If there was ever a moment in history when international, regional, and internal conditions were apt for the creation of a Kurdistani state, it was the end of the First World War.
International politics at that time were helpful in the creation of a number of states. Regional conditions were in such disarray due to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire that they could not influence the decisions of elite countries and winners of the war.
Internal situations were suitable too for the creation of a Kurdish state due to the emergence of tribal mutineers, revolutions, and Kurdish uprisings, a state similar to the ones under the Ottoman umbrella at the time.
In many places in Kurdistan, attempts were made to build an independent governance system for the Kurds. But situations in south Kurdistan were most apt where Sheikh Mahmud was leading the revolution.
During these times, conditions were also suitable for the creation of a state for the Arabs in Baghdad and Basra. These conditions were even more apt in Mosul, such that a decision could have been made on the future of the city in a way that could have helped Kurds realize their dream of building a Kurdistani state.
But the Kurds themselves were the reason for missing the opportunity and having their state annexed into the Iraqi state five years after the latter was built, without having the rights and desires of the Kurds taken into account.
A decision was made to build the country of Iraq from the states of Basra and Baghdad, which were connected at the time. Out of all the tribal leaders and Arab personalities in these two states, there was no man who could run this new country. The British therefore went to bring someone from the al-Hashimi tribe and made him king of Iraq.
On the Kurdish side, Sheikh Mahmud was a revolutionary, leader, and politician. There were many Kurdish characters in the revolution and around Sheikh Mahmud who had the competence to run a country. But some were against the creation of a kingdom similar to that of Iraq for Kurdistan under the excuse that Sheikh Mahmud was a tribal man. Hence, they opposed him and joined the king of Iraq.
The royal state of Iraq lasted for nearly four decades and the country’s governance system changed several times over the years. Generations came and went. What remained was the identity and framework of a state called Iraq.
If a royal state was built at the time for Sheikh Mahmud and his tribe in Kurdistan, tens of tribes and generations would have come and gone, and what would have remained for the nation would have been the identity and framework of a Kurdistani state. But because the Kurds themselves were against the establishment of such a state, what remained for them was the bloody and painful history of the last century.
If you take a look at the question of Palestine and Israel, you will notice that the Jews have changed tens of cabinets and political faces since the problem of these two entities first emerged. Many political parties came to power and left.
But to this day, it is only one political spectrum and school representing the Arabs. Aging leaders are replaced by their colleagues. It is clear that building a state needs a legal and constitutional framework. It is not easy to change people who rule.
National questions and the legitimacy of revolutions always justify the remaining of political generations. That is why Arab Palestinians are still determined, and will be so long as the Palestinian question is alive, to function within the same nationalist school which brought the Palestinian question to this day.
In addition to Sheikh Mahmud, if we take the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) as the oldest Kurdish party established in the middle of 1940s, it was first led by Mullah Mustafa and then his son. In the future it will be led by his grandchildren.
This is the case with not only the KDP, but also for the representation of the Kurdish national question. The Barzani family has been leading the Kurdish national question because the Kurds do not have a state of their own.
The political life of this family will continue generation after generation under the pretext of the legitimacy of their revolutions and their endeavors for the Kurdish cause, and this will be so as long as the Kurdish question remains unresolved.
If Kurdistan’s state was built the same day the KDP was established and Mullah Mustafa had become its president, would the state of Kurdistan have been run by the Barzani family to this day? The answer is surely no.
Other regional and world countries built by dynasties were finally handed over to the people. Is there any country which was powerful in the 1940s and where founding dynasties are still clinging to power? In the worst case scenario, if Kurdistan was a state and had a dictatorial system, it would still not have been more powerful than Ataturk and Saddam. What was their fate?
Those upset with the political conditions in Kurdistan because of the hegemony of certain political parties or families, or those not caring about exploiting the opportunities presented to the Kurds because they doubt that taking the chances will lead to an entity run by tribes and families, or those who are against independence or a nation state because they think that it will extend the life of this authority, these people should be certain that the only way out of this tribal system, dynasties or bad governance is to build a state for Kurdistan.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rudaw.