Kurdish independence

There are a lot of discussion regarding Catalan independence, but nearly no discussing on the earlier Kurdish referendum for independence, held on September 25, 2017.

Like Spain, Iraq declared the referendum of the Kurdistan autonomous region unconstitutional, but unlike Catalan, the Kurdish people have a very strong army, and due to the ineffectiveness of the Iraqi military, the US often times turned to the Kurds to combat ISIS, providing military aid to both Iraqis and the Peshmerga forces.

None of the neighbouring nations are happy about the referendum either, as most of them want to keep their own Kurdish regions in control.

It’s gonna be a huge mess in Iraq again, and this time it’s gonna be extremely difficult to pick a side.


Honestly I wish I knew more about the situation to make some valuable input. I never studied much about the politics there in school nor have I followed much of what’s going on there for a while. It’s just so complicated and messy.

going to be a huge mess… going to… ha ha ha. need to travel back in time and tell that to the public that supported bush and blur


Picking sides really hasn’t been working out well for the people of the region - even when it appeared to be easier. It will continue, of course, as unending war is a necessity for some.

I think the way to try to figure out which side will be chosen is to imagine we are still in the times of the British Empire. IMO they would have chosen the Iraqi/Iranian/Turkish governments in such a situation. Realpolitik. Kurds are fucked. The only point of interest is the reason created for why they are fucked.


I would like to remark that that’s not the only difference. That it’s nothing to do, indeed. But I guess that… who cares! “they only want to vote and the evil Spanish hit them in the head because of that!” :roll_eyes:

I would only say that Carles Puigdemont voted AGAINST recognizing the Kurdish claims:

That took place in 2014, when ISIS was in full swing. I’d like to hear how he justifies his decision on the issue now, after the referendum.

Yeah, sure, it was the ISIS what made him vote no… :roll_eyes:

since you are a native Spansih speaker, you could have easily found articles that explains Puigdemont’s current view on Kurdish independence, but that’s fine, I found this from the main news outlet in Kurdistan.

Catalan president congratulates Kurdish counterpart on referendum

Kurdistan is an impossibly difficult topic. They were forced out of statehood after WW1 thanks to Gertrude Bell, and the US has always kept them on our list of allies despite this. She believed the region was far too small and should be combined into other regions, which doesn’t make any sense and led to decades of tribal warfare. Today there are many factions of Kurds that reside in 4 different countries; Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Turkey. Their largest region is in Turkey which led to warfare over land grabs, since then Kurdistan has been labeled a terrorist organization by Turkey.

There have actually been some situations where Turkey has released ISIS fighters that the Kurds captured, and imprisoned the Kurdish fighters instead. Now, I did say there are many factions of Kurds. They aren’t all the same. Due to no longer being an official nation, there’s no real political system. Some are democratic, some are communist, some are Muslim, some are Christian, some organizations have an agenda, some don’t.

Here’s a 1992 image of Kurdish occupied land, provided by the CIA.

independence for Kurdistan would require international support, since international efforts was what kicked them out of statehood to begin with. Bear in mind, Kurdistan prior to WW1 was vastly different than the “friendly” nation known today. By many historical accounts they were often noted as brutal and to be avoided at all costs. Whether true or not.

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No independence for kurdish people. Americans will betray them once more like they did god knows how many times already. But yea this time they won war and have better command, units. And the same time america is less important in middle east, but is not like winer - russia wants kurdistan.

You still don’t get the point. What he says is different from what he votes. He doesn’t give a flying shit about Kurdish people, but it’s the posture he has to defend. When he had to vote, they voted NO because a silly, not relevant amend they wanted to make to the text was declined. When he was asked about this, he didn’t remember what he voted, and he made excuses saying that he voted NO because the Kurdish didn’t have called for a referendum by then.

True, they use their local police for their politic agenda against what the law and what the judges say, but… the local government is following and applying the law, so the poor secessionists are at disadvantage!

Now, I totally understand that you side by the Catalan independentists given that they are a big majority of the population (2 million out of more than 7) that are opressed to the point that they use and twist the legal and official institutions for imposing, I mean, for promoting their vision of Catalonia to the rest of fascists who don’t agree with them.

I also see the parallelism with Iraq and Kurdish, given than Spain is not a state that guarantees legality (don’t get distracted by the fact that it’s only the secessionists the ones who have broken the law, that’s not relevant), that doesn’t respect human rights (especially those that the secessionists just made up), and that has killed countless Catalan in a terrible genocide.

I get you bro, I’m crying now for the time these poor people are going to spend in jail.

In Turkey, the (Kurdish / leftist political party) HDP insists that it seeks only autonomy for a Turkish Kurdistan. Erdogan’s government has imprisoned its leaders, on the grounds that they are informally cooperating with the (Marxist guerrilla group) PKK. (Recall last year’s uprisings and repressions in eastern Turkey.)

In Syria, the (de facto government of Rojava / Syrian Kurdistan) YPG has, with US support, taken most of the IS capitol Raqqa. The other major center of military activity is in connection with the finger of Syrian territory seized by Turkey, in order to prevent the Syrian Kurds from having a contiguous territory. Turkey considers the YPG to be indistinguishable from its own PKK, which it regards as a terrorist group, and fears that an independent Syrian Kurdistan would destabilize Turkey as well.

