Now that Iraq is becoming a failed state—a fate that became inevitable the moment we invaded—the Kurds have a chance at something the great powers have denied them for a long time. They might gain an independent state.
Naturally, John Kerry has flown over to Kurdistan to dictate policy to them.
According to Reuters:
“We are facing a new reality and a new Iraq,” Kurdish President Massoud Barzani said at the start of his meeting with Kerry. Earlier, he blamed Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s “wrong policies” for the violence and called for him to quit, saying it was “very difficult” to imagine Iraq staying together.
Kerry told Barzani that Iraq needed to stay united, a State Department official said, referring to the Kurdish leader’s comments about wanting an independent state.
The official summarised Kerry’s message as: “Whatever your aspirations are for your future, your interests now in the near-term are for a stable, sovereign and unified Iraq.”
I’m sure the Kurds all take great joy in listening to a foreigner tell them about their aspirations.
I’m not, of course, claiming I think all that the Kurds want is what they should get. The story also says that the Kurds have taken advantage of the chaos to seize new (old) territory. I have no idea if they should have that territory or not. But the story makes it sound like they should.
Two days after the Sunni fighters launched their uprising by seizing the north’s biggest city Mosul, Kurdish troops took full control of Kirkuk, a city they consider their historic capital and which was abandoned by the fleeing Iraqi army.
The Kurds’ capture of Kirkuk, just outside the boundary of their autonomous zone, eliminates their main incentive to remain part of Iraq: its oil deposits could generate more revenue than the Kurds now receive from Baghdad as part of the settlement that has kept them from declaring independence.
That is a pretty fragile version of “Peace” that Iraq depended on. If this story is accurate, the Kurds were basically held hostage because they weren’t allowed both a valued and a valuable part of what they considered to be their territory.
So if the Kurds pull away are we going to start bombing them?
I don’t understand why Kerry thinks it is his place to tell the Kurds how to deal with the crack up of the nation. It reminds me of Barack Obama suggesting to the Scots that they shouldn’t vote to be independent of Britain.