Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Long Overdue: Kurdish Independence

We have done our best to be partners in Iraq; it has not worked. We believe this is the right time to allow the people of Kurdistan to exercise their democratic right, a right that people across the world have, to express their self-determination."
"As a state that has its own province of Quebec that has exercised the right to hold a referendum, I think it would be difficult for Canada to deny that right to the people of Kurdistan. [Even though Iraq's situation is] a different kettle of fish."
"Ottawa would never think to cut off the medicine supply to one of its provinces, even if it was a province that was a thorn in its side. We're trying to have an amicable divorce from Iraq. But this is not the same as Quebec having an amicable divorce from Canada."
Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, Kurdish diplomat, Washington
KRG President Barzani announced the decision over Twitter [File: Reuters]

There is no parallel that exists between the just right of Kurds to finally be able to establish their human right to declare a homeland of their own. What they are doing is simply on their own initiative because the international community has failed them, declaring that their ancient heritage, the geography that has always been their homeland, now be recognized formally, with secure boundaries and the expectation that their neighbours who have exploited and abused them, surrender their hold on land that is by historical right of possession, Kurdish.

Neither the British nor the French, both colonizers, were the original inhabitants of the land mass today known as Canada. Britain and France fought a war over which of the two would declare their control over Upper and Lower Canada. France, busy elsewhere, failed to concentrate on asserting its ownership, and Britain won that conflict, taking possession of the land mass that both had claimed. Britain was a generous winner, offering the French full recognition and freedom to practise their culture, their language as before, but under the aegis of British colonial possession. French Canada (Quebec) lacks the historical, legal, human rights cudgel at the core of Kurdish independence.

The Kurds have suffered dispossession, displacement, violence, humiliation and unending attacks where villages were gassed, people slaughtered, their animals and crops destroyed by the Iraqi government. Their security and human rights in Iran, Syria and Turkey were no less threatened and their persecution there too has been an intolerable humiliation for a proud and honourable people struggling to regain their Independence. It is due time. The September 25 referendum must be supported by the West, which in the first place created the problem, allotting Kurdish land elsewhere than to the Kurds.

Now, the Kurdistan Regional Government in Erbil is prepared to launch its legal right to seek a mandate from its people. Iraq's central Baghdad government seems to have no intention of making the official decision to acquiesce at long last in recognition of a just solution to an unjust situation, in agreeing to Kurdistan's full and final separation beyond autonomy to full sovereignty. Tensions, under the circumstances are taut; Kurdistan is determined and Iraq equally so.

Iraq proved itself unequal to the task any country faces of successfully defending itself against an invasion. A large swath of Iraq remains in the hands of a shrinking Islamic State caliphate. It is that part of its geography that Iraq's government should focus on entirely. And in recognition of the fact that without the Peshmerga forces meeting Islamic State militias in combat the geography still controlled by Baghdad would have shrunk even further, its government should prepare itself to admit the morality of surrendering to Kurdistan's destiny as a free and independent nation.

I am pleased to announce that the date for the independence referendum has been set for Monday, September 25, 2017http://www.presidency.krd/english/articledisplay.aspx?id=E8ZKw7evZVQ= 

As for Canada, it should summon the courage of its convictions that justice should prevail, and not cower in the shadow of other Western governments like the United States, sending up cautions about destabilization should Kurdish independence be challenged by conflict. If enough deserved support were to be expressed among those nations whom Kurds should be able to rely upon, the collective support could sway Iraq in favour of agreement.

That Iran in its great malevolence, Syria, in its noxiously destructive state, and Turkey in its pathological hatred for Kurds and their desire for independence witness the proceedings with clenched teeth and an assured reaction of dissent and violence is a given. But the Kurds have proven themselves resourceful, determined and impressively worthy of any and all support by the West and NATO countries (with the notable exception of Turkey). Rejection of Kurdish aspirations to national statehood would represent a surrender to negation of human rights.

There is more than enough of that in the United Nations where the worst human-rights abusers on the planet find their comfortable niches on various councils sitting in judgement on those nations of the world that respect human rights and just and lawful nationhood.

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