Kurdistan is not turning back
Politics is not about what we want. On some occasions, politics means crossing unusual borders and achieving great dreams. Half of the intention behind the title of this article is a speech Nechirvan Barzani made a few days ago at the oil and energy conference in Erbil. Addressing hundreds of national, Arabic and foreign companies, media and guests, he said “Kurdistan is not turning back.” Actually, according to the political logic and diplomatic relations that have been established in recent years between Kurdistan and Europe, America, Canada and some Arabic countries, Kurdistan is not turning back politically, diplomatically, culturally or commercially, and the economy is the driving force that makes it possible to remain true to this decisive strategy.
It’s true that there are huge political, humanitarian and financial pressures which can sometimes spill over into confrontation with terrorist attacks and pressure (in intelligence, for instance) exerted on the Kurdistan Region. The Iraqi government, too, and several nations in the region, is not above scheming to destabilize the developed and tranquil situation in Kurdistan. And then there are the radical groups and chauvinist mind-frames that consider themselves Kurdistan’s enemies, too.
We will do more than say Kurdistan is not turning back: Kurdistan is not turning back in many of its policies, and it does not go about its task according to classical analyses and former traditional interests. This means that the KRG authorities— whether it be the Kurdistan Region Presidency led by Massoud Barzani, the Council of Ministers led by Nechirvan Barzani, or any other political or legislative institution—take trustful steps dynamically and decisively. The fundamental strategy in the Region today is, firstly, keeping away from internal and regional disputes and, secondly, unifying the political discourse across other parts of Kurdistan, especially in regard to democracy and the peaceful resolution of the Kurdish Question.
When we say Kurdistan is not turning back, we mean the Kurdistan Region’s authority is utterly convinced of the need to establish political, economical and diplomatic relations. In a Middle East wracked by troubles, war and change, the Kurdistan Region has emerged as a powerful center for decision-making, sustaining peace between the Kurds and the Turks, and solving the Kurdish Issue in Western Kurdistan in a non-violent way. Kurds in Iraq have sought a peaceful role, peaceful coexistence of the ethnicities in the Region, and governmental stability.
Compared to other parts of Iraq and some countries in the Middle East, the Kurdistan Region is moving toward development on many levels. Exporting oil and gas through Turkey will further enhance the position of the Kurdistan Region.
The results are not yet certain, but some of the outcomes are perceptible. However, it is obvious from the anger of its opponents that the Kurdistan Region is taking a historic step in furthering its own interests. The opponents say the Kurds are actually moving towards economic independence, which has only one implication for the future, which is political independence. So the great dream of the Kurds will be realized in the policy which the Regional Presidency and political authorities are pursuing. In the meantime, the Kurds will apply the policy that is best for them, but always with respect for the constitution and humanitarian and domestic laws. Their strategy is serving people and remaining a just authority which treats every political component, ethnicity and religion equally. Even more importantly, the Kurds are using the oil in the Region cautiously with a view to securing prosperity and strengthening their character—not as a way of creating a situation of leaders and the led.
This refusal to turn back may sweep aside many historic and psychological obstacles. We are not far from a domestic political renaissance which could bring positive outcomes as well as temporary negativity. But, this time, oil will not be used as a tool for suppressing the Kurds; it has been transformed into a modern tool for enhancing the power and prosperity of Kurdistan.