The Syrian and Iranian governments are mainly concerned to maintain a “Shi’ite crescent” or corridor between non-Kurdish Iraq and regime-controlled Syria. This interest is threatened by the YPG moves against Raqqa.

Iraqi Kurdistan has been de facto independent since the Gulf War. It is territorially divided between two political parties cum militias, the PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) and KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party). Barzani (KDP), president of the Kurdish Regional Government, is basically a mafioso, and regional elections have been indefinitely postponed. Another minor, Sulimaniyyah-based party called Gorran (which splintered from the PUK), opposed the referendum.

Iran opposes Kurdish national aspirations for fear that its own Kurds would revolt, and out of support for the Shi’ite-dominated government of Iraq. The big recent news has been that (Iraqi Shi’ite) Popular Mobilization Units have been mobilizing around Kirkuk. These are private militias with Iraqi government backing and Iranian support.

Russia is mainly interested in preserving its basing rights in Syria (which means supporting the Assad regime), and in showing that it is a major geopolitical power. It would be happy to see Syria become a patchwork of autonomous regions, and cares about Iraq only insofar as it impacts its diplomatic relations with Turkey and Iran. The USA mainly wants to see ISIS gone, which means supporting the Kurds as the main group capable of fighting them, all the while trying to manage relations with NATO member Turkey. Turkey would rather see a Muslim Brotherhood type government in Syria, but could live with Assad, and hates the Kurds most of all. The Gulf states are weird–Saudi Arabia hates the Muslim Brotherhood because of the threat Arab democracy would pose to its own regime–but most were rooting for one or another of the Sunni rebel factions, and could live with Assad (an Alawi Shi’ite dictator). These days they also have to focus on relations with one another.

Oil prices are low, which means that Iraqi Kurdistan can’t pay salaries (the US covered them until the referendum), Saudi Arabia is poised to go bankrupt in about a decade, and Baghdad is not looking too good either.

I’m sorry, what was the question again?


And yet, the Saudi royals (late King Abdullah), are related through marriage, to Rifaat Al Assad.

Are economists openly predicting this, or is it just being whispered?

There were mainstream news reports to that effect a couple of years ago, in connection with the Yemen war.

SA announced benefit cuts, but then un-cut them later.
The problem is, nobody knows exactly how much money, or oil, they actually have. The truth could be a lot lower than popular wisdom suggests. On the other hand, oil prices might rise again.

People interested in Iraqi Kurdistan should be reading Juan Cole. Here’s his latest:

Interesting. Also, I hear they recently introduced a head tax on foreigners (or raised visa prices, or something).

Facing pressure from all sides, Kurdish leaders offers to freeze the result of the independence referendum. I think it’s pretty clear who the real allies of the US is in the conflict in Iraq. If Iraqis fought half as hard against ISIS as they fought against the Peshmerga, ISIS wouldn’t have been pushed back into Syria. So in the end, the Iraqi army can fight, they just are picky about who they will actually fight.

In a way, the Iraqi government is well versed in the art of war. Why not just sit back and let two of your enemies fight it out on Sunni dominant regions? With the Kurds beaten, the US now will have no one in the region that would actually carry out the tasks after accepting American money and weapons.

Of course, taking the Kurd’s sides means alienating every major player in the region.

At least for now the ball is back in Iraq’s court, and it’s a tough call to press on or reset things to just before the rise of ISIS.

After working in an active combat zone I’ve learned one thing, the news coming out from them are rarely accurate and it’s hard to tell what’s really going on unless you’re there. That said, it seems the Iraqi government is pushing military action against their Kurdish counterpart regardless of any politics involved, stating it has nothing to do with politics, whatever that means. Kurdistan has been withdrawing instead of actively engaging the Iraqi government, considering they’ve fought Iranian militants before it’s safe to say they’re not withdrawing because of a lack of power. Seems like a big and little brother scenario where one wants to fight and the other just doesn’t want to fight their own family.

Logically speaking, why can’t they reach a solution? Kurdistan seems to mostly just want acknowledgement as a separate entity, and willing to put that aside until the Iraqi government cools down. Iraq seems to just not want to lose land or military prowess, since the Kurdish region stretches across the border to some powerful nations. So perhaps they could agree to becoming a territory or something similar.

I just don’t get the idea of throwing military assets against their own people after finally halting terrorist progression from their nation, and refusing any kind of diplomacy. Doesn’t make sense at all

There are no good guys in that part of the world. I see no downside to a Kurdish state. If it leads to a bloodbath, that’s just right about average for that vicinity.

I remember George Dubya Bush on TV going on about the “Iraqi people” as if that were even a thing. There’s a guy who didn’t understand identity or colonialism. (He also talked about a “religion of peace.” And something about WMDs. The common thread seems to be things that are hard to find.)

At least I don’t hear much blather about a “Syrian people” these days. But hey… whatever happened to the Ottoman people?

I doubt it.

I wouldn’t call displacing 30,000 Kurds from the city of Kirkuk “doesn’t want to fight their own family.”

Kirkuk is a significant city for both sides. I’m not surprised that the Iraqi forces pushed for Kirkuk, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s all they wanted. Even if the Peshmerga backs the PUK party, and the current president if the Kurdish region is of KDP, I don’t think the Peshmerga would willingly give up Kirkuk, as the city borders a region with the most PUK support.

This is an interesting read.