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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL Novembre - Iraqi Kurdistan: The inconsistency of Barzani, the consternation of the PKK (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Tue, 28 Nov 2017 06:07:18 +0200

By organizing an independence referendum on 25 September, the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq (GRK), Massoud Barzani, thought he was making a good calculation. It was a pantalonnade that surprised even his rivals. ---- While his term had expired for two years and the protest was mounting, the referendum on independence could reassert the authority of Massoud Barzani without it having to go through the election box. The moment seemed well chosen: Da'esh was no longer threatening enough to ban a poll, but still enough to occupy the Iraqi army elsewhere. ---- The price to be paid would certainly be a diplomatic crisis carabinée with the partners of the GRK, all hostile to this adventure: the godfathers Turkish and US on the one hand, the government of Baghdad and his Iranian mentor on the other hand, not to mention the unanimous disapproval of Russia, the European Union, Saudi Arabia ... But for the Barzani Democratic Party of Kurdistan (KDP), the blow seemed playable. As the " yes " would be massive, he would appear as the champion of the Kurdish cause on the international scene. The opposition parties (Goran and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan), despite their reluctance on the referendum, could only bow to the vox populi and support Barzani in the face of adversity.

The referendum, on the other hand, was enough to trigger the ire of the Baghdad government because it did not focus exclusively on the independence of the KRG within the framework of the 2005 borders, but also on all the territories occupied by the Peshmerga in favor of the Iraqi army's disbandment against Daesh in the summer of 2014. And among these territories: the Sinjar and the big city of Kirkuk, the " Kurdish Jerusalem " ... and its oil fields.

Result of the races: 72 % of participation, 93 % of " yes ". As a result, retaliatory measures by Turkey, Iran and Iraq ensued. Then the threat of a joint military intervention. Bad surprise: the United States then displayed their neutrality. " The peshmerga are ready to fight, " the KDP and the PUK said with great enthusiasm.

The Iraqi army and the Chiiyi militias have chased the Sinjar peshmerga, and are putting pressure - for the moment without success - on the YBS-YJS militia. These created on the model of the YPG-YPJ of Syria, were formed by Yazidi survivors of the genocidal attempt of Daesh in the summer of 2014.
Only the PKK resisted Kirkuk

In this unprecedented configuration - the defiant KDP Ankara - the PKK, which seeks to expand its audience in Iraq, has offered its support. A thousand of her fighters and combatants are therefore " descended from the mountains " in a swarm of pick-ups to take a position on the outskirts of Kirkuk. It is with consternation that they saw the peshmerga decamp without warning, on October 16, from the beginning of the onslaught of the Iraqi army and Shiite militias ! After having resisted four hours with some units of the PUK disgusted by the abandonment of their leaders, the PKK forces withdrew.

As early as 19 October, as in a predicted scenario, the peshmerga had returned behind the KRG's 2005 borders, and Barzani was proposing talks. Independence, it is no longer a question.

Barzani is terribly weakened by this pantalonnade ; the PUK, more conciliatory with Baghdad and Tehran, should see its role strengthened in a Kurdistan well secured to the Iraqi state.

In these circumstances, it will be difficult for the PKK to prevent the return of Iraqi soldiers to Sinjar, where the Kurdish left has been established since 2014, including the Yezidi militias YBS-YJS. It is also proof for her that there is nothing to expect from the United States, who will always sacrifice their Kurdish " friends " to their alliance with Turkey. Ankara will not fail to record this signal, while in Syria the upcoming destruction of the caliphate will greatly diminish the value of the Kurdish left in the eyes of Washington.

William Davranche (AL Montreuil)

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