Kurdistan – A Viable State

By Arian Mufid:


For the last two decades Kurdish nationalism has remained more alive than at any other time in the history of the Kurdish struggle. Strategies to establish our own country have never been far away. The slogan of an independent Kurdish state has never been relinquished.

More than a century ago, Sheik Ubadulla Shamzini’s uprising spread throughout Kurdistan – comprising, Iranian Kurdistan and Ottoman Kurdistan – encompassing the region in 1880. Most Kurdish historians have analysed this as one of the most powerful uprisings. Sheik Ubadulla Shamzini demanded the formation of a Kurdish state. The slogan of independence for the Arabs came later – around 1916, from the Sharif of Mecca – and with the help of the British. Even though the Arab nation held a conference in Paris they only managed to raise the slogan of decentralisation rather than independence. The first Kurdish newspaper – ‘Kurdistan’, published in Cairo in 1898 – had as its main slogan, ‘an independent Kurdistan, and nothing less’. The content of all its articles adopted this principle.

Hadji Kadir Coie , the famous Kurdish poet, always advocated Kurdish rule, and independence for Kurdistan (he died in Istanbul in1897). Most of the time his poetry spoke about a Kurdish state. In 1922 Sheik Mehmood created a Southern State of Kurdistan, and for the first time we had our own stamps and a Kurdish cabinet. When Sheik Mehmood declared an independent Kurdistan he was sitting next to Captain Noel, the British representative. In 1919, at the peace conference , Sharif Pasha gave a detailed report about Kurdish independence to the Alliance Powers.The Pact of

Sever had chapters and sections (62.63,64) devoted to Kurdish independence, which has never been implemented.
Qazi Mohamed formally proclaimed his Kurdish people’s government on January 22, 1946 in Chwar Chira square, where the town’s only two paved streets crossed. In attendance, as he raised the Kurdish flag, were Iranian tribal chiefs, KDP officials, three Soviet officers in a jeep with machine guns, and Barzani, soon to be seen decked out in a Soviet general’s uniform, with high boots and stiff shoulder straps.

We need to understand the concept of state, law, the regulations behind the state and national powers, and to analyse international law underpinning the nation state. Finally, to enrich our essay we will consider vivid examples of newly-built nation states throughout history.

The State – definitions

A state is a set of institutions that possess the authority to make the rules that govern the people – having internal and external sovereignty over a definite territory. According to Max Weber’s influential definition, ‘a state has a monopoly on legitimate violence‘. Hence the state includes such institutions as the armed forces, civil service or state bureaucracy, courts, and police. The actions of private justice or of private corporate armies, both characteristic of feudalism, are in the modern world the symptoms of a ‘failed state’. For theorists of international relations, recognition of the state’s claim to independence by other states, enabling it to enter into international engagements, is key to the establishment of its sovereignty.
Although the term often refers broadly to all institutions of government or rule – ancient and modern – the modern state system bears a number of characteristics that were first consolidated in western Europe, beginning in earnest in the 15th century. In the late 20th century, the globalisation of the world economy, the mobility of people and capital, and the rise of many international institutions all combined to circumscribe the freedom of action of states. However, the state remains the basic political unit of the world, as it has been since the 16th Century. The state is therefore considered the most central concept in the study of politics, and its definition is the subject of intense scholarly debate. Political sociologists in the tradition of both Karl Marx and Max Weber usually favour a broad definition that draws attention to the role of the coercive apparatus.

Since the late 19th century, the entirety of the world’s inhabitable land has been parcelled up into states: earlier, quite large land areas had been either unclaimed or uninhabited, or inhabited by nomadic peoples who were not organised as a state. Currently more than 200 states comprise the international community, with the vast majority of them represented in the United Nations. In casual usage, the terms ‘country’, ‘nation’ and ‘state’ are often used as if they were synonymous: but in a more strict usage they are distinguished.

