Kurdish independence and its neighbours
Christian Caryl and Micha’el Tanchum recently wrote in two separate pieces about the possibility of Kurdish independence. Although the Kurdistan region of Iraq is now semi-independent with its own Peshmerga army, foreign policy, and institutions, it still lacks international recognition. As Tanchum mentioned, “Ultimately, Kurdistan’s quest for independence rests on the Barzani government’s ability to manage its relations with his territory’s two powerful neighbors, Turkey and Iran.”
Recently, Turkey said it would oppose Kurdish independence, and in July, Iran expressed its hostility towards independence. And in July only Israel said it would support Kurdish independence. So it seems the Kurds are not on the verge of independence, but there is a small unnoticed Kurdish spring raging through Turkey, Iraq, and Syria, although in Iran the opportunities for the Kurds are still little, without any internal changes in Iran. It was in fact the IS attacks on Kurdistan that forced the Kurdistan region to focus its fight on the IS, and not on holding a independence referendum that was announced by the KRG president Barzani in July.
Most likely much of the Western support to the Kurds is also based on the condition that the Kurds should work with the West. And landlocked Kurdistan does not have the same allies as Azerbijan, Iran would not accept the Kurds to be independent. The Shia Azeris are much more integrated in Iran’s political system than the Sunni Kurds in Iran. Although it sometimes seems the Middle East is on the verge of disintegration, it cannot be compared to the explosion of the Soviet Union, which led to the birth of many ethnic nation-states in Europe and the Caucasus. But in the end, you cannot predict the future.