EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The Kurds are an ancient tribal people indigenous to West Asia. Between 1918 and 1925, they were made part of four newborn countries, each of which continues to deny its Kurds their fundamental freedoms, let alone nation-statehood. Neither “a second Israel” nor “a second Palestine,” Iraqi Kurds are ready to govern themselves as a functioning democratic nation – an authentic nation-state in a region substantially constructed from without.
Not all Kurds seek sovereignty. Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria differ from one another and from the Kurds of the Diaspora (western Europe and the Americas). It is not inconceivable that Turkish, Iranian, and Syrian Kurds would be content with autonomy alone, provided it were real. Nor is it unthinkable that they might be citizens of a single Kurdish state but permanent residents elsewhere, or might benefit from dual nationality.
Why, then, do the Iraqi Kurds seek sovereignty? And which set of internationally unrecognized sovereign frontiers do they have in mind? Is it the constitutionally demarcated contours of the KRG (Iraq’s internally autonomous Kurdish Regional Government, now belatedly seeking “negotiations”)? Or is it the borderlines that include Iraqi land controlled by the KRG as a result of Baghdad’s war of liberation from ISIS (which are now difficult to “renegotiate”)? Or perhaps they are thinking of an even newer fence: enclosing the extra patches (including Kirkuk) of annexed remunerative land (which is now “non-negotiable” after the recent military confrontation)?
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