In the socialist schools of thought, the state is a special organization of force: it is an organisation of violence for the suppression of some class. The exploiting classes need political rule to maintain exploitation, in the selfish interests of an insignificant minority against the vast majority of people. The exploited classes need political rule in order to completely abolish all exploitation. The proletariat needs state power, a centralised organisation of force, an organisation of violence, both to crush the resistance of the exploiters and to lead the enormous mass of the population -the peasants, petty bourgeoisie, and semi-proletarians – in the work of organising a socialist economy.

‘Country’ is the geographical area. ‘Nation’ designates a people. However, nationally and internationally there is confusion pertaining to what defines a state. In international law, ‘state’ refers to a set of governing institutions with sovereignty over a definite territory.


The term ‘state’ has several meanings in law:
1. In private international law and conflict of laws, the state can refer to a well defined jurisdiction, with its own set of laws and courts. This jurisdiction may either be a sovereign, independent state, or a part (state, province, territory, etc) of such a state.
2. In public international law, the state most commonly refers to a sovereign state, which is the direct subject of international law.

Every ‘state’ within meaning (2) above is a state. Within meaning (1) above, the reverse does not hold. For example, the United States is a state under both definitions, but California is a state only under the first.

This study is primarily about the first definition:

For the purposes of public international law and private international law, a state is a defined group of people, living within defined territorial boundaries and more or less subject to an autonomous legal system exercising jurisdiction through properly constituted courts. The usage of the term state rather than nation and country, refers unambiguously to the legal government of a territory, rather than to its people or culture. However, the term ‘country’ is still sometimes used in this way.

The civilized portion of the earth is divided up into certain units of territory in each of which a particular law proper to that territory alone prevails, and that territory is for legal purposes a unit. What determines the state? It has been seen that the existence of separate legal units within the dominions of a single sovereign state is, in fact, the result of historical accidents. The use of the word state for this purpose is not universally accepted .Some countries and individual authors use country, territorial unit, law unit or law district. In the Australian federation, each state and territory is a law district. The choice of law-rule may select the law of a country that contains more than one legal system. There must be rules to determine which of the several possible laws might apply.

States with more than one legal system, such as Iraq:

1. Where a state comprises several territorial units, each of which has its own rules of law in respect of contractual obligations, each territorial unit is to be considered as a country for the purposes of identifying the law applicable under this convention.
2. A state within which different territorial units have their own rules of law in respect of contractual obligations is not bound to apply this convention to conflicts solely between the laws of such units.

The state and geography, politics, economics, sociology:

For the purposes of disciplines such as geography, politics, economics and sociology, it is appropriate to consider the world as divided into countries and because it is of little significance in those disciplines, simply to add that some of these countries may be federated or otherwise divided into regions or provinces. The focus is on the broad cultural patterns of political allegiance that arise by virtue of citizenship and nationality. The so-called social contract is that the state, in its technical sense, will defend the interests of its citizens in return for the loyalty of its citizens.
The power to make law is an aspect of sovereignty, but it does not follow that the law is the same throughout a single sovereign territory. Differences may arise in two ways: (a) as new territory is added to old; or (b) as two countries are combined under a single sovereign. When new law is to be made, the sovereign may legislate for only part of the territories either because the territory has been divided into separate units – each with its own legislative bodies – or because a single legislative body limits a new law to only a portion of the territory. Public international law exists to provide a framework within which the relationship between sovereign nation states can be regulated.

Factors in the creation of a State


Law is the set of rules or norms of conduct which forbids, permits or mandates specified actions and relationships among people and organisations. The authority upon which legal rules rest and the extent to which they are formally codified varies between jurisdictions. But most legal systems profess to be engaged in an attempt to assure impartial treatment of those suspected of breaching the rules and to bring about justice. However, some argue that certain legal systems -such as those operating in dictatorships and monarchies – are inherently unjust because they afford majority power to the few. Law is typically administered through a system of courts in which judges preside. Most countries rely upon the police to enforce the law. Police officers most often must be professionally trained in law enforcement before they are permitted to act under the code law.

