Kurdish Vote: Why you can’t listen to the media

(TFC) – As the referendum for independence in Iraqi Kurdistan draws closer, the topic of what to do with the Kurds is becoming a hot issue. On September 25th, the Kurds will vote. Despite US pressure, the vote will not be postponed according to Kurdish officials. There are several popular narratives launched by establishment figures opposed to Kurdish independence that are plainly false. These narratives have taken a foothold, making it time to address them.

So here are some things you need to know:

Supporting the Kurds is not an Imperialist stance: Imperialism is the policy of maintaining control over a people who don’t want to be controlled by a government typically of a different ethnicity, culture, or national origin. The Kurds don’t have a country of their own because of Western Imperialism. When the world was carved up, the Kurds were fractured among different territories, later forced to live in the countries those territories became. The attempt to force Iraqi Kurds to live under the rule of Baghdad is support for imperialism. Supporting their independence is anti-Imperialism.

An independent Kurdistan in Iraq does not help oust Assad: It’s been suggested by multiple pro-Assad sites that an Independent Kurdistan in Iraq will help overthrow Assad. This is despite Kurdish officials saying, “Assad is the leader of the Syrian people and he should stay. We just want our people to have their own leader.” Is there a possibility of a small section of Syria attempting to break away and join an independent Iraqi Kurdistan? Yes. However, this area hasn’t been under Assad’s control for years and the ceding of this land by Syria would create a strong ally out of the fledgling country. As discussed below, an independent Kurdistan in Iraq may have a very different consequence.

The US government does not support Kurdish independence: It is extremely popular to suggest Kurdish independence is a tool of the US. Nothing could be further from the truth. The US has moved against Kurdish independence every step of the way. Just two months ago, the US House Armed Services Committee sent out language threatening to cut funding to the Kurds if they broke away from Iraq, even in the midst of the fight against the Islamic State, saying, ” funding should be contingent upon KRG [Kurdish Regional Government] participation in the government of a unified Iraq and on their continued good faith cooperation in the anti-IS campaign”  An independent Kurdistan threatens US hegemony in the region, it doesn’t help it. Within the last few days, the Secretary of Defense of the United States asked the Kurds to put off their vote. Those who are saying the US is in favor of this are lying. Period.

A Kurdish state does not help the west maintain control of the Middle East: People have seen the Kurds ally with the US so often, it seems as though the US should want an independent Kurdistan. It does not. The promise of an independent Kurdish country is how the US can motivate the Kurds. If the Kurds actually achieved independence, that promise would evaporate and the Kurds would no longer need to ally with Washington. For decades Washington has used the Kurds as a “fifth column” within countries it seeks to destabilize. If the Kurds attained independence, they would not be in a position to weaken Arab governments from within. Especially since it would be attained over US objections, that alliance would be lost. The Kurds and the US seemed aligned because the Kurds were smart enough to know that if the US weakened the government controlling them, they might be able to attain independence. It looks like they were correct.

Israel’s “greater Israel” plan does not benefit from a Kurdish state:  In the early 1980s, a journal published a strategy for Israel written by Oded Yinon. It became the cornerstone of a slew of theories championed by people as notable of Osama bin Ladin and David Duke. The strategy outlined in the essay was to fracture Arab countries along ethnic and religious lines and then conquer them one by one starting with Lebanon. There’s a little circumstantial evidence this was actually attempted during the 1980s in Lebanon, and failed… miserably. The main problem with this theory, and it’s a problem Israeli strategy makers would certainly be aware of, is with numbers. Controlling the territory stretching from the Nile to the Euphrates, as outlined in the essay, would require about 100 million people. The total Jewish population of the world? 15 million. Another large glaring hole in this theory, apparently overlooked by Yinon: ethnically homogeneous militaries fighting for their homeland have generally proved unconquerable in the modern era since decolonization. The creation of this “greater Israel” was supposed to take place by 1989. It did not. In the almost 30 years since, outside of the ongoing conflict in Palestine, Israel has not added a single square mile to its territory. The largest problem with the suggestion of Israel orchestrating the breakup to later conquer the Kurds? Iraqi Kurdistan isn’t even in the area discussed in greater Israel plan. It’s north of the Euphrates.

Image Source: Kurdishstruggle, Flickr, Creative Commons

The Kurds will not fall under Riyadh’s control because they are Sunni: Yet another theory is that it’s an attempt to break up the Shia countries in the Middle East by putting a Sunni country in the middle of them. First, war is not a board game like Risk. Since the invention of the cargo aircraft, contiguous territories are not necessary to wage war. The other issue is that while a vast majority of Kurds are Sunni, they aren’t Arab. They’re Kurdish. In every Arab conflict even remotely based on the Shia-Sunni lines, they’ve taken the side of the Shia. They’ve spent the last few years fighting an enemy that is heavily influenced by Riyadh and Saudi clerics.

We don’t know if Kurdish independence in Iraq will embolden Kurds in other countries: One of the few legitimate concerns deals with Kurdish communities in neighboring countries like Iran, Syria, and Turkey attempting to break away and join the newly formed independent Kurdistan. It is possible. It’s also possible they simply immigrate to the Kurdish homeland established in Iraq thereby removing the US tool within the country they are currently living in.

Yes, almost all countries oppose the vote: Iran, the US, Turkey, Syria, and many, many other nations are in opposition to Kurdish independence. See, that’s the thing about freedom, the establishment will oppose it at all costs. We, as Americans, do not get to tell the Kurds they must remain in a country not their own. They’ve been promised their own nation for a century. They’re tired of waiting, they’ll take it if they have to. So you can either support freedom or you can support the imperialist ambitions of the United States, Iran, Turkey, and so on. The choice is yours: freedom or tyranny. Don’t let talking points and propaganda sway you from your course. Do you support freedom and self-determination or not? It’s really that simple.