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In A Changing Middle East, Should the U.S. Support Kurdish Independence?

By Namo Abdulla 16/12/2013
Inside America
Inside America

Kurdish leaders say they have no plans to secede from Iraq.

But in practice, their steps suggest otherwise.

Over the past few years, they have taken increasingly bold steps to boost the position of their autonomous region in an otherwise war-torn country.

The most significant of which has been the multi-billion-dollar oil and gas deals Kurdistan has signed with Turkey and foreign oil companies in defiance of Baghdad and Washington.

Already, Kurdistan seems to have most of the pre-conditions of an independent state. It has its own foreign ministry. It manages its own army. It flies its own flag and has a Kurdish national anthem.

But to achieve de-jure independence- or legal status in the United Nations, Kurds need something else: the support of powerful nations such as the United States.

The U.S. has historically opposed an independent Kurdistan.

But in an increasingly tumultuous Middle East, where traditional borders and politics are challenged by a resurgence of ethno-sectarianism and religious extremism, is not an independent pro-Western Kurdish state in the U.S. interest in that strategic part of the world?

To discuss this subject, I am joined by Marina Ottaway, a scholar at Wilson Center for independent research.

Douglas A. Ollivant, a Senior National Security Fellow with the New America Foundation.

Ben Van Heuvelen, Managing Editor, Iraq Oil Report and a contributer to the Washington Post.


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tuna | 17/12/2013
Of course U.S will support an Israel's puppet state in this region
Bakir Lashkari
Bakir Lashkari | 17/12/2013
It has allways been Kurdistan the 4 parts which has been divided after the first and second World war. It is quite obvoius that iTS in the interest of the World, the united States and Isreali to have an independant Kurdistan to manage and control the Region and abandon the terrorist in middle east and neighbouring countries. I would rather intend to say that if Kurdistan would not get independant the situation getting more detorriate worse and worse in the Region, it is perhaps in the interest if the World, united nations and Isreali to manage the Oil and gas in the Region and supplying the World better rather than to be only dependant on Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries in the Region, Turkey has no choice anymore to not accept the Kurds as an important factor in the Region. Kurdistan has iTS all preconditional aspects which jutsify the independant Kurdistan to start with the KRG Region and step by step the other parts to be included like now the fact that Kirkuk should be included within the KRG administartion. Israël is the first country in the Region which has deliberitly announced that they will recognize and acknowledge the State of Kurdistan. The key question is who is next? Most of the European countries believe now that Kurdistan is paving the way to iTS own independant and the wind is at their own wings at the Side. This will help the Kurds to grow and develope itself to the next step. There will be no stable Iraq anymore, unless forte Kurds iTS has own "The State of Kurdistan". The only Solutions for a stable Iraq and for the Region is to divide Iraq into three pieces like Kurdistan, Sunnistan and Shhistan.
Bakir Lashkari
Bakir Lashkari | 17/12/2013
The reason for Exxon mobiel is the life risk in Basra, not allowed to get the Oil share out of the digging Wells', as the Bagdad Oil is still nationalized. The western Oil companies have been threatend by the Iranian Itilahat (secret agents).in Basra as well as Iran is also digging the Oil near Basra Region. There are so many complex and disputed matters with Bagdad and it is more flexibele for them to do business with the KRG Region. It is about the Oil and iTS the western interests in Oil revenue.
Rojcan | 17/12/2013
I think the main reason the KRG isn't claiming independence yet is bc they don't have the numbers. I bileve that they are waiting for more support ie Rojava. I don't think the KRG is complacent in just declaring independence for about 5 million Kurds when there is 40 million Kurds out there. This is a good thing if this is true. Also we these talks they are having with the PKK will only make that vison clearer, having another Kurdish ally especially one with a boarder with "turkey" who isn't keen on Kurdish right is going to make a big statement. Let Rojava get on it's feet, and we'll have another oil producing Kurdish power this will make things much easier for both the KRG and Rojava.
Baqi | 17/12/2013
With strong economy, South is indisputably and uncontrollably heading toward that direction. An independent Kurdish state in South is on the horizon in 2016-17. South bears all the hallmarks of statehood. All it need is submission of a petition to the UN General Assembly for deliberation and its official recognition by the international community. The question is how and who will ignite that spark?
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