Civil law:

In reference to legal traditions, civil law usually means a system of law which is codified and subsequently applied and interpreted by judges.Customary law:
Customary laws are systems of law that have evolved largely on their own within a given country and have been adapted to meet the needs of the particular culture. Note that customary law may also be relevant within jurisdictions following another legal tradition in fields or sub-fields of law where no legislative enactment exists. The only countries in the world today that use this legal system are Mongolia and Sri Lanka.

Religious law:

Many religions contain a body of law – for example, Sharia in Islam and various forms of Canon law for different denominations of Christians. In some cases these are intended purely as individual moral guidance, whereas in other cases they are intended and may be used as the basis for a country’s legal system. This can be in two ways:
1. In countries such as Kurdistan, the religious code of Islam is integral to the country’s legal system. In this case civic law is the religious law .Some countries ,where the state exists as a vehicle for a religion-based culture, are known as theocracies (historically run by kings).
2. In countries such as the United States, there is no national religion. However, a religious heritage and cultural background is strongly influential in the formation of a legal system.

International law developed to deal with newly-arising states

The French monk Émeric Crucé (1590-1648) elaborated the idea of having representatives of all countries meet in one place to discuss their conflicts, so as to avoid war and preserve peace. He suggested this in his Nouveau Cynée (1623) and chose Venice as the city for all representatives to meet. He suggested that the Pope should preside over the meeting. Of course, during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), this was not acceptable to the Protestant nations. He also said that armies should be abolished and called for a world court. Though his call to abolish armies was not taken seriously, Émeric Crucé deserves his place in history, through his foresight that international organisations are crucial to solve international disputes. The statesmen of the time believed no nation could escape war, and so they prepared for it. King Henry IV’s chief Minister, the Duke of Sully, proposed the founding of an alliance of the European nations that was to meet to arbitrate issues and wage war, not between themselves but collectively against the Ottoman Turks. He called it the Grand Design, but it was never established.

Modern international law is often affirmed as the product of modern European civilization. The seafaring principalities of India established legal rules for ocean navigation and regional commerce. The Greek system of independent city-states bore a close resemblance to the contemporary nation state system. The Aetolian and Achaean leagues of the 3rd century BC represented early organisational efforts at international cooperation, and facilitated the development of arbitration as a dispute-settlement technique.

International law

International law is different from private international law. In its most general sense it consists of rules and principles of general application, dealing with the conduct of states and of international organizations, and with their relations. International law concerns the structure and conduct of states, international organizations, and, to a certain degree, multinational corporations and individuals. Public international law: regulates the relationship between states and international entities; regulates competing demand; and establishes the framework for predictable and agreed behaviour among parties. Private international law selects between conflicting municipal systems of law to regulate the relationship between persons, as defined both legally and naturally. The necessity for international law arose in the context of increased international communication, trade, and conflict.

The scope of international law

International law establishes the framework and the criteria for identifying states as the principal actors in the international legal system. The existence of a state presupposes control and jurisdiction over territory. International law deals with the acquisition of territory, state immunity and the legal responsibility of states in their conduct with each other. The law is similarly concerned with the treatment of individuals within state boundaries. There is thus a comprehensive regime dealing with: group rights; the treatment of aliens; the rights of refugees; international crimes; nationality problems and human rights.

Furthermore, it generally includes: the important functions of the maintenance of international peace and security; arms control; the pacific settlement of disputes; and the regulation of the use of force in international relations. Even when the law is not able to stop the outbreak of war it has developed principles to govern the conduct of hostilities and treatment of prisoners. International law is also used to govern issues relating to the global environment and global economy such as international waters, outer space, global communications and world trade. Whilst municipal law is hierarchical or vertical, with the legislature enacting binding legislation, international law is horizontal, with all states being sovereign and theoretically equal. Because of this, the value and authority of international law is dependent upon the voluntary participation of states in its formulation, observance, and enforcement. Although there may be exceptions, most states enter into legal commitments with other states out of enlightened self-interest rather than adherence to a body of law that is higher than their own. As D. W. Greig notes, international law cannot exist in isolation from the political factors operating in the sphere of international relations. Traditionally, states were the sole subjects of international law.

