Just a few months ago, it appeared that the Kurds of Iraq and Syria were the biggest winners in the war against the Islamic State. Bolstered by alliances with the very Western powers that had once betrayed and divided them, they dared to dream that they were on the verge of undoing what they perceived as a historic wrong, when geopolitical maneuvering denied them a state following the end of World War I.
Yet, instead of witnessing the creation of an independent homeland, the Kurds have suffered a major setback. As the military campaign against the Islamic State winds down, the United States and its allies’ enthusiasm for using the Kurds as their proxies against the jihadi organization has not translated into long-term military or diplomatic backing and certainly not into support for statehood.… Seguir leyendo »
Since the Islamic State began seizing significant amounts of territory in northern Syria and Iraq, policy makers and analysts have focused primarily on the question of whether America should arm the Kurds to fight the jihadi group.
But this debate overlooks a key flaw in America’s Kurdish policy: while military support for the Kurds in Iraq and Syria has increased, the development of a corresponding political road map to deal with Kurdish entities in the region has lagged behind. Washington’s exclusive focus on enabling the Kurds to fight the Islamic State risks creating new problems that could plague Iraq and Syria for much longer.… Seguir leyendo »
The West, believing that Iraq’s Kurdish forces, known as the peshmerga, are its best hope in Iraq, has been sending them millions of dollars in weapons and training. But because of the way in which those weapons have been channeled to the Kurds, the assistance is undermining the U.S.-led campaign and threatening to undo a decade of progress in turning the peshmerga into a professional force. Ultimately, it will render the Kurds a less effective partner.
The military aid is uncoordinated, unbalanced, unconditional, and unmonitored. Because of the lack of oversight on weapons’ allocation, and because the weapons come with no strings attached, officials can direct them to their own affiliated peshmerga forces, empowering loyalist officers and entangling the rest of the officer corps in petty rivalries.… Seguir leyendo »
Loin de la guerre contre l’organisation de l’État islamique (EI), un autre conflit se joue au sein de la société kurde d’Irak. Cette dernière est divisée par une ligne générationnelle tracée par l’histoire du Kurdistan : alors que les plus de cinquante ans ont assisté à la création progressive d’une région autonome ou ont fait leurs armes dans la résistance contre le régime de Saddam Hussein (1979-2003), la majorité des jeunes nés dans les années 1990 a grandi, s’éduque et travaille au sein d’un Kurdistan déjà semi-souverain. Ils ne connaissent qu’une réalité structurée par leurs parents et coupée de l’extérieur, notamment du reste de l’Irak.… Seguir leyendo »
Here is a new Iraqi paradox: whatever progress the Shi’ite Muslim-dominated Baghdad government makes against jihadi insurgents occupying large swathes of north-western Iraq, it is simultaneously undermining what is left of the Iraqi state, whose frailty and malfunctions created the environment in which jihadism was able to surge in the first place.
The dereliction of the Iraqi state was already powerfully illustrated by the takeover of one-third of Iraq, including the city of Mosul, by Islamic State (also known as ISIL or ISIS) in June 2014. Security forces proved rotten to the core despite a decade of training and expansion. Local Sunni Arab elites were revealed to have turned their backs on their constituencies in favor of a corrupt, corrosive relationship with authorities in Baghdad.… Seguir leyendo »