Wednesday, June 28, 2017

To Every Thing There is a Season ....

"Should the [ISIL] threat recede, Baghdad will have to contend with a range of land disputes with the KRG, as well as strengthened Iraqi Kurdish forces, which have received training and equipment from coalition members, including Canada."
2015 briefing note to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ottawa

"This is exactly the time where we can punch above our weight, where we can be diplomatically useful."
"And obviously, with our past, we've definitely got experience with a referendum."
Bessma Momani, Middle East expert, University of Waterloo
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have been a key US ally in the fight against ISIL in Iraq [Reuters]
Currently, Canada has approximately 200 special forces in northern Iraq, including inside Mosul, supporting Kurdish-led forces who have constantly and uniquely in the geography demonstrated their capacity to battle the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists who had overrun at least a third of both Iraq and Syria in the past several years, and who are now existentially embattled. At least geographically, if certainly not their deadly ideology.

Canada's commitment both to Iraq and to the Kurds has expressed itself in the installation of a combat hospital, a helicopter detachment, a surveillance plane, and an air-to-air refuelliing aircraft. This obligation to give assistance by NATO-member countries in a joint responsibility to battle terrorism and help embattled nations restore their captured territory and above all rescue their people from hostile and abusive treatment is a human rights necessity.

Over the years that Canada has invested time, resources and personnel in training and supporting the Kurdish forces against the Islamofascist enemies of humankind, there has always been an awareness that the Kurds have aspirations beyond defeating Islamic State. The Kurds in their millions living in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria occupy land that has been theirs since antiquity. Their ancestral land was allotted as war spoils to the countries that now claim it as their sovereign territory.

Canada, as with other western nations, has been very well aware that once the immediate concerns over battling Islamic State have finally been settled, as they will be, though the jihadist terrorists will find other means to express their fundamentalist Islamist pathologies of hatred and death-lust, that the time would come when the Kurds would at long last openly declare their intention of no longer bowing to a foreign interloper on their land, claiming it as their own with full sovereign rights.

Kurdish officials anticipate a peaceful separation in Iraq when they declare themselves finally in control of their own land and nation. Clearly they have suffered far too long at the hands of Arab nationalists who refuse to view Kurds as equals and entitled to their historical human rights as a separate and sovereign entity nation. Baghdad will view the matter through the lens of its own perspective, asserting the right to permit semi-autonomy under the control of the Iraqi government.

But this will not and nor should it be expected to, satisfy the need of Kurds to finally achieve justice. There will be a September referendum for separation, despite Iraq declaring its intention to maintain its "territorial integrity". The military assistance given by western powers to the Kurds for the express purpose of defeating ISIL has aided Kurdish confidence and determination. The Peshmerga appreciated the weapons supplied to them and responded to the need for their use as no others did.

It is past due time for Kurdish independence. First Iraq, then Syria, followed by Turkey and Iran. It is inevitable and it is just, a recognition of Kurdish entitlement to the human rights owed them and forestalled for far too long by belligerent governments denying their aspirations and their historical territorial entitlements.

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