The State and conflicts over international law

The 17th,18th and 19th centuries saw the growth of the concept of a ‘nation state’, which comprised a nation controlled by a centralized system of government. The concept of nationalism became increasingly important as people began to see themselves as citizens of a particular nation, with a distinct national identity. Until the beginning of the 20th century, relations between nation states were dictated by Treaty – unenforceable agreements to behave in a certain way towards another state. Many people now view the nation-state as the primary unit of international affairs. States may choose to voluntarily enter into commitment under international law, but they will often follow their own counsel when it comes to an interpretation of their commitments. As the 20th century progressed, a number of violent, armed conflicts, including WW1 and WWII, exposed the weaknesses of a voluntary system of international treaties.
Many people feel that these modern developments endanger nation states by taking power away from state governments and ceding it to international bodies such as the UN and the World Bank. Some scholars and political leaders have recently argued that international law has evolved to a point where it exists separately from the mere consent of states. There is a growing trend toward judging a state’s domestic actions in the light of international law and standards. A number of states, notably within the United Nations, vehemently oppose this interpretation, maintaining that sovereignty is the only true international law and that states have free reign over their own affairs. Similarly, a number of scholars now discern a legislative and judicial process to international law that parallels such processes within domestic law. Opponents of this point of view maintain that states: only commit to international law with express consent; have the right to make their own interpretations of its meaning; and that international courts only function with the consent of states because international law is a relatively new area of law, its development is uncertain and its relevance and propriety hotly disputed.

There are three primary sources of international law:

• International treaties law
• Custom law
• General principles of law

International treaty law is comprised of obligations that states expressly and voluntarily accept between themselves in treaties. Customary international law is derived from the consistent practice of states accompanied by opinio juris – that is, the conviction of states that consistent practice is required by a legal obligation. Judgments of international tribunals as well as scholarly works have traditionally been looked to as persuasive sources for custom in addition to direct evidence of state behavior. Attempts to codify customary international law picked up momentum after the Second World War with the formation of the International Law Commission (ILC). Codified customary law is made the binding interpretation of the underlying custom by agreement through treaty. General principles of law are those commonly recognised by the major legal systems of the world. Certain norms of international law achieve the binding force of peremptory norms as to include all states with no permissible derogations. Legal principles common to major legal systems may also be invoked to supplement international law when necessary.

Interpretation of international law

Where there are disputes about the exact meaning and application of national laws, it is the responsibility of the courts to decide what the law means. In international law as a whole, there are no courts which have the authority to do this. It is generally the responsibility of states to interpret the law for themselves. Unsurprisingly this means that there is rarely agreement in cases of dispute.

Enforcement by States

The force of international law has always come from the pressure that states put upon one another to behave consistently and to honour their obligations. As with any system of law, many violations of international law obligations are overlooked. If addressed, it is almost always through diplomacy, and regard for the consequences to an offending state’s reputation. Though violation may be common, in fact, states try to avoid the appearance of having disregarded international obligations. States may also unilaterally adopt sanctions against one another, such as the severance of economic or diplomatic ties, or through reciprocal action. In some cases, domestic courts may render judgement against a foreign state for an injury, though this is a complicated area of law where international law intersects with domestic law. States have the right to employ force in self-defence against an offending state that has used force to attack its territory or political independence.

Enforcement by international bodies

States can also upon mutual consent, submit disputes for arbitration by the international court of justice, located in the Hague, Netherlands .The judgements given by the court in these cases are binding although it possesses no means to enforce its rulings. The court may give an advisory opinion on any legal question at the request of whatever body may be authorized by or in accordance with the charter of the United Nations to make such a request.


