Kurds Road to Independence

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Sophia Khairallah
Anthropology 265
10/15/2017
Kurds Roads to Independence
Today, the Kurds form the fourth largest ethnic community in the entire
Middle East. The estimated population of Kurds in the world lies between 25 and 35
million. The Kurdish community has been striving for the formation of their
independent and sovereign nation since the times of the Ottoman Empire. Although
the formation of a sovereign state called Kurdistan will be the culmination of a
dream that is decades old, there is concern that the move will disrupt the common
peace in the surrounding countries of Syria, Turkey and Iraq. This paper looks at
three articles that speak on the recent referendum concerning the independence of
cthe Kurdish process. The aim of this review is to understand the implications of the
independence referendum as well as the varying opinions regarding the issue.
The first article attempts to relay the threat posed by the administrative
heads of the nation of Turkey against the move to vote for independence of the
Kurdish portion of Iraq. The main point in this article centers on the apparent
disagreement that both Iraqi and Turkish governments have concerning the
referendum vote by the Kurds. As the author of the article denotes, there is a
disagreement with the referendum vote coming from the governments of Turkey
and Iraq because they are afraid of the impact that an independent Kurdish country
may have on the minority Kurds living in the two countries (Zucchino, 2017). The
article also indicated the resilience of the administrative leaders in charge of the
interim government in the Kurdish region of Iraq. According to the head of the
current administration in Kurdish Iraq, no amount of threats from either of the two
neighboring countries is enough to slow down or stop the referendum process. The
leader of the interim government in Kurdish Iraq is confident that an independent
Kurdish nation is a looming reality in the present time. The leader of the Kurdish
also indicates that voting is already underway and that international expatriates
were in place to oversee the successful completion of the exercise. Additionally, this
article also highlights the opposition that the referendum to pave way for an
independent Kurdish nation faces from the international community. The main
opponent of the referendum as well as the independence of the Kurdish nations is
the United States. According to the administration of the United States, the
formation of an independent Kurdish state has the high likelihood of causing ethnic
divisions in the state of Iraq, which may affect the peace efforts in the region
(Zucchino, 2017). In addition to this, the United States also stated that the formation
of a Kurdish sovereign nation is not in line with its initial stand regarding Islamist
states in the Middle East. The assertion by the United States administration has
raised varied opinions from government officials in the Muslim nation. According to
government officials representing the Kurdish region of Iraq, the move to back
down from the referendum will only follow an assurance from the American
government to oversee a smooth alternative transition to independence for the
Kurdish state. Although the referendum outcome is not the ultimate determinant of
independence for the Kurdish region of North Iraq, a win for the yes campaign
would provide a significant boost in the independence discussions taking place with
the administration in Baghdad.
This next article on the Aljazeera website also maintains the same assertions
regarding the Kurdish referendum as the previous one. In this article, the role of
Syria in the opposition of this referendum emerges clearly. In addition to Iraq and
Turkey, the Islamic nation of Syria is also in strong opposition of the move to create
an independent Kurdish state. The article begins by denoting that voting processes
are still underway with regards to the referendum despite mounting opposition
from neighbors and other international movements. The move by the Iraqi
government in Baghdad to attempt seizing control of the international border posts
and all airports within the region is evidence of the government’s disagreement
with the sovereignty of the Kurdish state (Aljazeera, 2017). In another move
attempting to thwart the referendum process, the government of Iraq is seeking
assistance from all international states to cease purchasing petroleum from the
Kurdish region. Syria is a strong opponent of the move to create an independent
Kurdish nation because the administration sees this as a move that will increase
incidences of revolt and uprising from the minority Kurds living in the state. This
sentiment is shared by the government of Turkey, which maintains the belief that
granting independence to the Kurdish province thereby making it a sovereign
nation will grant the Kurds power over one of the main harbor crossing that
connects with Iraq. On the other hand, the government of Iraq remains adamant that
an independent Kurdish nation will have control over the oil-rich northern region of
Iraq, thereby affecting petroleum exports and ultimately revenue returns for the
economy. In retaliation to the commencement of referendum voting in the Kurdish
