[ View the story "Will the Kurds break free of Iraq?" on Storify] Will the Kurds break free of Iraq? The Stream discusses the possibility for an independent Kurdish state.
The Stream· Thu, Jul 03 2014 17:08:48
On June 12, Kurdish Peshmerga ("Those who confront death") forces
control of Kirkuk, an oil-rich city in northern Iraq. Two days prior, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) had launched an offensive in Mosul, Iraq's second largest city,
the Iraqi army to withdraw and leaving Kirkuk vulnerable. Amid the turmoil, and with lack of protection, Kurdish forces seized the opportunity to secure the city.
During a news conference, Kurdish President Massoud Barzani pointed to
under the Iraqi constitution, which was intended to resolve issues related to Kirkuk, a historically disputed city. Barzani referred to the dire economic situation in Iraq and the desire for Kurdish independence,
"We waited for 10 years for Baghdad to solve Article 140."
The following Al Jazeera report outlines the Kurdish position on Kirkuk:
Iraq's Kurds rule out retreating from Kirkukaljazeeraenglish
On Thursday, President Barzani
his parliament to prepare for a referendum on independence, potentially paving the way for the break-up of the country.
This image shows the territories the Kurdish Regional Government claims to be theirs:
The appropriation of Kirkuk
US Secretary of State John Kerry to meet with Kurdish leaders where he urged them to stand with the Iraqi government. Kerry, along with others in the international community, say they fear for the future of a stable Iraq if the Kurdish region becomes autonomous.
The Kurds are not alone in their fight for independence. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been
about his support for Kurdish sovereignty, though the Israeli foreign minister stated that the country had no intentions of helping the Kurds attain statehood.
Despite historically being opposed to Kurdish independence, Turkey has also
in favor of the region's aspiration for autonomy. Trade between the two
more than $8 billion a year, which is double the revenue gained in business between Turkey and all the remainder of Iraq.
The Kurdish region is heavily criticised by Baghdad and the US State Department for successfully
oil without approval from the Iraqi government.
Baghdad’s attempt to stop Iraqi Kurdistan’s crude oil exports to Europe is unlikely to immediately impact on oil trade #TwitterKurds #rudawRuwayda Mustafah
The Kurdish Twitter community expressed their views on the future of the region, some using the hashtag
Kurdistan will not be based on one ethnicity — we are a multi-religious and cultural society. #TwitterKurdsRuwayda Mustafah
As a KRG official told me, only thing now linking Kurdistan to Iraq "is the dinar and the 964 in our phone numbers" |
We were able to form a govt of national unity..recent developments demonstrated the importance of this achievement #TwitterKurds #KurdistanNechirvan Barzani
Others expressed concern about the region's dealings with Israel:
@RuwaydaMustafah @zulqrn kurds siding with the biggest devil, all for investment deals. Hugely disgraceful if that happensS
@RuwaydaMustafah Kurdistan not independent yet. Israel still have limited recognition in mid east. Iran- Iraq still dont recognise israelHussain Bhatti
Israel is trying to sow (further) divisions between Kurds & Arabs bc it knows its public support for Kurdistan will do just that.Nader
When asked whether or not they support Kurdish independence, The Stream community weighed in:
@AJStream YES, because whilst most of the ME has fallen into anarchy and hostility, Souther Kurdistan remains a safe haven for ALL.Mr. Barzani
@AJStream Why should Kurds be forced to obey rules from others? Right of self determenition.Kurdoz
@AJStream Kurdistan is the only safe haven right now in the whole middle eastern region where Arabs Kurds turkmans and co live in harmonyShwan Dizayee
@broodmywarcraft @AJStream we've sacrificed enough & already run as a semi-autonomous country. So let's make it official & put it on a map.Remziya
@Remziya @AJStream the Americans, Israelis & S. Arabia. Kurdistan's a pawn in the great game & it'll be tossed aside when its job is done3/3nader hobballah
Some cited a history of oppression as a reason behind the push for independence:
@AJStream Kurds were down trodden on by Saddam, now Maliki is showing similar signs and Kurds are defiant not to let history repeat itselfShwan Dizayee
The #Kurds have always wanted independence, but the recent breakdown in #Iraq gives them even more motivation to separate.Shannen Bazzi
@AJStream Hundreds of years of struggle. Years of oppression, brutality and various tyrant regimes. Kurdish Independence is long overdue.Tara
One community member felt independence was not necessary:
@AJStream Why should we try to divide a country that has been one since ages. Not every ethnic group can have their own nation #AJStreamJuzar Noorani
What do you think? Is this the right time for Kurdish independence?