Implications Of Kurd’s Referendum – OpEd


The big news is that the overwhelming majority of Iraqi Kurds have voted in favor of a state of their own. Now the big question is, will the other states harboring Kurds approve the splitting of Iraq or support it in defying the Kurd verdict.

The initial reports indicate that Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran have already rejected the idea of holding a referendum collectively decided to resist formation of an independent Kurd state. However, it is feared that the US and Israel will provide money and arms to the Kurds to initiate a full-scale encounter with Iraqi forces that are already busy in fighting ISIS. All the stakeholders must keep in mind that the war among the Muslim countries, which are also major oil producing countries would benefit their enemies.

While many Muslim countries of the Arabian Peninsula have chosen to remain silent, Hezbollah has categorically stated that the Kurdish vote marked the first step towards the fragmentation of the Middle East, which could lead to the Muslims killing each other. Hezbollah Chief, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, said Kurds vote for independence was a threat to the whole region and not just Iraq and neighboring states with Kurdish populations.

Nasrallah said pointblank that arch enemy of Muslims, Israel had come out in support of independent Kurdish state and described the referendum as part of a US-Israeli plot to carve up the region. He had warned earlier this year that a future Israeli war against Syria or Lebanon could draw thousands of fighters from countries such as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Pakistan, and could take place inside Israel.

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said that Iraqi Kurdish authorities would pay the price of the referendum. Turkey had built strong commercial ties with Kurdish authorities, which pump hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil daily through Turkey for export to world markets. However, after the referendum Turkey threatened to impose economic sanction, effectively cutting their main access to international markets. Erdogan went to the extent of saying that Iraqi Kurds would go hungry if Ankara halted export of Kurdish oil.

Prior to referendum, Saudi Arabia had urged Kurdish leaders to call off planned referendum in the interests of Iraq’s stability, security, unity and sovereignty. The referendum “may result in negative repercussions” for the fight against terrorist organizations, and “it would be best to avoid new crises,” said a Saudi government.

I am of the view that the Kurd referendum is part of creation of ‘Greater Kurdistan’ which will be formed by instigating Kurds from Turkey, Iran and Syria to also take similar decision. I would also say that separating Kurds from Iraq is the preamble of splitting the country into Sunni and Shia states. The US has been working on this plan ever since it attacked Iraq accusing it for developing weapons of mass destruction soon after 9/11

Shabbir H. Kazmi

Shabbir H. Kazmi is an economic analyst from Pakistan. He has been writing for local and foreign publications for about quarter of a century. He maintains the blog ‘Geo Politics in South Asia and MENA’. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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