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The challanges for independent Kurdistan [Interview with an expert]

9 Mins read

The issue of the independence of Kurdistan and the Kurdish people themselves has a very long history, the most important historical issues of which I have discussed at a meeting with the Kurdistan Region Representative in Poland (more here).

However in nowadays, international reshuffles and military operations in the Middle East mean that every country and nation wants to expand their influence and meaning. Expert on international security, candidate for the Iraqi Kurdistan parliament in 2018 – Mr. Rand Kawa – will describe the current situation in Kurdistan and how much the powers are involved in the issue of Kurdistan’s independence.

Historyczny ambasador:

What is the current political environment on the Kurdistan-Iraqi relations after the results of the referendum and what impact does it have on people living in Iraqi Kurdistan?

Rand Kawa:

Right behind September 25, 2017 (Referendum’s day) Kurdistan region just lost it’s Kirkuk and disputed area, which was, belongs to Kurdish region, all the strategy achievement of Kurdistan region government has been gone because of political party of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Nowadays both airport in Sulayamenyah and Erbil is halted. Iraq government is trying to get back the land port border with Iraq and Turkey.

Another way to say in other words Brett H. McGurk – American diplomat who was appointed by President Barack Obama on 23 October 2015  as Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL and New Generation movement  new generation party has asked former president of Kurdistan region to withdraw or postpone the referendum decision.

United States and United Nations announced that they won’t support referendum in Kurdish region because the priority is to fight ISIL and return back the IDP people to their home, as The UN Security Council has warned of the potentially destabilizing impact of a planned referendum on independence for the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The 15 member states said Monday’s non-binding vote could hinder efforts to counter so-called Islamic State (IS) and help displaced Iraqis return home. It called for “dialogue and compromise” between the Kurdistan government and the central government in Baghdad. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said the referendum is unconstitutional.

Kurds are the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East, but they have never obtained a permanent nation state. In Iraq, where they make up an estimated 15% to 20% of the population of 37 million, Kurds faced decades of repression before acquiring autonomy in 1991. They urged “all outstanding issues between the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to be resolved, in accordance with the provisions of the Iraqi constitution, through structured dialogue and compromise supported by the international community.

Historyczny ambasador:

The division of the Middle East by the European powers into spheres of influence began in 1916 through the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement, which was confirmed by the Treaty of Sévères. According to this Treaty, the Kingdom of Kurdistan was established in 1921. The Turks, however, did not agree to the terms of the Treaty of 1920 and led to its revision by starting war against Greece. The effectiveness of the combat operations resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, which initially divided the Kingdom of Kurdistan between Turkey, France and Great Britain, to be liquidated by the then hegemon (British Empire) in order to be able to dispose of huge oil deposits.

It can be said that today’s situation is still analogous. In which way the Kurds seek the belief of the Western powers to create a sovereign country for his nation? What is the optimal variant of negotiations to obtain independence by Kurdistan?

Rand Kawa:

The Kurds must have an independent nation, their land has been divided and stolen away. They will take it back, but for now KRG should provide salaries instead of making propaganda for independence, while millions Kurds are suffering because of the unpaid salary.

I have to be honest and clear that the role of KRG representative is that to white collar to high position person and they were divided the number of representative among political party.

What is the role of representative? The answer is clear while they will making a business for Kurdish leader and hidden the pot of money on behalf diplomacy case. One of point is that all of representative is reach and business man or son of business man close to them, you have never ever find a young diplomat to seeks the representative.

I would say clearly and shortly that independence won’t be exist under that spoiled system, KRG isn’t serving nations and Kurds, they are serving to their business and Kurdish enemies.

Historyczny ambasador:

In 2003, the Americans entered Iraq in order to “promote democracy”, and in fact they do it to consolidate their influence in region and to have an effective power-projection forces on the so-called the pentagon of the Middle East (Mediterranean Sea, The Red Sea, The Gulf of Aden, The Black Sea, Caspian Sea).

