Kurdistan, the State of Dream

By Bnar Jalal Ali:

Kurdistan as a free, independent state has always been our motivation to fight and shed blood; our ultimate dream which has a very emotional touch to every Kurd’s sentiments.

President Barzani revitalized our lost hope again, this time with the promise of international support.

But should Kurds be confident of these promises? Won’t they be disappointed by these constantly repeated promises? A standby nation loses confidence in the president’s underlying intentions: is it for the sake of Kurds all over the world, or for the sake of raising the popularity of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)? Is he very ambitious? And is he using his ambition to gain more power? What is the political reality on the ground? Is it on the side of Barzani? Are the people ready for this independence?

Barzani’s vision for the future is not very perspicuous. This exceptional region’s good and stable relations with the international community, and its security at the center of the most unstable areas in the Middle East, will not last forever; everything can change in an instant. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is still facing a financial crisis and has an ongoing war against the extremist group with confirmed status as a global threat.

However, in the last few years, Kurds from Northern Iraq and their semiautonomous government were able to pursue their own economic interests and the region was described as “one of the last great oil and gas frontiers’’ by Tony Hayward, the former CEO of BP; and it made pipelines which connect Kurdistan directly to the Ceyhan line and from there to the international markets. This led the Turkish government to support the KRG’s quest for financial independence from Iraq, but the surprising shift is that Ankara has failed to establish a solid, firm position on the KRG’s war against ISIS militants while all the great powers declared full support for the Peshmerge troops in their fight. Turkey’s role has been very symbolic so far, and experts are confirming that Turkey will avoid any military or economic role. Should Barzani depend on Turkey, when they turned their backs to him at this most urgent time?

On the other hand, Iran is a big obstacle because an independent Kurdistan would automatically mean that Iran would focus its influence on a majority Shiite Iraq, which would mess with the energy equilibrium in the region between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and consequently Barzani’s independence would enable the Iran regime to become the most powerful regional player. The United States will not allow such a role for Iran. So, in other words, Obama’s administration will not approve Barzani’s quest for independence, because of Iran.

Internally, the KRG is facing a financial recession, as the region is still unable to export oil in large volumes, and this displays how reliant Kurdistan remains on Baghdad: when the latter cut the former’s budget funds, this hit the salaries of over five million Kurdish employees, affecting nearly 70% of the population. Baghdad is using this shrewdly as the KRG’s point of weakness. At this point, Kurds doubt the possibility of having their own state.

Declaring the Kurdistan state is easy, but the hard part is: how can Kurds protect it? The nation should be prepared to disregard their parties, their leaders, and their individual interests, and get ready to fight for their rights. At this moment neither are the people ready nor are the international conditions right for declaring independence. Mr. Barzani, let us be real and admit that the Kurdistan state will remain the long awaited dream, at least for now. But we don’t know what is on the horizon.

Bnar Jalal Ali has an MSc in Biomedicine, from the Martin Luther University, Germany, and is currently working at the Kurdistan Institute for Strategic Studies and Scientific Research.

One Response to Kurdistan, the State of Dream
  1. Yasin Aziz
    October 1, 2014 | 09:00

    You only mention the problems, not the solutions. Over reliance on petrol made us slaves of Baghdad, if we look back to 1960s & 50s less than 5% of Kurds had petrol salary paid jobs, we are now used to free salary and laziness, if we use our land & water resources, we would not need our petrol money from Baghdad. If we are not economically independent we can never see Free Kurdistan. Our country’s occupation & slavery is the result of the West’s despotic policy. It is in our own hands to be free, to work hard and produce our own Land, we have had enough of desert Arab nomads, we should never let them back in again.

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