Politi­cians need the power of the people’s author­ity

Na­tional Se­cu­rity is­sues should go to ref­er­enda

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - Saadula Aqrawi

The Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Govern­ment and the KDP have pro­vided Iraqi Kur­dis­tan with a func­tion­ing po­lice force, an army, ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties, eco­nomic free­doms, a sta­ble elec­tric­ity sup­plies, ju­di­cial re­forms based on the rule of law, and an ef­fi­cient com­mu­ni­ca­tions net­work. Though far from a par­adise, Iraqi Kur­dis­tan is now the most sta­ble part of Iraq.

Democ­racy is hard, per­haps the most com­plex and dif­fi­cult of all forms of govern­ment. It is filled with ten­sions and con­tra­dic­tions, and re­quires its mem­bers to la­bor dili­gently to make it work. The Kurds’ ne­go­ti­a­tions with Bagh­dad, the oil is­sues, Kirkuk and Kur­dish strate­gic re­la­tions with the US and its neigh­bors are all is­sues of na­tional and pub­lic con­cern; they need to go to pub­lic ref­er­enda: the politi­cians who are ne­go­ti­at­ing in the name of the Kur­dish people need their man­date.

Af­ter World War One, the Kur­dis­tan re­gion was in com­plete dis­ar­ray af­ter the rav­ages of war leav­ing only the lo­cal Kur­dish tribal chief­tains in con­trol. When Pres­i­dent Woodrow Wil­son laid out his vi­sion for world peace, the Kurds saw in it an al­lu­sion to Kur­dish au­ton­omy. Wil­son stated that the Turk­ish por­tions of the Ot­toman Em­pire should be as­sured a se­cure sovereignty, but that the other na­tion­al­i­ties then un­der Turk­ish rule should be as­sured a se­cu­rity of ex­is­tence and an op­por­tu­nity to achieve au­ton­o­mous de­vel­op­ment un­mo­lested. This was the first in­di­ca­tion of pos­si­ble Kur­dish au­ton­omy and an in­de­pen­dent state.

It was be­lieved that fed­er­al­ism and democ­racy could only work given func­tion­ing demo­cratic in­sti­tu­tions, a ju­di­cial sys­tem, in­te­grated na­tional po­lit­i­cal par­ties and elec­toral in­cen­tives cre­ated by demo­cratic po­lit­i­cal com­pe­ti­tion. The United States did not want to get in­volved in the Kur­dis­tan is­sue, both be­cause it still had an iso­la­tion­ist view of the world and be­cause Kur­dis­tan, a land­locked area, had al­ready been par­tially an­nexed by Bri­tain.

The Treaty of Sevres gave the Kurds au­ton­omy in Kur­dish ar­eas and a fu­ture in­de­pen­dent state. How­ever, this as­pect of the treaty was never en­acted. Turkey gained its in­de­pen­dence through the Treaty of Lau­sanne, which did not men­tion the Turk­ish Kurds. Cou­pled with the Bri­tish cre­ation of Iraq, this dashed the hopes of a Kur­dish in­de­pen­dent state.

Democ­racy is not de­signed for ef­fi­ciency, but for ac­count­abil­ity. A demo­cratic govern­ment may not be able to act as quickly as a dic­ta­tor­ship, but once com­mit­ted to a course of ac­tion it can draw upon deep well­springs of pop­u­lar sup­port. Amer­i­cans be­lieve, and rightly so, that the ba­sic prin­ci­ples un­der­ly­ing their govern­ment de­rive di­rectly from no­tions first enun­ci­ated by the framers of the Con­sti­tu­tion.

It wasn’t un­til the 1970s that US for­eign pol­icy af­fected the sta­tus of Kurds.

Wil­son had com­mu­ni­cated a vi­sion for the world, but the United States did not be­come a prom­i­nent ac­tor in the cre­ation of na­tion states in the for­mer Ot­toman Em­pire—it left this task to the Euro­pean pow­ers.

Democ­racy, cer­tainly in its Amer­i­can form, is never a fin­ished prod­uct, but is al­ways evolv­ing.

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