September 12, 2017
The Kurdistan Regional Government has scheduled a referendum for Sept. 25—on independence from Iraq. Should it go forward, a massive vote to secede seems certain. And Kurds are relying on U.S. support. For they have sustained many casualties and shed much blood backing us in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State.
Yet while our sentiments may cheer the cause of an independent Kurdistan, our national interests may call for caution.
For though the Kurds, 30 million in number, are probably the largest ethnic group on earth without a nation-state of their own, creating a Kurdish homeland could ignite a Middle East war the Kurds could lose as badly as did the Confederate States.
Why? Because, the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919-20 not only left millions of Kurds in Iraq, it left most of them in Turkey, Iran and Syria.
A free and independent Kurdistan carved out of Iraq could prove a magnet for the 25 million Kurds in Iran, Turkey and Syria, and a sanctuary for Kurd rebels, causing those nations to join together to annihilate the new country.
Then, there is Kirkuk, seized by the Kurds after the Iraqi army fled from an invading ISIS. The city sits on some of the richest oil deposits in Iraq.
Yesterday, Massoud Barzani, president of Iraqi Kurdistan, told the BBC that if the Kurds vote for independence and Baghdad refuses to accept it, they will forcibly resist any Iraqi attempt to retake the city.
Tribalism appears to be doing to the Bush New World Order what it did to Mikhail Gorbachev’s Soviet Union.