region, the government of Iraq terminated all flights heading into the region. Iran
has also joined in this opposition and halted all flights into the Kurdish province due
to a request forwarded by the president of Iraq. In addition to neighboring Islamic
nations, other western governments as well as international associations also seem
to be in disagreement with the proposition to grant the Kurdish province
sovereignty. The UN is in opposition of the move to form an independent Kurdish
nation. According to UN representatives, the independence of the Kurdish province
thereby making it a sovereign nation will serve more to destabilize the already
politically volatile region as opposed to creating some form of freedom for the Kurds
(Aljazeera, 2017). The UN claims that this move will cause further unrest in the
neighboring nations such as Turkey and also slow down or impede attempts to
tackle the growing problem of ISIS. Within the Aljazeera article it shows biasness
towards the Kurdish motive for a referendum. Throughout the article it emphasizes
the Iraqi’s motive to veto the referendum based upon their soul interest in acquiring
wealth and business through the oil market. However their maybe other motives
and purposes behind there intentions to dispute the referendum: which is not
discussed within the article. The article describes the Kurdish peoples struggle for
freedom rather than Iraq’s attempt to create a unified country.
The third article takes on a different approach and tackles the events that
transpired in the Kurdish region about a month after the completion of what many
analysts term as a controversial referendum to decide on independence. On the
ground, troops associated with the government of Baghdad are in the process of
seizing and capturing the major installments in the Kurdish region from the control
of rebel fighters. The Kurdish fighters have their support from the administration of
the regional government in the north, whose claim is that the outcome of the
referendum was legitimate. However, the military action from the Baghdad
government troops comes from the claim that the goal of the Kurdish fighters is to
cause further divisions in the nation and the region at large (Guerin & Marcus,
2017). The government of Iraq calls for all citizens in the nation to join hands with
the government troops in an effort to protect the country from the looming threat of
partition brought on by the outcome of the disputed referendum. Because of the
military efforts in the Kurdish province, the military troops deployed by the
Baghdad regime claim that they now have control of several major locations and
amenities in the area. These include the airport, a police station as well as several
industrial sites located in the area. However, members of the administration
governing the Kurdish province are opposed to the military action by the Baghdad
administration. These officials maintain the assertion that the attack by the Iraqi
military was unwarranted and unprovoked. The government officials from the
Kurdish region maintain that their own military force is on hand to provide defense
against such military attacks and for the defense of its resources. This article also
attempts to highlight the factors that cause this region to remain in contention
despite the small size. According to the authors, the region lies in an area that is rich
in petroleum, which is one of the leading exports earning revenue for the Iraqi
government. The disagreement with military action from the Baghdad government
is especially significant to the ongoing debate in the region because it has the
implication that this was an act of war, which may lead to an extension or expansion
of the civil unrest in the region. While this article does not give the countries that
are in opposition to the call for an independent Kurdish nation, it highlights the
crisis that emerges as the outcome of a disputed referendum.
Overall, the three articles all highlight one key theme. This theme is the
apparent instability posed by the move to seek independence for the Kurdish
province of North Iraq. As highlighted in the third article, the region is currently in a
state of unrest owing to the disputed outcome of the referendum. The economy of
the region remains at a standstill and there is still no confirmation regarding the
state of war looming in the region. Overall, the three articles all serve to show that it
will remain difficult to establish a sovereign Kurdish state any time in the near
future.
References
Aljazeera. (2017, September 25). Iraqi Kurds vote in controversial referendum .
Retrieved from Aljazeera.com: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/09/iraqikurds-vote-independence-referendum-170925032733525.html
Guerin, O., & Marcus, J. (2017, October 16). Kirkuk: Iraqi forces capture key sites from
Kurds. Retrieved from BBC News: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east41631697
Zucchino, D. (2017, September 23). On Eve of Kurdish Independence Vote, a Warning
From Turkey. Retrieved from The New York Times:
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/23/world/middleeast/turkey-kurdsindependence-referendum.html

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