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Will the Iraqi Kurdistan become an independent state?

Will the Iraqi Kurdistan become an independent state?

Tags: Iraq, Kurds, Politics, Analytics, Middle East, War in the Middle East, West, Syria, Turkey

How the forecasts of Western analysts come true.

The referendum on the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan has created in the Middle East not only a fundamentally new situation, but also caused a lot of questions, the answers to which, though not all, can be received in the course of developments in the region. The main thing now is understanding how Erbil will proceed further: whether it will go on proclamation of independence or enter into a debilitating political bargaining with Baghdad and other regional and external players.

In this regard, the opinions of experts differ. Thus, the French newspaper Liberation believes that the head of the Kurdish autonomy in Iraq, Massoud Barzani, "will use the results of the referendum as a political leverage and negotiating tool for pressure on Baghdad and will not rush to proclaim independence." This view is shared by many analysts from the Middle East countries, in particular, the Turkish, explaining Ankara's reluctance to launch military intervention against Erbil. To some extent, this looks logical. Barzani considers the Iraqi crisis to be very profound. He began to play a map of the country's unity with the expectation that the current Iraqi government would be dismissed under the leadership of Haider al-Abadi.

Recall that Erbil in 2005 already held a referendum, when 98% of voters voted for independence. And silence. Now Barzani explains this by saying that "the 2005 year referendum was announced and held by public organizations, and the current one is being organized by the government and political parties." The argument is not entirely convincing. It's different. The current situation in Iraq is that any other government in Baghdad - no matter who leads it - has little chance of maintaining the unity of the state. Unless it's only if Barzani himself does not head the cabinet. Consequently, Erbil's negotiations with the center will be tactical until the country's split becomes irreversible when, according to the Turkish Aydinlik Gazetesi, "the threads that Iraq has been constantly sewn together, either burned or pulled out as unnecessary."


"Could the Kurds have waited?" Asks Kuwaiti edition Al Rai Kuwait. Most likely, Erbil regards the geopolitical situation in the region as favorable for itself, believing that the Kurdish movement in Turkey and Syria, and in the near future, in Iran, will acquire a qualitatively different character, which will affect the further development of events. In this regard, the Turkish expert Ismet Ozhelik sees it important to pay close attention to the unusual activity of contacts between Turkey, Russia, Iran and Iraq in the context of what is happening in Iraqi Kurdistan. The chief of the Iranian General Staff arrived in Ankara for the first time in 38 years. Afterwards, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkish Foreign Minister, suddenly went to Baghdad. The day before, the chief of the General Staff of Iraq, Osman al-Ganim, flew to Ankara.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the phone, reports about the upcoming visit of the Russian leader to Ankara. "Two contacts in one week," Ozchelik notes. "It attracts attention." There was also a telephone conversation between Putin and Iranian President Hassan Ruhani. In the coming days the chief of the Turkish General Staff, Akar Hulusi, will leave for Tehran. Following Erdogan Erdogan also intends to visit the Iranian capital. What's going on?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

When forecasts come true

Sometimes it is useful to open a dossier that records various "leaks" of Western, primarily Israeli and American think tanks, in which different scenarios of the future geopolitical transformation of the Middle East were painted. Back in 1982, an Israeli journalist Odedom Inon published a scenario of the disintegration of the states of the region, primarily the Arab ones. From that moment, the "plan of Inon" appears in the specialized literature. It provides for the division of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. At first, Iraq, which "should be divided along the axis of the Kurds - Sunnis - Shiites." Then the line Turkey - Iran - Pakistan was designated, which also "should be divided".

At the same time, the task was to create a "domino effect" in the region, when "each country undergoing a division begins to stimulate the opening of a new front in the next state". In 1997, during the time of the administration of Bill Clinton, the ideas of the "Inon plan" are being developed in the monograph of American researchers J. Kemp and R. Harkawi "Strategic Geography and the Changing Middle East". After the 11 events of September 2001, Douglas Feith's report was circulated, and then his book War and Determination, which raised the question of the need to redraw the borders in the Middle East.

