An Independent Kurdistan


It is difficult to understand the current administrationís continued insistence on a unified Iraq, given its defacto partition, and lack of consideration of a regional solution which appears to be not only particularly viable but also geostrategic in its import.Recognition of an independent Kurdistan and support of that nations consolidation of control over both the former Iraqi and Syrian territories which they occupy in a semi-autonomous fashion could support a number of US interests to include: providing critical support to Israel in the form of regional friends; providing and securing an alternate flow of energy exports denominated in dollars; countering Iranís influence by removal of the Shia land bridge to Lebanon, another direct benefit to our ally Israel; consolidating a unique coalition between the US, Turkey, Israel, and a new moderate Islamic state in the Middle East; gaining leverage to influence Iranian pursuit of nuclear weapons.


†††† Early on in the rapid unfolding of recent events in Iraq, Israel came out in favor of a recognition of what was a fact on the ground; the emergence of an independent Kurdistan.Netanyahu has officially stated Israelís support for such recognition.[1]Literally putting their money where their mouth is, Israel has supported such an outcome by buying oil exported by the current Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), to the chagrin of Maliki and the condemnation of the US.[2]Israelís motives are both understandable and justifiable.They have been politically isolated in a region where, from every side, their very existence is questioned and threatened.Their neighborhood is awash in violence and turmoil, much of which is either directly or indirectly of impact to their peace and even their survival as a nation state.The opportunity to acquire a moderate Muslim neighbor nation state ally which is supportive of their right to exist is almost too good to be true.As Israelís principle ally, it is inconceivable that the United States would not both recognize and support such a development.Add to the above the relatively obvious negative impacts to Iranís influence in the region, and recognition of an independent Kurdistan is a no brainer for Israel and her allies.


†††† As Alan Greenspan has publicly stated, ď'I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.Ē[3]This fact has neither changed nor become substantially less relevant.If anything, it has become more relevant.The industrializing nations continued growth remains dependent on energy access.Although alternatives to easily accessible oil such as is available in Iraq are coming online, an all of the above strategy to meeting global growth is still required.[4]The previous reference does not discount the advances in extractive technologies which have come on-line, nor the alternative energy discoveries these techniques have made available, rather it highlights the extreme cost differential for easily accessible crude such as is available in Iraq.[5]The world economy remains dependent on affordable energy access, and, as former vice president Dick Cheney has stated, Iraq remains the prize.[6]An independent Kurdistan offers another prize; an export route for cheap energy into the world markets.Already, such actualities have altered longstanding opposition to Kurdish independence, with Turkey now supporting an independent Kurdistan.[7]The KRG taking of Kirkuk makes this export route substantially more viable as an offset to world energy needs.In addition to energy access for world markets, the continuation of sales of this commodity in US dollars provides a much needed counterbalance to international moves to replace the dollar as the reserve currency[8], an eventuality which would be catastrophic for the US economy.[9]†††


†††† As noted in the reference above, our contest of wills with Iran is as much or more about a global economic order than their acquisition of a nuclear capability, although the later is certainly not to be discounted as a game changer.Iranís regional influence relies heavily on their ability to influence and support peoples and movements through an arc of influence spanning Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, the later their de facto armed border with Israel.[10]Although Iranian influence on Hezbollah may have lessened with the latterís taking on a life of itís own,[11] Iranian and Syrian influence and support remains an important factor.[12]Recent developments in Syria have exposed an opportunity to contribute to US goals in Syria as well as to significantly lessen Iranian regional influence and support to our allyís enemies.To realize this opportunity requires a shift in policy from support of the Syrian National coalition, a group within which radical Islamic factions are impossible to separate from moderates[13], to the Kurdish National Council, a truly moderate group which offers the added benefits of a relatively united and effective politico-military entity spanning both northern Iraq and northern Syria, with significant potential for international, pro-western support as well as significant on ground control, or near control, of important Syrian geography to include the Syrian headwaters of the Euphrates and the Syrian-Turkish border.


†††† This, as well, highlights the opportunity for a new coalition to secure US interests in the region; the coming together of a western free market democracy with Jewish and Islamic free market democracies composed of a new statehood for a peoples long denied this dream.The Kurdish people are the largest extant nation who have been denied statehood.They have patiently and dutifully worked within the system to perpetuate peace, both through political compromise and national preparedness.Their independence is a reality.The recognition of this reality is our opportunity for us to loose, the realization of which would have significant impacts on our ability to influence Iranís, and Russiaís, ambitions.††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††