The Turn of the Kurds

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The Turn of the Kurds

Post by Guest on Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:10 am

There is not and should not be any automatic right of self-determination, not least because a world of frequent secession would be in even greater disarray than the world we already have. To gain international recognition, secessionist entities should meet five key criteria – and Iraq's Kurdistan Region satisfies all of them.

NEW YORK – Returns show a high percentage of Iraq’s estimated eight million Kurds turned out to vote in a referendum on independence for the Kurdistan Region and other areas of the country with a substantial Kurdish population. An even higher proportion of voters – reported to be above 90% – voted yes. Much of the world, though, is unsympathetic, and statehood in today’s world depends on recognition by other states. So what happens now?

To be sure, there is not and should not be any automatic right of self-determination. It was one thing for people in colonies ruled by governments thousands of miles away and deprived of many of their rights to opt for independence in the wake of World War II. It is something else altogether for a region to secede from an existing independent country. A world of frequent secession would be in even greater disarray than the world we already have.

The question then naturally arises: under what circumstances should leaders and populations seeking to leave one country and establish their own be supported? There is no universally accepted set of standards, but let me suggest some that should be applied:

·         A history that indicates a clear collective identity for the people in question.
·         A compelling rationale, in the sense that the population must be able to demonstrate that the status quo is imposing a large political, physical, and economic price.
·         The population makes clear that it strongly favors a new and separate political status.
·         The new state is viable (the last thing the world needs are more failed states).
·         Secession does not jeopardize the viability of the rump state or the security of neighboring states.

By these standards, there is a persuasive case for Kurdish independence. The Kurds have a strong sense of collective history and national identity, and failed to achieve statehood after WWI through no fault of their own – even though the case for it was as persuasive as those of other groups whose national hopes were satisfied. The Kurds of Iraq suffered greatly (including being attacked with chemical weapons) at the hands of Saddam Hussein’s regime. An independent Kurdistan has the potential to be economically viable, given its energy reserves. And Iraq without Kurdistan would still be viable, as would other neighboring countries.


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Re: The Turn of the Kurds

Post by nicko on Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:22 am

The fight against ISIS would have taken considerably longer if not for the bravery of the Kurds!

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