The Time for Kurdistan Region of Syria Has
By Hiwa Osman
July 23, 2012
The Kurdistan Region of Syria? Yes, it is possible.
Now is the time to declare it.
Today, the Kurds of Syria are in a position to be a
strong player in the new Syria and the Middle East.
But this depends a great deal on their Kurdish
neighbors and co-fighters – namely, the KDP and PKK.
The events of the past week have opened up a new
horizon for the Kurds in the Middle East in general
and the Kurds of Syria in particular. The liberation
of the Kurdish cities of Syria presents a new kind
of challenge for the Kurds of Syria.
At times like these, creative thinking could change
the course of history and secure a better future.
Given the developments in the other parts of Syria
and the conflict between the Assad regime and the
opposition, the leadership of Syrian Kurds could
steer things in a different direction.
Although the conflict is now between the regime’s
army and the free Syrian army, it will eventually
take the shape of a Sunni-Alawite conflict that
could resemble the Sunni-Shia conflict of Iraq. In
such a scenario,www.ekurd.net
the Kurds would become secondary to both the Sunnis
and Alawites of Syria and could use this status to
maximize the security of their position.
The committee that is supposed to run the affairs of
the Kurdish region, to be announced in Erbil, should
first of all unilaterally announce the creation of
the Kurdistan Region of Syria. They should start
behaving as an independent region and organize their
This would serve two purposes. It would guarantee
them a clear position once the Assad regime falls,
and their participation – and its cost — in the
political process of Damascus would be clear.
Given the Alawite fears of Sunni rule of the
country, Assad could see a benefit in recognizing
the Kurdish region as a step to transition Syria
into a federal state. This is a fallback option for
the Alawites, who are also a minority and have an
older generation with many horror stories of “Sunni
oppression.” Federalism in Syria could be a way to
avert retribution against the Alawites by
establishing three regions — an Alawite, a Sunni and
a Kurdish region.
The other benefit of creating a Kurdish region now
would be to give the Kurds a strong footing when it
comes to negotiating a vision and constitution for
the new Syria.
In Iraq, almost all non-Kurds have difficulty
understanding that the country is a “voluntary
union” of its people. Without a Kurdish region, it
would be difficult to say that Kurds were equal
partners and they have a lot to lose by being in
But the key to such a scenario is internal Kurdish
unity. The Erbil agreement should be respected and
an agreement between the KDP and PKK should be
reached over the future of the Kurdish regions of
Syria. The other important player in this is Turkey,
who seems to be quiet given the initial hints over
the past few days.
At times of uncertainty, those who create realities
on the ground are the safest. Now is the time for
the Kurds of Syria to create the reality of their
federal region on the ground.
Hiwa Osman is IWPR’s country director in Iraq, previously
served as Iraqi president Jalal Talabani’s media
adviser, a regular contributing writer and columnist for
website is www.hiwaosman.com
Copyright © 2012 Ekurd.net
expressed in this commentary are solely those of the