Emotional Bonds, Strategic Interests Link Israel and Iraqi Kurds

Emotional Bonds, Strategic Interests Link Israel and Iraqi Kurds
Kurdish President Massoud Barzani meets with U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr, Irbil, Iraq, Oct. 20, 2015 (U.S. Department of Defense photo).

It is no secret that the survival of Iraq within its current official borders is very much in doubt. The lightning-fast battlefield victories of the extremist Sunni group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)—which recently renamed itself the Islamic State and anointed itself as the new caliphate—have revived the old debate about a potential partition of the country. Iraq, a product of European colonial mapmaking, could split into three states: one Sunni, one Shiite and one Kurdish.

But as Iraqis fret and international observers debate the country’s future, Israelis across the political spectrum have come forth to declare their support for the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq.

The Kurdistan Regional Government in the north has already made a move toward statehood. Kurdish forces, the mythical peshmerga, captured the disputed city of Kirkuk, which Kurds calls “our Jerusalem,” as soon as ISIS took control of Mosul. Then, Massoud Barzani, president of the autonomous Kurdish region, announced plans for a referendum on independence, which could happen within months.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.