Slowly I am returning to my primary interests that being foreign policy, international relations and conflict management…..an area I have neglecting because of the stupidity of the last election…..I will correct my failings.
Kurds have been the “good guys” in the battle for hearts and minds in Iraq and Syria….they have been a valued ally to the US and NATO…..now that ISIS is on the defensive and some even say on the run what will happen after the killing and destruction is done?
The Kurds have been pushing for a homeland in the heart of the Middle East for many many years but the calls have become louder since 2003 when the US invaded then occupied Iraq.
The problem is the Syria and Turkey may have a different opinion on the future of a “Kurdistan”…..so the question being asked is….what will the Kurds do? There are many factions and factions within factions among the Kurds….any transition will probably be anything but calm…..
Turkey’s President Recep Yayyip Erdogan had a long conversation with Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi in the first week of January, followed by sending his Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus to Baghdad. Then Ankara’s Prime Minister Binali Yildrim visited the Iraqi capital January 7, had long talks with Abadi, and reached an agreement on the security issues concerning the two countries. Among other issues, the Turkish-Iraqi talks included a discussion about Turkey’s military presence in Bashiqa and PKK presence in Sinjar (Shingal).
The PKK is in Sinjar via two affiliated groups: The People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Shingal Protection Units (SPU). Baghdad recognized the SPU as a friendly, non-terrorist group. Turkey, on the other hand, considers the PKK, the YPG, and the SPU terrorist groups.
However, Turkey is moving fast to establish an anti-PKK coalition in Iraq. This coalition includes Baghdad, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Nineveh’s Turkish-trained National Mobilization Forces (NMF or Al Hashd Al Watani).
Now with that said…..let’s theorize that the Kurds get their wishes, especially in Iraq, will it be a calming transition? Probably not!
The campaign against the Islamic State (IS) in Mosul has diverted attention from simmering problems inside the Kurdistan Region of Iraq that will affect post-conflict stabilization. Within the last several months alone, there has been another assassination of a Kurdish journalist, an “honor” killing of a university student, death threats against a female Kurdish parliamentarian, bombing of an Iranian Kurdish party office that killed seven people and a string of foiled terrorist attacks in Sulaimaniyah province. These incidents have occurred alongside ongoing demonstrations by civil servants for unpaid salaries, a nonfunctioning Kurdish parliament, swelling numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons, an expanded Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and Turkish airstrikes on PKK bases in northern Iraq. They have not only reversed most gains the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has realized since 2011, but also leave the Kurdistan Region increasingly vulnerable to financial collapse and internal conflict.Instead of “inevitable Kurdish statehood” after the defeat of IS, a more realistic scenario is weakened autonomy, political entropy and armed conflicts. The KRG launched “independent” exports in 2014, but the Kurdish economy is now in tatters. KRG debt exceeds $22 billion. The availability of electricity has decreased to 2005 levels, or about four hours a day in many areas without private generators. Tens of thousands of youths continue to migrate from the region. The once-touted Kurdish energy sector is being undermined legally and politically. Although the KRG exports about 600,000 barrels of oil per day to Ceyhan, these exports remain contentious, are dependent on Turkey and are largely sourced from Kirkuk — still a disputed territory — and not the Kurdistan Region. International oil companies have thus far abandoned 19 oil fields in the Kurdistan Region, including ExxonMobil’s withdrawal from three of its six fields.
Source: Is Iraqi Kurdistan heading toward civil war?