An Independent Kurdish State: Achievable
or Merely a Kurdish Dream?
Special to Ekurd.net
June 28, 2012
Iraq, we have seen, is a country of contradictions.
In the post invasion years, Iraq’s remaining
(nominally) as a united country is not because of
the Iraqis willingness, but rather because the
occupier forces have willed it. It is likely that
with the departure of the occupying forces, not only
the power-sharing regime will break apart, but also
the country is likely to be partitioned. The
conflict of ethnic-nationalists, the clash of
identities and loyalties, the opposing interests,
and exclusive visions over strategic issues are all
sources of conflict between Kurds and the other
For several decades the Kurdish secessionist and
irredentist movement has been in conflict with Sunni
Pan-Arab nationalism and territorialism. However,
while the Sunnis were in power, their
ethnic-nationalism gained ascendancy and defined the
official state ideology, and in turn the Iraqi state
and its institutions became instruments for
implementing Pan-Arab-Nationalist projects. The
conflicts between the Kurds and other Iraqi groups
turned the Kurds into oppressed victims.
Termination of this victim status required the Kurds
to change that balance, and one way was to escape
from Iraq. On the other hand, the accumulated
effects of the conflicts created exclusive interests
and loyalties. The divisions within the society are
too deep and could trigger serious conflict if a
federal or central system were to be imposed on the
nation. The Kurdish secession is both the ultimate
goal of the Kurds and a permanent solution to the
country’s woes. As we have seen, some commentators
assert that a Kurdish independent state is not a
realistic solution because it could trigger further
conflict in Iraq and because there are serious
geopolitical barriers to such a move. However, the
assumption that Kurdish secession could lead to
civil war is mostly based on misunderstandings of
the Kurdish case and on the belief that it is part
of the bigger package that is the partition of Iraq
into three states.
The nature of the Kurdish Baghdad conflict is
different from the ongoing conflict between Sunnis
and Shiites. The former is about how to escape from
Iraq while the latter is about who controls the
country. Further, the Kurdish approach to
controlling the disputed areas is quite dissimilar
to the violent confrontations between Sunnis and
Shiites over controlling Baghdad. The issue of
losers and winners in the event of the partitioning
of Iraq is exaggerated. Judging by Iraqi history and
the post-invasion events.
The permanent solution lies in the division of the
mixed cities and oil resources, not in the forced
maintenance of unity. Geopolitical barriers are
another factor that has been exaggerated. This is
evidenced by the success of the KRG during the
1990s, for in that time the semi-autonomous state
developed economically and established satisfactory
diplomatic relations with neighboring countries.
Contrary to the view that the Kurdish independent
state could lead to anarchy in the region, it could
act as an effective buffer between some hostile
reduce the threat of civil war, and limit the
possible formation of an Islamic state in Iraq.
Moreover, as the past decade has demonstrated, it
could economically benefit surrounding countries. In
their struggle for independence the Kurdish gains
have reached the stage where they are irreversible.
Both the international community and the regional
countries have to recognize and support the Kurdish
independent state if a peaceful, durable solution
and human rights are to be achieved.
The Economist, Political Risk Services, the Journal
of Social, Political and Economic Studies, • Aram
RafaatUniversity of South Australia
Key Words: Kurds; Kurdistan; Kurdish role Vis a Vis
Iraq; Kurdish independence; Iraqand federalism.
Eng. Nia Amin is an Advisor & Human Right Activities
in EU and Ekurd.net columnist.
Copyright © 2012 Ekurd.net
You may republish this article in your newsletter or
at your web site or blog providing the entire
article is kept intact, including the contact links
and copyright information Ekurd.net.
expressed in this commentary are solely those of the