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Kurdish question or sultanistic dreams?

Iraqi Kurdistan is experiencing social, political and cultural fragmentation — seasonal nationalist rhetoric of Kurdish independence do not offer long-term strategic solutions.

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By Mariwan Wria Kanie

In Iraqi Kurdistan things are falling apart; political, societal and cultural co-existence. All aspects of social, political and cultural life are experiencing a radical fragmentation and localization. The ‘seasonal’ nationalist’s rhetoric of Kurdish independence have neither been able to conceal the above-mentioned fragmentation nor been able to offer any long-term strategic vision of going beyond the ‘politics of the local’.

Unfortunately, there is not a single institution in the Kurdistan Region, which might have transcended the borders of narrow ambitions of political parties, some politicized families and few political figures who dominate the Kurdish politics. From military and security institutions to civil agencies within KRG’s administrations, government and non-governmental organizations, economy, media, all have been deeply monopolized by the ruling parties or worse by one wing or fraction within the ruling parties: Kurdistan Democratic Party, KDP, and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, PUK.

The Kurdistan Region, indeed, has almost become a set of disconnected political islands each with its own structure that can not be integrated into a national whole, of course due to the lack of political will to develop national structures and reintegrating the different pieces into national whole.

This fragmentation makes Kurdistan Region vulnerable to outside threats, ISIS as such. The fragile status of KRG’s institutions and its “feudal” structure of power is a fruitful soil for political intervention of regional powers: Turkey and Iran especially. The dominant political families In Kurdistan Region are engaging deeper and deeper in regional networks of political and militarily conflicts with megalomaniac imperialistic ambitions to rule the whole region.

To name only a part of the dangerous events during the last period: the bitter rivalry of the last months regarding reaching a unanimous agreement on a Governor to Suleimaniya Province, what KDP did on the same matter in Erbil and Duhok and the way this party show its hunger to monopolizing the whole power.

The way in which the share of Kurdistan Region in power in Baghdad have been distributed. The lack of will to defend the religious minorities who become an easy target for a genocidal ISIS. The bitter conflict over Kirkuk without a strategy that can point to a reasonable solution. Tribally controlling all regional and international relations the KRG has with the outside world. The internal conflicts within the different wings of PUK and rapid and continuous changes of the PUK to a KDP like model, becoming more and more a monarchist party.

All of these dangerous local political rivalries are interconnected to, on the one hand, the feudal ambitions of dominant political families and ruling elite, and on the other hand,  to the conflicts among regional powers and the ambitions of neighboring countries to dominate the region.

The division of former opposition parties and their inability to reach an agreement on a simple matter as reasonably dividing their share in power in the governorate of Suleimaniya, makes the situation less and less hopeful.

Besides all of this the new ‘cold war’ between KDP and PUK and the mass mobilization of the KDP media to prepare the ground for a future (military) confrontation between the KDP and the PKK over differences and rivalries in Rojava, clearly tells us that there is nothing left that could be called the “Kurdish Question”. What do exist are feudal political rivalries, familial and individual mega-ambitions and by the oil stimulated.

*Mariwan Wria Kanie is an assistant professor at the University of Amsterdam. He is the co-fonder of Rahand group, an intellectual group focused on socio-political issues of Kurdish society.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Kurdish Policy Foundation.


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