Did the Americans lead to the development of prosperity in Iraq from the perspective of time? What is the attitude of Iraq to American foreign policy and American business?

Rand Kawa:

After both wars in the Persian Gulf, the Americans supported the Kurds side. Thanks to American intervention, the American business has been developed and expanded in all aspects. Especially petroleum business while many American oil brands has refinery base in both of Iraq and Kurdistan region, but U.S has been fully support for one united Iraq and insisting on anti-terror process is a priority. However, a referendum organized in September was approved by Israel.

Historyczny ambasador:

After both wars in the Persian Gulf, the Americans opted the Kurds side. Thanks to American intervention, the Kurds have convergent interests in the region with the Americans and Israel (which wants to have more allies in the region).

Does the different position of the United States and their closest ally in the region mean the beginning of their own game of interests in the region by the United States?

Rand Kawa:

American were aware about the scenario of Kirkuk on October 16th, 2017 while the governor of Kirkur said that American informed him about the Peshmarga withdrawal against Hashd al-shaabi.

In my perspective is that U.S need a real clue to prove that Iranian militias has occupied Kirkur city by Hashd al-shaabi which is totally controlled by Iranian Army leader. Aftermath of that U.S and Coalition forces should be there to protect them.

Another idea is that Israel will liberate Kirkuk after the Liberation of Jerusalem. The process should be one by one, that’s why the main motto of PDK for now is “ we will have one freedom fight for Kurdistan flag”

Historyczny ambassador:

Russian successes in the Syrian war have contributed to the growing importance of Russian influence in the Middle East. Russian Federation is a key player in this operational area.

In October, the Russian energy potentate Rosneft, announced the acquisition of 60% of shares in the KAR operator, owner of the most important pipeline in Iraqi Kurdistan. Also, were signed agreements for infrastructure investments for the extraction of energy resources in the amount for 400 million USD by Rosneft in the Region. Rosneft had guaranteed a loan in the amount of 1.2 billion USD in change of crude. The agreement also involve the extension of gas and oil pipelines infrastructure.

What strategy, policy and vision does Iraqi Kurdistan have for cooperation with Russia?

Rand Kawa:

Russian oil major Rosneft will invest in gas pipelines in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan, expanding its commitment to the region ahead of an independence referendum to help it become a major exporter of gas to Turkey and Europe, Kurdistan has been exporting oil independently from Baghdad since 2014 and Kremlin-controlled Rosneft joined the list of buyers this year, lending the region hundreds of millions of dollars in loans guaranteed by future oil sales. In a meanwhile Russia is one of the EU’s largest suppliers of energy. In 2013, it accounted for 39% of its natural gas imports so Russia has been deprived EU to reach KRG’s natural gas because it would be another red card against by European Union.

Historyczny ambasador:

The Peshmerga undoubtedly fight every time when will appear the possibility for Kurdistan’s independence. Every time they was helping to the Western countries in the Middle East conflicts. They are a key force in fighting threats.

Is the Kurdish people and its elites tired of being cheated by the West? Possibilities of joining to Russia’s sphere of influence are considered from the Kurdistan government?

Rand Kawa:

No one appreciate Peshmarga’s role in anti-terrorism fight and liberation of Mosul, Kurdistan Government won’t join into Russia’s sphere, the only gate to obtain independence is US.

What geopolitical significance would emergence from appearing independent Kurdistan?

Kurdistan will be divided by the zone of influence of Russia and United States of America but the key players are Iran and Sunni Muslim. Kurds should include in the double game.

Historyczny ambasador:

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by Kurds to achieve in the near future? What steps should be taken in the long term to start talking seriously about autonomy during the dialogue with global powers?

Rand Kawa:

The biggest challenges will be liberation of Kirkuk and disputed area again and remains for good, global power know the reality about the Kurdish Independence, the real steps to obtain it is UNION.

