Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Login

Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using
 

Email

 

Rudaw

Opinion

The practical and moral necessity of bailing out Kurdistan

By Paul Iddon 19/1/2016
A Kurdish farmer tending to his new broccoli farm near Erbil.
A Kurdish farmer tending to his new broccoli farm near Erbil.

2016 is likely going to prove to be another tough year for the Kurdistan Region. Its deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani recently warned that the region could be devastated by an “economic tsunami” if it continues on its present trajectory.

In just two years the region’s debt has climbed to $15-18 billion as it has had to struggle with one crisis after another. Its heavy dependence on oil revenues and the over-reliance on most of the population on public sector salaries has seen it take a crippling blow after Baghdad stopped sharing revenues in early 2014 and oil prices dropped from $100 to a mere $30 per barrel in the meantime. Today regardless of whether or not the region exports its oil independently it is not likely to be enough to overcome this current crisis for the foreseeable future. In the meantime salaries need to be paid and eternal threat posed by Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists in a costly war needs to be continually combatted.

Add to this the 1.8 million internally displaced persons that the Kurdistan Region has had to host. No small task for such a small region having to simultaneously deal with a plethora of cumbersome burdens. Burdens and strains which could prove to be too much at a critical time and have a dangerously destabilizing effect on the region and undermine its continued ability to fight ISIS.

Already the Kurdistan Region has plans for reforms. Downsizing the large public sector is one thing that is on the agenda. After this crisis is, soon hopefully, overcome it is doubtful that up to 70% of the population will be counting upon the government to pay them salaries. And down the line the region also has a more reliable resource to exploit which will bring it a steady income: Natural gas, which it has vast deposits of and which Turkey wants to import for its energy needs after Russia cut off its supply of gas to that large regional consumer.

In the meantime a bailout for the Kurdistan Region is necessary. It would be far too dangerous to risk an economic collapse in this region. Furthermore it must be recognized that the region is in the unenviable place it is now due to events out of its control. Also, since it would be paid back, a bailout would be a relatively small and worthwhile investment in the continued stability and security of an important region and a friendly power.

The United States and many European countries have a vested interest with the Kurdistan Region in seeing ISIS contained and the Kurdistan Region secured. Helping alleviate its economic woes by providing a bailout (which would also give Erbil greater freedom to enact the necessary reforms and broader diversification of the economy needed to weather this storm) would be a short-term solution to the plethora of aforementioned problems it is struggling to cope with.

Just look what Germany wants to do for Turkey: Provide it with a grant worth €3 billion to give Ankara an incentive to stem of refugees coming from its territory into Europe in the hundreds-of-thousands. While 2.2 million refugees is no small figure it’s certainly a less significant figure for a big country like Turkey to host than 1.8 million internally displaced persons is for Kurdistan to host. The Europeans and Turks should recognize this and accordingly seek to put together a bailout package for Kurdistan in recognition that it is in their self-interest to do so.

Similarly the United States could easily provide some of the funds needed for at least part of such a package. Something which would further bolster a stalwart ally in a time of need. All of these powers interests more or less coincide on this matter so they should, in recognition of that salient fact, work together to help Kurdistan weather this storm. It’s a comparable small price for them to pay now in order to secure the continued survival and longevity of an important regional ally and friend.

Paul Iddon is a Rudaw reporter based in Erbil, Kurdistan Region.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rudaw.

Comments

 
Data pager
Previous
12
Page size:
PageSizeComboBox
select
Shkak | 19/1/2016
Absolutely true.
Hannibal Barca | 19/1/2016
It's not our problem (United States). We have our own bills to pay. We're 17 trillion in debt.
Giuseppe Luigi - Geologist - De Biasi | 19/1/2016
Western countries, and Italy first I think, must help Kurdistan regional government in this bad times of war. Kurdistan has the moral duty to learn to be self sufficent in agricolture and livestock, then light industries. The two part must have the consciousness that the nail which is supporting the complex "picture" of Middle East now is only the Kurdistan Regional Government and People.
behdad | 19/1/2016
Hannibal Barca don't listen to this turkish troll, turks are incredibly sneaky, just like hans guderian (armenian name moreover..) Turks are not even turks, they are ottoman bastards
Muraz Adzhoev | 19/1/2016
Until it is formally the autonomous region yet, no bailout packages for Kurdistan will be provided by the "civilized" international community. Southern Kurdistan must be independent from deadly failed bloody Iraq. At least Southern Kurdistan, but at last Western Kurdistan also should become independent from deadly failed bloody Syria. Then the "civilized" world will recognize and respect inalienable rights of the Kurdish nation, including its right to reintegrate Southern Kurdistan and Western Kurdistan within Federative Democratic Kurdistan.
Tags :
5883 Views

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

Pakistani | 2/16/2019 3:28:42 AM
Turkey is a terrorist state , has been killing innocent Kurds for ages ....
parasitePKK | 2/17/2019 3:54:11 AM
As long as the PKK is there Turkey has the right to defend themselves. PKK is a parasite against the Kurds.
Kurdish villagers driven off their mountainsides by Turkish airstrikes
| 15/2/2019 | (2)
josfe | 2/14/2019 4:59:43 AM
And this man is a graduate with masters ? A college kid would be more objektive and wouldnt let his own opinion shine through.
David | 2/17/2019 1:36:54 AM
Solid analysis and proposal!
Rojava and Turkey: A classic case in colonialism
| 13/2/2019 | (5)
guest2002 | 2/15/2019 8:20:41 PM
The attack was on armed forces . Since when that is called terrorism??? Mollas ruling Iran have terrified Iranians for 40 years now. They kill...
Erbilguy | 2/17/2019 1:17:06 AM
@guest2002 So Isis beheading peshmergas was not terrorism?
United Nations encourages states to help Iran after terror attack killed 27
| 15/2/2019 | (8)
Dutchman | 2/16/2019 11:33:33 PM
Macron is right. When Putin talks about an "inter-Syrian political dialogue" he means that Assad and his Alawit minority regime stays in power with...
Macron, Putin weigh ‘deteriorated’ situation in Syria
| 16/2/2019 | (1)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

Women dominate leadership of Kurdistan Region parliament 11 hours ago |

Women dominate leadership of Kurdistan Region parliament

"It is a pride for all Kurds to have a woman as more
EU states mixed on Trump demand to take back IS fighters 12 hours ago |

EU states mixed on Trump demand to take back IS fighters

“It is certainly not as easy as they think in more
Erdogan sheds crocodile tears for European Union 12 hours ago |

Erdogan sheds crocodile tears for European Union

Erdogan and his party stalwarts lost all interest more
0.234 seconds