The book of American General Wesley Clarke "How to win the modern war" was published, where Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Libya and Somalia were added to the list of "doomed countries". 6 November 2003 at the National Endowment for Democracy, US President George W. Bush introduced the project "The Greater Middle East", which was "tied" to Iraq. In June 2006, the Armed Forces Journal published a map of the "Greater Middle East" prepared by retired colonel of the US National Military Academy Ralph Peters.

According to his plans, part of the territories in favor of "Free Kurdistan", Syria's coastal territories should have been withdrawn from Syria and Iraq, was to withdraw to Lebanon. The structure of "Greater Kurdistan" is to enter eastern Turkey and, possibly, part of western Iran. A little later, American professor Michael Davy "modernized" the map of Peters: on the coast of Syria, a small state of Alawites is formed, the Golan Heights depart for Israel, in the territory of present-day Jordan, a Palestinian state is created in exchange for Israel's refusal to claim East Jerusalem. Lebanon was planned to be divided into two states - Shiites and Maronite Christians.

Following this in the project, former American diplomat Dennis Ross, historian David Fromkin and political scientists Kenneth Pollack and Daniel Bayman made their additions: to divide Saudi Arabia and Iraq, Egypt into the urban region in the Nile delta and the western tribal region, to include Kuwait and Qatar in the United Arab Emirates, proclaim the Levant in the Eastern Mediterranean. In July 2006, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice publicly announced the plan for "restructuring" of the Middle East region.

Prior to the beginning of the "Arab Spring" 2010-2011, these assessments of Western analysts were perceived by many experts, including Russian, at the level of an "exotic geopolitical rebus" intended "only for training exercises of military academy officers and military planners." But today it's enough to take a quick look at the map of the Middle East to understand what elements of the proposed geopolitical scenarios have already been practically realized, which is planned to be realized. And this is the main feature of the emerging situation.

The Middle East is on fire

Now in the Middle East there are several parallel processes running simultaneously in parallel: several nationalisms, interconfessional confrontation, ideological, Islamic-related terrorist process. All this against the background of a fierce armed struggle, covering the space from Gibraltar to Pakistan. This confusion of the already complex modern history of the region never knew.

Counter-Terrorist Alliances

Now no one argues with the fact that the Balkanization process is actively in the Middle East. Libya does not actually exist as a state, Iraq is disintegrated, Syria is balancing on the brink, Turkey openly talks about real threats to its territorial integrity. After the referendum on the independence of the Iraqi Kurdistan from Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran, they can gradually start withdrawing Kurdish territories. This process is submitted and will be submitted as the best way out of the "chaos situation". New states will begin to create only on a common ethnic or religious component.

If you become attached to the current moment, Western analysts believe that "the disintegration of Iraq is even more important than the disintegration of Syria" in respect of the territory on which the main front of the fight against IGIL is currently taking place (an organization whose activities are banned in the Russian Federation). But Turkey is in the most vulnerable position, it is waging war on the Kurds on three fronts: inside the country against the Kurdistan Workers' Party, against the Syrian Kurds supported by the United States and who can gain autonomy status in the new Syria, and now Ankara has begun to balance on the verge war with the Iraqi Kurdistan.

Army of Syrian Kurds

At the same time, Turkey began to realize that what is happening in the region goes beyond it, that it, like Syria and Iraq, can become another springboard for a political "experiment" in the Middle East. Ankara began to match strategic interests with Iran, together they are drifting towards Russia. So in the Middle East appears an incredible before in the history of the tactical alliance of the three countries. Essentially, in the alliance of Russia and Iran, which are fighting together with IGIL (an organization whose activities are banned in Russia) in Syria, Turkey is pushed mainly only by the Kurdish factor.

As for Russia, the situation in which it finds itself in the region needs to be carefully analyzed in order to develop a long-term strategy. But everything will depend on whether the Iraqi Kurdistan will become independent, or this move will still be blocked, as before. In Syria, for example, the prevention of the process was done through the introduction of Russia into the country's military security services, which helped to prevent the collapse of this country. So it's still ahead.

Stanislav Tarasov
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