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The Kurds: Between Construction and War - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Kurdistan is the only content region in Iraq. This contentment began as the oppression of Saddam Hussein’s regime ended in the war for the liberation of Kuwait in 1991. Since then, the Kurds have been living a new history far away from the oppression of Iraq and the entire region. However, it seems that this peace may be broken after Turkey explicitly announced its intention to attack Iraqi Kurdistan on the pretext of pursuing Kurdish rebels that Ankara says are launching attacks [on Turkey] from that region.

The government of Irbil must think carefully before it challenges its Turkish neighbor and must answer the most important questions. Is it actually capable of winning a war and at what price? Will any force assist it? What are the alternative choices? I do not imagine that the Kurds would confront legitimate forces that are part of the NATO forces such as the Turkish army and I do not believe that the Turks would not have any difficulties in advancing and destroying any buildings that stand in modern Iraq. I do not expect that anyone would stand by the Kurds if Turkish forces penetrate every part of the region, even the United States that has always stood by the Kurds.

The reason is that Washington’s choices are limited as Turkey is not only a friend but also an ally and it has become more important in the current political equation on three levels; in facing Iran, Syria and Al Qaeda, in addition to the importance of it being a member of NATO. And let us not forget that the Turks are arguing the same point as the Americans; that they are fighting the terrorists. By terrorists, they mean the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) that does not conceal its links to recent military operations in Turkey.

The Iraqi Kurds have every reason to push for construction rather than destruction by going to war so why is the government of Irbil giving the Turks, who were against the idea of establishing a Kurdish government in Iraq in the first place, such an opportunity [to declare war]? The Turkish challenge will be a chance to strike the one thing that the Kurds have been successful in realizing in approximately 100 years and that is a government to represent them in a region in which they can practice their fundamental rights that they were deprived of for so long.

The actions of the PKK in Turkey implicated the Kurdish government without gaining a thing for them in Turkey. Embroilment has surpassed Ankara. Iran is the other [party] that bombarded Kurdistan a month ago based on the same pretext and it will support Turkey with everything that it has. Irbil’s government must know that its efforts have been rejected by many regional governments because it supports others on [the matter of] partition and that the Iraqi region in its current form of semi-autonomy is secretly rejected by its neighbors. Accordingly, the Turks will find silent support because of the Kurdish demolition project that has lasted for 15 years. Today, Kurdistan is the one secure place in Iraq and there is an extraordinary economic success story unfolding [there]. It has two international airports that are teeming with activity from around the world. There are agricultural, industrial, technological and educational projects that highlight that Kurds are, in reality, able to survive and succeed as well. The best thing for the Kurdish government to do is to lower its head in face of the storm and to cooperate with the Turks who want it to prevent any hostile activity towards them instead of returning to war and destroying all that they have only just begun to build.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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