Tag: Kurdistan

The Kurdish Conundrum

Now that Canada has decided to continue to train and support the Kurds in Iraq along with the Iraqi government, the question of the future of the Kurds is being questioned.  Indeed, yesterday, I received a phone call from a magazine in Kurdistan asking me about referendums and why some secessionist movements get to become states and others do not.  My short answer: “fair ain’t got nothing to do with it” which could probably use a bit of nuance.  This is not just a Canadian issue but one for all of the countries intervening (or not intervening) in Iraq and Syria.

The one thing I do know and am very confident about is this: vulnerability to secession does not deter other countries from recognizing an independent Kurdish state.  Sorry, I know this is the conventional wisdom (as presented in this piece), but the conventional wisdom has always been wrong and always will be wrong.  How do I know that?  Well, see my first book, see this article, and this one, too.  Perhaps notice which countries recognized Kosovo (hint: Canada).  Oh, and check out Russia’s foreign policy, given that it is vulnerable to secession yet have been sponsoring separatists frequently and enthusiastically.  And yes, countries can be irredentist even as they face separatist movements at home.

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Escalation: Turkey enters the war?

I’ve warned before that one danger of war is that it can escalate. The Iraq war could escalate to include Turkey, which claims that it will attack Kurdistan Iraq. From Monday’s Times of London (it is already October 22 there):

Turkey will launch military action against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq despite frantic appeals for restraint from America and Nato, its Prime Minister has told The Times.

Speaking hours before the PKK, the Kurdish Workers’ Party, killed at least 17 more Turkish soldiers yesterday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey had urged the US and Iraqi governments repeatedly to expel the separatists but they had done nothing. Turkey’s patience was running out and the country had every right to defend itself, he said. “Whatever is necessary will be done,” he declared in an interview. “We don’t have to get permission from anybody.”

Last Wednesday, the Turkish parliament voted overwhelmingly to authorize such an attack.

And be sure that if Turkey attacks, there will be a fight.

Again, the Times of London reports:

The Kurdish regional government, which has a force of about 100,000 men, has promised to resist any incursions.

Turkey has an estimated 60,000 troops on the border with Iraq.

PM Erdogan sounds like he has fully embraced the Bush Doctrine:

“If a neighbouring country is providing a safe haven for terrorism . . . we have rights under international law and we will use those rights and we don’t have to get permission from anybody.”

Turkey is a NATO member state, but none of its allies seem sympathetic to the argument that Turkey is already under armed attack.

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