Is Barzani the Savior of the Kurdish “Nation,” or is He in Fact its Enemy?
By LTC Sargis Sangari and Steven Weingartner
How can Barzani be considered the enemy of a future Kurdish State?
Concerning the SEP 25 referendum on Kurdish statehood: do the Kurdish people generally support his bid for statehood, or are they against him?
Before the referendum is voted on, can he guarantee that all the Sunni Muslim Kurdish political parties and organizations support his project?
If the referendum passes and he declares independence, will other countries in the region support him or will they oppose him?
If they oppose him, what can he offer them to gain their support?
Kurds throughout the region have fought against the countries in which they reside (Iran, Turkey, and Syria); if the KRG referendum passes, will they continue to fight?
Will Barzani support Kurds outside the KRG in their armed struggles, or will he sell them out to their respective governments to gain support for his Kurdistan?
In order to have an independent Kurdistan and to ensure his own survival, will Barzani be compelled to sell out his Kurdish brethren (the PKK in Turkey, the Pezhaak in Iran, and the YPG in Syria)?
Some 17 percent of Iraq’s budget is allocated to the KRG. If the Sunni Muslim Kurds in the KRG opt for statehood Iraq will cut this budget to the bone. Additionally, Iraq will undertake to block any attempt by the new Kurdish state to seize control of the Kirkuk oilfields and its revenues. Barzani may try to sell Kirkuk oil to his neighbors, but Iraq will work in collusion with prospective buyers to keep the price of oil low, a move that will hinder the Kurdish state’s economic growth and perhaps even wreck its economy.
Iraq will also cut off all military funding for the new Kurdish state. Further, Iraq will demand either the return of all military equipment it has provided to the Kurds or payment in kind. This will present Barzani with an insoluble dilemma, for he can afford to do neither and still maintain a viable military establishment. If he hands the equipment over to Iraq, where will he come up with the money to purchase new equipment? Who will provide it to him?
He may be able to obtain military aid from Israel. But the support of the Jewish state in arming the new Kurdish state will come at a very high cost, insofar as it earns him the enmity of all Arab nations.
If that happens, the Kurdish state is doomed from the start, and its downfall will be soon in coming. Accepting aid from Israel will result in a de facto alliance with the Jewish state. The Arab states – and, for that matter, ISIS – will not tolerate no such entity, not in the “middle of Islam.” “Kurdistan” must become an Islamic state, which means that there can be no rapprochement with Israel . . . unless Israel is willing to spearhead the creation of a new Islamic State in the Middle East, which seems unlikely.
LTC Sargis Sangari is the founder and CEO of NEC-SC. Steven Weingartner is NEC-SC’s Senior Editor.