A Kur­dish Band of Broth­ers and ero­sion of com­mon bor­ders

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Bash­dar Pusho Is­maeel

The pro­posed Kur­dish Na­tional Con­fer­ence, set to bring Kurds to­gether from Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria, serves as a sym­bolic mo­ment in the his­tory of the Kur­dish na­tion and the Kur­dish re­nais­sance as a po­lit­i­cal and strate­gic force in the Mid­dle East.

The greater Kur­dish lands were ar­bi­trar­ily carved al­most a cen­tury ago leav­ing Kurds in each re­spec­tive quar­ter to fight for their lo­calised rights. The no­tion of a na­tional con­fer­ence for the Kurds serves to shat­ter the prin­ci­ple that the Kur­dish strug­gle is now dis­counted to the re­spec­tive seg­ments that they were force­fully thrown un­der. The prospect of 600 par­tic­i­pants across the Kur­dish di­vide un­der one roof and with a com­mon cause would send strong sig­nals across the re­gion at a high­l­y­sen­si­tive time.

The strug­gle for mi­nor­ity rights has over­shad­owed the real bat­tle for sov­er­eign rights and nar­rowed the na­tion­al­ist an­gle of the Kurds.

How­ever, hold­ing and or­gan­is­ing such a grand venture was never go­ing to be easy. Each part of Kur­dis­tan is go­ing through its own crit­i­cal his­tor­i­cal junc­ture, dom­i­nated by a dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal pic­ture and re­gional con­no­ta­tions.

The re­cent an­nounce­ment to post­pone the na­tional con­fer­ence for a sec­ond time gave more fuel to scep­tics and re­gional pow­ers watch­ing de­vel­op­ments with in­tent. It was orig­i­nally sched­uled for Septem­ber 15th and now set for November 25th.

The rea­son for the de­lay was of­fi­cially due to the up­com­ing Kur­dis­tan par­lia­men­tary elec­tions on Septem­ber 21st, but there have been re­ported dis­agree­ments over al­lo­ca­tion of seats and for­mat of the con­fer­ence.

The task of bring­ing to­gether hun­dreds of fig­ures and dozens of po­lit­i­cal par­ties was never go­ing to be straight­for­ward. But Kurds must not back away from this grand chal­lenge and ul­ti­mate aims of the con­fer­ence, in spite of any dif­fer­ences or pres­sures from neigh­bour­ing pow­ers.

Suc­ces­sive regimes in Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq al­ways feared the rip­ple ef­fect of the Kur­dish strug­gle. Rights or po­lit­i­cal achieve­ments in one part of the di­vide could be the launchpad for a strug­gle else­where. Once Kurds are em­bold­ened and strength­ened on one side, this sets ex­pec­ta­tions and a bench­mark for the oth­ers.

In this light, neigh­bour­ing pow­ers were al­ways go­ing to view such a con­fer­ence with sus­pi­cion and as a threat.

The Kur­dish na­tional strug­gle was firstly blighted by the im­pe­rial pow­ers at the time with im­posed divi­sion, but to counter that Kurds in each re­spec­tive part have di­vided them­selves fur­ther. How can the Kurds achieve state­hood or de­mand greater rights from re­spec­tive regimes if they them­selves suf­fer from dis­unity, a lack of a com­mon vi­sion or long-term plan for the Kur­dish na­tion as a whole?

The grow­ing promi­nence and strate­gic stand­ing of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion has laid the foun­da­tions for the rise of the Kurds as a key re­gional power. Kurds in Syria, Turkey and Iran al­ready ben­e­fit from the im­mense trade, op­por­tu­ni­ties and cul­tural bridges that the boom­ing Kur­dish Re­gion pro­vides.

The Kurds in Syria have fi­nally wres­tled from decades of tyranny to achieve un­prece­dented au­ton­omy. But with rag­ing bat­tles against Is­lamist forces, a Syria that is sink­ing deeper into divi­sion and con­flict and out­right dis­unity amongst Syr­ian Kur­dish po­lit­i­cal par­ties, Kurds risk wast­ing their his­tor­i­cal op­por­tu­nity.

At the same time in Turkey, there is the unique chance of peace be­tween the PKK and Ankara af­ter a 3 decade old con­flict that has paral­ysed the eco­nomic and so­cial devel­op­ment of Kur­dish lands in Turkey.

With prospects of au­ton­omy for Syria Kurds, their nat­u­ral gate is the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion of Iraq. Kur­dish lands will slowly but surely be­come de-facto united with the erod­ing of bor­ders. A greater Kur­dis­tan may not ex­ist in name, but Kurds can build an af­fec­tive re­gional union.

A Kur­dish League with a com­mon char­ter, ef­fec­tive power and eq­ui­table rep­re­sen­ta­tion can form the equiv­a­lent of the Kur­dish band of broth­ers. This is the only way to pro­tect Kur­dish in­ter­ests and fur­ther Kur­dish na­tional goals.

How­ever, achiev­ing such lofty goals of unity will not be easy. Just look at Syr­ian Kur­dis­tan where the in­flu­ence of the both the PKK and KDP and re­spec­tive sup­port for Ab­dul­lah Ocalan and Mas­saud Barzani

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