Kurdistan is already divided by imperial powers, Kurds must not add to it
Then there is the Kurdish infighting within each region that has cost hundreds of lives and served nothing but the same foes that the Kurds have desperately resisted.
The onset of the Kurdistan Region afforded not only a new flourishing and internationally recognized region, it also helped to serve as a base for the Kurdish renaissance across the region.
The 1990’s saw various intra-Kurdish battles, but the post-2003 era saw an increasing sense of cohesion and unity. For example, on several occasions the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) refused to bow to pressure from Ankara to oust the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for fear of spilling Kurdish blood or initiating a new dark chapter of intra-Kurdish strife.
The sense of a greater nationalist struggle has increased with the onset of the Islamic State (IS) with battles pitched across Kurdish areas in Syria and Iraq. The battle against a common enemy saw Kurdish forces serve the same goal. The YPG, PKK and KRG forces combined at several intervals to protect Kurdish communities.
The most symbolic demonstration was the successful defense of Kobane against the odds as it was under siege by IS forces for many months. Peshmerga forces from Kurdistan Region, travelled through Kurdish lands in Turkey to defend Rojava alongside the already heavily present PKK forces.
Fast forward to May 2015 and the significance of the recent unfortunate battles between the PKK and the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) becomes even clearer.
Both sides have different account of events with one side pointing the finger at the other. But blame is irrelevant – whoever was responsible for the deadly clashes the end outcome is the same. It harms Kurdish unity and reputation and unlike a couple of decades ago, even a single shot in the midst of secluded mountains can quickly ring across international mediums due to the new technological era. Both PKK and KDPI forces are holed up in the strategic Turkey, Iran and Kurdistan Region border triangle.
In a statement, Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani labelled the recent clashes as “suicidal” and warned that no Kurdish party can benefit from the shedding of blood of other Kurds. Barzani added, “Every Kurdish party must fulfil its national responsibility and avoid any action which could damage the reputation of Kurds.”
The KRG parliament statement also warned the PKK\KDPI forces, “This kind of incident is a flashback to the darkest pages of Kurdistan’s history and the Kurdish nation will not accept the recurrence of such events.”
A KRG delegation is expected to visit the area for talks between both parties concerned.
Kurdish forces find themselves as key ally to the broad anti-IS coalition. Whilst previously the fight was for minority rights, the Kurds must continue to work together to maintain their strategic importance at this critical juncture for Kurdish nationalism.