Through the ages a code developed for relations and conduct between nations. Even when nations were at war, envoys were often considered immune to violence. The first formal attempts in this direction, which over time have developed into current international law, stem from the era of the Renaissance in Europe. In the Middle Ages, it had been considered the obligation of the church to mediate in international disputes. During the Council of Constance(1414) Pawel Wlodkowic – Rector of Jagiellonian University (Krakow, Poland), theologian, lawyer and diplomat – presented the theory that all, including Pagan nations have right to self-govern, to live in peace and possess their land. At the beginning of the 17th Century, several generalisations could be made about the political situation:
1. Self-governing, autonomous states existed.
2. Almost all of them were governed by monarchs.
3. Land, wealth, and trading rights were often the focus of wars between states.

Developments in Kurdistan and Iraq

The Kurdish issue has been a central question confronting Iraqi governments ever since the state of Iraq was established in 1920. This problem has had both internal and external aspects. On the basis of our history, our Kurdish nation is differentiated from the Arab nation – linguistically, ethnically and by religion. This is justification enough for our right to our own state. We have never had a genuine offer from any of the previous governments in Iraq, despite their assertions. Most recently, considering the events of 1970, 1974 and 1984 – all these agreements and ceasefires were doomed to failure. All previous Iraqi regimes only took to the negotiating table when they were weak and wanted to buy time.
In the past, the standards of the Kurdish national movement did not meet the requirements or demands of the Kurdish people. The stage of economic development of Kurdistan was clearly reflected in the approach and manifestos of these Kurdish movements. In their calculations, the Kurdish bourgeoisie have never understood the driving forces underpinning the need to unify Kurdistan. The civil war in Kurdistan reflected a dispute between two clans, rather than two political parties. Why has the bourgeoisie in Europe striven to unify their economies and currency? It is because they understand the value and benefits of big production and market domination.

In an unprecedented speech in 2005, the president of Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, surprised everybody by announcing that he was bringing down the old flag of the Saddamist era. He also clearly told the Iraqi government that they should be grateful that we had accepted federalism, that we can declare our independence whenever the people wanted and that we are not frightened of intimidation and threats.

Back in 2005 the referendum movement held a poll which showed that 98% of Kurdish people want their own state. The separation of our nation is inevitable after what has happened to our people, in recent decades, at the hands of Arab nationalism and chauvinism. To date not one Iraqi politician or public figure has admitted the atrocities of the previous regime. The central government is still defiant about the unity of Iraq, but it has never been apologetic about what happened to our people in the past. If that wasn’t proof enough of the attitude of Arab chauvinism…!
There are two main schools of thought in respect of the Kurdish state. The first believes that the current geopolitical borders are an obstacle to a united Kurdistan, and so we should wait and see if the other parts of Kurdistan will reach the same economic and political level. It thinks the enemies surrounding Kurdistan are all-powerful and can intervene in Kurdistan at will. The second school believes that we could do better if we participate in a confederate Iraq or stay within a federal state, developing and building our constitution in preparation for the bigger demands the people will surely make.

Proponents of the first theory don’t appreciate that we already have a de-facto state! Why abort it for the sake of a long struggle whilst waiting for economic progress?
As for the second theory, it is over-optimistic because Arab nationalism in Iraq is 50 years behind, in terms of the economic and cultural progress seen in Europe.

