil having blocked the border crossing between NES (North and East Syria) and KRI (Kurdistan Region of Iraq) for a month already. This is highly counterproductive and while the AANES has been engaged in intensive democratization and liberalization for the past decade, the KRG continues to waste precious political time at the expense of the Kurdish nation. 

The KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) and the PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) have extensive experience from intra-Kurdish reconciliation and integration as they were once in armed conflict with each in running two separate Kurdish regions but did reconcile and gradually merged their regions within the framework of the KRG. There is no reason why they should not reconcile with the PYD (Democratic Union Party), the ruling party in the AANES and with PJAK (Kurdistan Free Life Party) which is likely to lead Iranian Kurdistan once that region becomes free.

However, the ruling families of the KRG, the Talabanis and the Barzanis are apparently not interested in Kurdish unity since their priority is to continue stealing oil money that rightfully belongs to the people of Kurdistan. Instead of preparing for Kurdish independence by promoting intra-Kurdish reconciliation does the KRG deepen the rift between the KRG and the AANES by for weeks keeping the border closed between them.

Forming an independent Kurdish state requires significant preparation and crucially agreement on a constitution. A number of years ago did the Arameans/Assyrians/Chaldeans have an opportunity to form an autonomous Aramaic-speaking region in Iraq but their political organizations squandered the opportunity due to squabbling among themselves instead of reaching an agreement. Will Iraqi Kurdish leaders similarly squander a unique opportunity to form an independent state in the Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian sections of Kurdistan?

Kurdish political parties have a long history of acting contrary to the Kurdish national interest and while it is understandable that being active in a landlocked country surrounded by enemies offers limited political options is the refusal of the KRG to reconcile with the AANES and implement AANES-style feminist democratization and liberalization completely contrary to the interests of the Kurdish nation.

While it could be argued that it would be safer to wait to press for independence until after Erdogan likely loses power in 2023 is this no reason not to promote intra-Kurdish reconciliation without delay. The historical reconciliation between the KDP and PUK took years to attain and implement and reconciliation between the KRG and the AANES certainly is not easily attained either and would take time. Yet the fact is that building an independent Kurdistan cannot be attained without democratization and liberalization in the KRG since for the AANES the feminist democratic revolution is more important than Kurdish independence. The kleptocratic inclinations of the two ruling families in the KRG may thus doom the Kurdistan independence project. However, Kurdish leaders should seriously consider why anyone in the outside world should support Kurdish independence if the Kurds cannot even reconcile among themselves?

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization.

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