Iraqi Kurdistan Pushed to Independence
Arkady DZIUBA | 26.07.2014 | FEATURED STORY

Iraqi Kurdistan Pushed to Independence

People cannot fight if they don’t want to. A war may be seen as unjust as, for instance, it was in the days the Entente intervened into the Soviet Russia, or when people get too soft to make mobilization fail as it was in the France of 1940. When governments have to grapple with such problems their foreign policy choices are limited. If the government strives for world leadership, it faces a tall order. 

That’s the situation the United States is in. Any military intervention gives rise to powerful anti-war protests which to great extent paralyze the chosen policy. That’s what it was like in the Somali of 1993 when the United States had to withdraw its troops. Secretary of Defense Les Aspin had to resign after 18 Marines died in a street skirmish in the Somalian capital. 

No more can Americans stage regime changes to their heart content. Now for any operation against the geopolitical adversaries the United States needs allies to do the dirty job. Those who are hostile to American values happen to be the most combat capable ones. The interaction with such allies requires the compromises that hardly have a chance to be approved by American people. That’s why the contacts are mainly hidden behind the curtain while the accords reached belong to hush-hush information. As a result the strengthening of some adversaries means weakening of others. Sometimes those who become stronger are the ones who are more tough and merciless. Many a time Americans have to sacrifice their interests. That’s what reflects the substance of the new geopolitical disorder converting the old world into the area of turbulence to entail capital flows while the United States hopes to wait for better times being safely protected by the ocean. 

The US is implementing its geostrategy and its key ally is Islamic fundamentalism in the broader sense of the word. It does not boil down to one state or movement but rather reflects the dissemination of aggressive ideology. No matter its fidelity to Islam, in reality the ideology is hostile to the Muslim religion. It paints the whole history of Islam as a history of degradation. According to fundamentalists, the process of degradation started right after the righteous caliphs epoch was over. It impacted the doctrine of Islam and ummahs affected by adats, or indigenous customary rights, common law and the traditions of newly converted peoples. Fundamentalists believe the majority of believers are not real Muslims but rather apostates. In their fight for global caliphate fundamentalists are ready to kill and to die resorting to the cruelest ways of waging war. 

America had considered fundamentalism as an enemy. The times have changed. Now it is becoming an ideal agent for the dissemination of world disorder and thus, an important ally of the United States. High morale, fanatism and global ambitions make it the right force to destabilize different regions. Formally the United States goes on struggling with Islamic fundamentalism with tongue in cheek; in reality the US does nothing to counter it. 

The crucially important events are unfolding in Iraq. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) alternately translated as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has captured vast Iraqi territories recently. It has announced the establishment of caliphate in the occupied lands, including the chunks of Syrian territory at the border. A lot of time, money and effort have been invested by the United States to enhance the potential of Iraqi army. It left weapons and equipment on spot and ran away at the first sight of the enemy. In a few weeks the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant captured Mosul, Tikrit, Suleiman – Bek and some others. They took Fallujah and Ramadi as far back as January. 

The Treaty of Sèvres (10 August 1920) was intended to be the peace treaty between the Ottoman Empire and Allies at the end of World War I. It envisioned the creation of Independent Kurdistan, but it was not ratified, thus aborted and never entered into force. The insurgency headed by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk made the treaty a thing of the past. The Kurdish lands were divided between Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Since then Kurds have been struggling for independence, at least, the enhancement of their political representation. The Kurdish issue is often used by outside forces to serve their interests. 

The Iraqi Kurds got close with the United States as Iraq started the rapprochement with the Soviet Union. Then the United States support weakened, partly because of Iran-Iraq war when the United States took the side of Saddam Hussein. Iraq headed by Saddam Hussein fell out of favor after it occupied Kuwait. It rekindled the US interest towards Kurdistan. A no-fly zone was declared to protect the Kurdish lands creating kind of an umbrella to build a de-facto independent state. 

After Saddam Hussein was overthrown, the United States insisted on territorial integrity of Iraq with vast autonomy for Kurdistan. It was 2003. The United States hoped to install its firm military control over the Middle East. Those days the US did not think about the world disorder. Formally the autonomy was created in 1974, so the question was not the status of autonomy itself but rather defining the borders. Kurds wanted the oil-rich Kirkuk to be theirs. Baghdad did its best to oppose this outcome. Americans acted as go-betweens and continued their mediation efforts till they preserved the interest in maintaining stability. 

It has all changed now. The wars in Iraq and Syria have brought to the fore Islamic radicals making even Al Qaeda pale. The Kurds movement has reinvigorated. Kurdish militarized formation peshmerga seized Kirkuk after the Iraq army flew from the city. Massud Barzani, the President of Iraqi Kurdistan, has always had good relations with the United States. He said the Kurdish formations had to occupy Kirkuk to prevent it from falling into the hands of Islamist forces. 

Barzani said the Kurds are intent to hold the city and the issue has been settled with the central government. Baghdad never supported the statement. To exert pressure on Baghdad Barzani ordered to launch preparations for a referendum on the Independence of Iraqi Kurdistan. The President of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region asked its parliament on July 3 to start organizing a referendum on independence. Parliament should make «preparations to begin to organize a referendum on the right of self-determination», Barzani said, according to a recording obtained of remarks he made in a closed session. «It will strengthen our position and will be a powerful weapon in ours hands», the Kurdish leader added.

It’s hard to imagine the United States going that far and recognizing independent Kurdistan. It does not recognize the new caliphate, but at the same time it indirectly supports the new unrecognized Middle East states because it serves the interests of expanding the area of world disorder. 

Foto: Reuters