Newly created states


Estonia is a former USSR Baltic state. The Soviet Union always considered Estonia to be an inseparable part of the Soviet empire. The nationalist movement had adopted the idea of the restoration of independence. Moscow wanted a federate state, Estonia wanted confederate status – strongly opposed by Moscow – which would give them the right to secede.
In the initial years of Perestroika, the relationship between the Estonian SSR (Soviet Socialist Republic) and the central power of the USSR remained practically unchanged. In an attempt to maintain control over the growing nationalism in Estonia, the Soviet authorities took steps to ‘improve’ the Constitution of Estonia (under the auspices of Perestroika).
In November 1988, the Soviet Union told the Estonian SSR that relations between the central power and the ‘union’ of republics had to be based on a federal system.
That decision turned Estonia’s problem into a matter of international policy. In January 1989, the language-law was adopted, which gave Estonian the status of official language.

The 24th of February was declared Independence Day. The flag of the Estonian SSR was lowered from the Pikk Hermann tower in Tallinn, and at dawn, the tricolour was hoisted. These events met with strong protest from supporters of the Soviet Union. Political disagreements became sharper. The domestic policy of the Estonian SSR evolved in the midst of conflict and confrontation. As the crisis deepened and became more serious, nationalism became stronger, weakening the power of the ‘Empire’.

In March 1990, elections to the Estonian Congress took place. More than 520,000 registered citizens (and more than 34,000 applicants for citizenship) voted.
On the anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact – 23 August 1989 – popular fronts in the Baltic countries had organised a unique protest action: an unbroken human chain was formed, reaching from Vilnius to Tallinn. The length of the Baltic chain was 600 Kilometres and about 2 million people participated. The action of the Baltic chain essentially contributed to world-wide recognition of the problems of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Estonia was threatened with an economic blockade and the introduction of a state of emergency. Pressure was tightened on the Baltic states to accept a federal settlement. By January 1991, the Soviet government still vainly kept up the hope that the Soviet Union would remain intact. The Baltic states carried out a referendum in March 1991. In Estonia, the question, “are you for the restoration of independence and sovereignty of the Estonian Republic?” was answered in the affirmative by 77.8 per cent of people voting. Even around one -third of the Russian -speaking population supported an independent Estonia. The results of the referendum prevented any negotiations with the central powers on the issue of a federation.

On 20th August 1991 State committees of the Estonian Republic declared Independence. The Soviet Union sent their tanks and soldiers to crush the rebellion but they could not act when they saw the mass of people coming onto the streets. On 21st August Moscow failed to control the flames of the independence movement. Estonia’s independence received international recognition within a couple of weeks. On 6th September 1991 the USSR recognised the total independence of the Baltic States. On 17th September 1991 Estonia and the other Baltic states were accepted into the United Nations. The Estonian Republic appeared on the map of the world as an independent and sovereign state once again.


In 2006 Catalonia’s vote for devolution from Spain reveals a mature attitude to democracy that we as Kurds would do well to emulate.
In the new era in European politics, it enshrines Catalonia’s “national identity” in a regional context. It offers the Catalans a measure of legislative, judicial and linguistic separatism in both a federal Spanish state and a wider European confederation. Education, health, housing and roads are firmly localised, and the booming city of Barcelona can regulate its commerce and even regional migration. The vote was a political success for the charismatic Catalan leader, Pasqual Margall. A city-state, Barcelona, bartered power with a nation-state, Spain, and reached a compromise balancing the aspirations of both with the disciplines of global economy.


An independent Montenegro was the last nail in the coffin of the former Yugoslavia. The unity of that state was held together by Tito through power and struggle . Even Euro-sceptics accept the need for some sort of new ‘European Treaty’ for the coming century – with formal respect of the tiers of national and sub-national identity that make up a modern state.

Southern Sudan

In July 2011 the world’s newest state came into existence following a referendum in which the independence option secured the backing of 98 per cent of Southern Sudanese voters. This followed decades of conflict between the north and the south of Sudan, whose borders had been drawn up by colonial powers in the 1950s with little regard for the cultural realities of these distinct areas. Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir said that the southern region had a right to choose to secede, acknowledging that unity “could not be forced by power.”
What is lacking in our state nationhood?

