Sunday, 19 August 2012

Kurdistan: The Next Flashpoint Between Turkey, Iraq, and the Syrian Revolt

Source: The Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs

The Turks, who have been at war with the PKK for decades, have been monitoring developments in Syria with increasing concern. Thus a columnist for the Turkish daily Hurriyet wrote in late July: “Only a week ago we had a 400-kilometer ‘Kurdish border.’ Now, 800 kilometers have been added to this.”1 The Turkish government has bluntly warned: “We will not allow a terrorist group to establish camps in northern Syria and threaten Turkey.”2 Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made clear that Turkey would take any step that is necessary against a terrorist presence in northern Syria.3

Turkish observers have commented that the geopolitics of the Middle East are now being reshaped as the emergence of a “Greater Kurdistan” is no longer a remote possibility, posing enormous challenges for all the states hosting large Kurdish populations: Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran.4 Kurdistan is a potential land bridge for many of the conflicts erupting in this part of the region. It provides a ground route for Iraqi Kurdistan to supply the Syrian Kurds as they seek greater autonomy from Damascus. But its use will depend on which power dominates the tri-border area between Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. This area could equally provide Iran with a corridor for moving supplies to its Syrian surrogates and even to Hizbullah in Lebanon. Perhaps this is why some commentators see Kurdistan as the new regional flashpoint in the Middle East.

An overview of the Kurds and Kurdistan will help put these latest events in context.

Read the full article Kurdistan: The Next Flashpoint Between Turkey, Iraq, and the Syrian Revolt

There is a good background briefing on the history of the Kurds in Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq at the end of the analysis.

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