Kurdish Independence?

That’s what Knight-Ridder’s reporting (via Kevin Drum):

Kurdish leaders have inserted more than 10,000 of their militia members into Iraqi army divisions in northern Iraq to lay the groundwork to swarm south, seize the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and possibly half of Mosul, Iraq’s third-largest city, and secure the borders of an independent Kurdistan
….The Kurds have readied their troops not only because they’ve long yearned to establish an independent state but also because their leaders expect Iraq to disintegrate, senior leaders in the Peshmerga — literally, “those who face death” — told Knight Ridder. The Kurds are mostly secular Sunni Muslims, and are ethnically distinct from Arabs.
Their strategy mirrors that of Shiite Muslim parties in southern Iraq, which have stocked Iraqi army and police units with members of their own militias and have maintained a separate militia presence throughout Iraq’s central and southern provinces. The militias now are illegal under Iraqi law but operate openly in many areas. Peshmerga leaders said in interviews that they expected the Shiites to create a semi-autonomous and then independent state in the south as they would do in the north.

In terms of political stability, this doesn’t do us any favors. But I think that, ultimately, this will be more helpful than harmful. After all…

  • Iraq’s an artificial country anyway. Considering that ethnic self-determination tends to make for more stable countries in the long run, it makes sense to divide the country up into actual nations.
  • If the Palestinians think they have it bad, they should take a look at the Kurds. The Kurds have never had an independent country. Whereas the Palestinians were ruled by the British mandate, and then by Israel, the Kurds have always been ruled by repressive Arab regimes, who inevitably screw them over. If anyone deserves their own state, it’s the Kurds.
  • The Arab Sunnis are going to battle the Shi’ites over oil anyway; why not at least separate them politically to make it harder?
    Now, there are downsides, of course. The Shi’ites might ally with their brethren in Iran (though the ethnic divide could be an issue), the Sunnis would certainly resist violently, and Turkey might very well decide to crush the Kurds over secession fears. But civil war is already taking place anyway, and it’s better that it have some positive result than just preserve a broken political structure. So, viva Kurdistan, I suppose.

  • 2 thoughts on “Kurdish Independence?

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