By May 2003, the international and economic cul-de-sac of Iraq was obvious. Therefore, the re-formation and restructuring of the Iraqi state has become inevitable. In this damaged country the people need partition in order to escape the permanent cycle of crises. In Kurdistan, we have our parliament and some institutions. We all shared the same childhood with the Arab people, we planned together.That is a big part of reality here. But it is as if some people have a wall in their heads. Paul Bremer stated in his diary that, during the drafting of the new Iraqi constitution, the Shia group very much opposed the right of veto for the Kurdish people. Sistani and his followers commented, ironically, on the possibilities of black and Spanish Americans having the right of veto in the USA!

We can clearly see that Arab nationalism is 50 years behind the times: otherwise, how is it possible – in the age of globalisation – not to understand the transformative impact of the transfer of capital and labour through the whole world?

From the above historical background of the history of nation-states we can consider several recommendations, to facilitate and speed-up the process of establishing an independent state.

1. Strategies for National Security:

As a Kurd, I have never seen any concrete strategy from the Kurdish nationalist movement to protect our land in the event of attacks such as those we see today from Turkey and Iran. We need an effective ‘Department of Defence’ and grassroots recruitment to safeguard the Kurdish homeland. Training a national army – not party militias – should be a priority for our de facto state, due to the sophisticated enemies we face. We need to inculcate pride in our people to show to our friends – and enemies – that we are able to defend ourselves to meet any threat from our neighbours.

2. The role of the Kurdistan Parliament and a democratic constitution:

The only way to build a constitutional state is through our Kurdistan parliament, and the elected representatives of the mass of the people. We also need a constitution, laying the foundations for a modern democratic state that upholds the rule of law.

3. We need a charismatic leader:

To meet the present stage of our political development in Kurdistan, we need a charismatic and courageous leader to convey the message of our nation to the whole world. When Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1992 by the government of F W De Klerk, the whole world watched him deliver his speech in Capetown that night. His speech started a little later than scheduled, but the South African intelligence services led by F W De Klerk were listening. The very first speech he made – to tens of thousands of people (millions were watching the world over) – began: “We should not give up the armed struggle until the abolishment of the Apartheid system in South Africa”. From his Presidential Palace, F W De Klerk told his followers that the white rule is finished, and he elaborated further that Mandela is adamant about his ‘slogan’ and is not prepared to make concessions. After the elections, white rule was finished and black Africans took control. We need a leader who thinks and breathes with their people.

4. The transition to a market economy:

The transition to a market economy is the precondition for the transition to building institutions required for the state infrastructure. An open economy, and integration with the regional economy is the process we cannot stop. Privatisation, the development of a banking system, property reform and the restructuring of agriculture are the processes required to give impetus to the development of a robust economy.

5. The role of the media:

The media in general has a responsibility to educate and develop ideas for an independent Kurdistan. The press should invite more readers to contribute to the subject – to encourage, facilitate and enable more people to have a say in the ‘conversation’ about the necessity for an independent Kurdistan. The independent media must be allowed to operate without systematic and deadly harassment by the ruling parties.

6. The role of the KRG Opposition:

Given the failings of the KRG ruling parties, the Opposition has a crucial role to play: (1) in championing human and democratic rights; and (2) in fostering nationalist zeal among Kurdish citizens – raising the prospect of an independent Kurdish state in the near future.

In conclusion:

We can lay claim to a right to independence even preceding that of the Arab nations. In any event, Kurdistan has a ‘natural’ right to exist as a state. The break-up of Iraq is inevitable. Iraq was ‘united’ by the force of tyranny for the last 40 years. Arab nationalism should now pay homage to the de facto Kurdish state. The Kurdish people are never interested in revenge, despite all the atrocities they have suffered. However, the Kurdish people need an apology from those responsible, so that we can go forward. We have some institutions, but we have yet to build a National Security Strategy, which is the backbone of our future. The enemies of the Kurds should finally realise that they cannot eradicate 6 million people.

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