Monday, June 16, 2014


I hope the Kurds use their new leverage to negotiate a better position within Iraq rather than seek independence. I think they would find hostile neighbors if they declare formal independence from Iraq.

Yes, the Iraqi central government has been stiff-arming the Kurds and refusing to regularize their autonomy and settle revenue streams and power-sharing.

Independence seems so close in the aftermath of the al Qaeda (ISIL/ISIS) offensive that allowed the Kurds to secure Kirkuk:

The collapse of Baghdad's control of northern Iraq in the face of an onslaught by Sunni insurgents has allowed Kurds to take the historic capital they regard as their Jerusalem, and suddenly put them closer than ever to their immortal goal: an independent state of their own.

After Sunni insurgents from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant seized Iraq's biggest northern city Mosul and rampaged towards the capital Baghdad, Kurdish fighters wasted no time in mobilizing.

I think the Kurds should negotiate the terms of their entry into the battle for the north by hammering out oil revenue, power-sharing, the status of Kirkuk, and local autonomy issues.

The Kurds could offer to retake Mosul for the government and otherwise engage ISIL while the government puts Kirkuk within the Kurdish region. Oil revenue should be allocated for a set number of years to compensate those who lose property as the city settles down. Saddam ethnically cleansed Kurds to resettle Sunnis up there, remember.

Independence will freak out neighbors with Kurds--Turkey, Iran, and Syria, while alienating Iraq which will lose a good chunk of land (and Iraq's best troops).

And is it really wise to leave ISIS as a neighbor within Iraq if the Iraqi government can't reclaim the north?

And if the Iraqi government does reconquer the north without the Kurds, the Iraqi government will feel betrayed with no obligation to share power or oil revenue with the Kurds.

Is isolation in the mountains really better for the Kurds than nominal Iraqi control that leaves Kurds free to trade and prosper as the legal status quo has allowed them to do so far?

Why risk pushing for more? The Kurds should use their sudden leverage to bargain for a better position within Iraq--and then defend Iraq.