Historyczny ambasador:

Is Erdogan using the Kurds in Syria as “weapon” to extend the territory of Turkey in Middle East? Is USA using the Kurdish case of fight into independence and arming Kurds as a narration to stay in Syria as they have done in Iraq war?

Rand Kawa:

On February 4, 2018, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım reiterated that the aim of operation “Olive Branch” was to eradicate what he called “a terror belt” along Turkey’s borders.

“It is an operation aimed at liberating Arabs, and our Kurdish and Turkmen brothers who have been groaning under oppression,” he told members of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP). But the reality is to banish Kurdish people in Syria most likely to occur Kurdish nation, which will link Kurdistan with Mediterranean Sea. “This is when things could really turn dangerous,” he said.

“I think it is unclear where things are moving from here. All eyes are on” said U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on his visit to Ankara.

We know who supported ISIS, and Who supply weapons, medical treatment, and who opened the pathway for international terrorist to join ISIS, so Kurds won’t give up and never leave their homeland.

Historyczny ambasador:

What is the situation of Christianity and Yezidi people (after the al-anfal operation) in nowadays?

Rand Kawa:

First of all this is a Facebook post of friend who living in Ankara ‘ Christian neighbor’ in Erbil “Today morning the exams started, and all the students were getting checked before entering the exam while checking one the guys they found a cross he was wearing and the teacher saw it and ripped it off him while knowing it was a cross! I can’t believe that people still think like this in a time were we need each other most. These kinds of behaviors are done by our teachers that are supposed to be our role models then who should we consider as role models.

The report of International Religious Freedom Report for 2016 United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor mentioned that Some Yezidi and Christian leaders reported continued harassment and abuses by Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Peshmerga and Asayish (internal security) forces. Media and government officials reported Peshmerga and Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) prevented displaced Sunni Arabs, Yezidi, Turkmen, and others from returning to their homes in some areas liberated from ISIS. Community leaders said that forced conversion was the de facto result of the national identity card law which mandated children with only one Muslim parent be listed as Muslim. The KRG suspended 14 Islamic preachers for what it said was defamation and incitement against religious minorities, I am always in a trouble because I do believe

The humanity, no racism, no conflict, no hates, no fear, and no anger, we are all human, that’s why I am receiving hate texts time to time, but a few days ago I have received a very dangerous kill threat message on my Facebook because I am supporting, donating, and making a charity campaign for minorities and other believers, and  when I am calling to police they looks like not so series to help as a human because there is no full salary for them now a days impact of economic crisis which is make them neglecting some ordinary people.

More you can read in US Iraq 2016 international religious freedom report.

Historyczny ambasador:

Do You recived some threats from that people?

As I mentioned all above about the situation because of Salafi Muslims, I had many threats via Social Media, unknown phone number, and text messages, a few days ago I have got a phone call from Asaysh “ Special force – unofficial” about my political attitude, while I am always against corruption, black-market, white-collar, and wasting budget, so they informed me as a last call to zip my mouth up, otherwise no one responsible for anything that will face me in a future.

I recently recived threat message as a request message on Facebook and the translation has attached below:

Salam Alekum – Muslim phrases for greeting translated as “Peace on you”

Listen you f***ing hypocrite and none beliver, we will kill you as a dog “animal” we know that you are helping, supporting to Christians and Yzidies, if you flight to Mars we we will find you and kill you, you are virus …etc.

Thank You for the interview.

Historyczny ambasador


Rand Kawa

I am a young diplomat and Youth Policy maker – Youth Ambassador, my specialization is International Security specialist, I have been a part of young diplomats in Poland as a Diplomat for a year, besides working as a head of delegation in United Nations for a year and participated over 45 international Summit, conference and workshop, in a middle of 2016 I have received my accomplishment certificate for Youth mobilization worker with Erasmus +, I have selected as a international observer for UNM in Canada and Representative of Iraq in Harvard. My strong experience and skills of political case and diplomacy made me a very competitive to be selected as a parliament candidate for 2018, and head of diplomacy department of NGM.

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