By Edmond Y. Azadian
The Kurds in the Middle East are within a hair’s breadth of reaching their historic national aspirations; Iraqi Kurdistan is already a political reality because Iraq’s territorial integrity has been compromised to a nominal value only and the province of Kurdistan operates as a sovereign state within a fractured federation.
The partition of Iraq is a fact; the three entities it comprises it are held together out of political expediency for and by the forces which dominate the scene in the Middle East.
In the first place, the West is temporarily assuaging Turkish fears of a rising independent Kurdistan. The other component of the Kurdish drive for independence is the recapture of the Kobani region in Syria, by local Kurdish forces, creating another threat to exacerbate Ankara’s projected fears in the region.
But the main battle is fought within Turkey itself. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan precipitously abandoned peace negotiations with the Kurds and unleashed a war against the latter both in Turkey and Iraq with the short-term goal of intimidating the Kurds and gaining a parliamentary majority in the November 1 elections.
Although the Kurds, including jailed PKK leader Abdullah Oçalan, had compromised their political goals by settling for autonomy within the Turkish state versus full independence to facilitate peace negotiations, Mr. Erdogan threw aside his gains in his rush to win the elections. The bloody war that ensued may have some unintended consequences, which may include full Kurdish independence.