Middle-East embattled by; Super powers, Holy warriors, Sectarian rift, and emerging, extremist and terrorist organisation and in last the important and neglected one growing nationalism.

Middle-East, this summer has faced numerous and grisly battles and war. It has captivated the attention of the world because everyone is involved by hook or by crook. Let’s chalk out the fateful events of this summer.

Qatar diplomatic crisis

Change in line of succession in Saudi Arabia

Protest over security measures in Jerusalem

Syrian forces victory in Raqqa against ISIS

Famine in Yemen; Humanitarian crisis

Iran’s consolidation of Power in Middle-East

Trumps refusal of aid to Egypt over human rights concerns.

All these events eclipsed the Kurds. Neglected people got scant and waning attention from the world.

Kurds are the fourth largest ethnic group besides Arabs, Turks and Persians. They speak Indo-European language, pro-western, peaceful nation and live by the side of Shia,Sunni, and non-Muslims. They inhabit the mountainous areas of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey and around 15 to 20 Millions Kurds live in adjacent areas. By religion they are Sunni Muslim but they have different culture, traditions and customs. There is famous adage amongst Kurds “no one is loyal friend but mountains.”

History has been unkind to Kurds. In 1920, the Ottoman Empire fell resulting in the Treaty of Severs and formed the areas Iraq, Syria and Kuwait what they neglected was Kurdistan. British contradictory promises have always been a problem for the world like between India and Pakistan and Palestine issue. Kurds are trying to undo what League of Nations did to them under British pressure. Incorporation of Mosul to Iraq has been unhappy experience for the Kurds. These people have been the victims of marginalisation and persecution.

During the Iran-Iraq war, Kurds sided with Iran, and, as a result, faced the atrocities. The notorious Anfal campaign formulated by Saddam Hussein during Iran-Iraq war perished and brutally killed more than 100,000 people including children by using poisonous gases on them in Halabja. After few years Kurds were forces to driven out of Iraq en masses to Turkey when they surge against Saddam during gulf-crisis. The then US president Bush ordered Iraq not to fly any aircraft over Kurdish regions. Thus, protecting them and snubbing Iraqis.

The notorious Saadam again started campaign with the name “Arabization programme” intended to oust Kurds where they were predominated by changing the demographics of that area, the oil rich Kirkuk region which lies between the provinces of Erbil and Sulaymaniyah. He sought to alter Kirkuk’s demography permanently by moving Sunni Arabs in the region and pushing out Kurds. Like Kalabja, Kirkuk has become national symbol for Kurds. And, they proved it by defeating ISIS when Iraqi soldiers fled the battle-field.

Gradually, after facing atrocities again and again they Kurds formed state within a state.  In 1992, the Kurdistan National Parliament established the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Dohuk. They have their own parliament, presidency, ministers and an army. From the perspective of the Kurds, the Iraqi leadership in Baghdad is determined to keep the KRG weak.

There is also a rift going on in distribution of revenues as Kurds receive less amount of revenue on oil so they started selling oil without Baghdad’s permission and became so strong that at one point the US had to intervene for negotiation.

Kurds came in the line of fire when they fought gallantly against the ISIS in the Iraq and Syria and ousted the miltant group from the region. On the contrary, Iraqi and Syrian forces failed and fled the battlefield. Swarms of supplies have been sent to them by US, Russia, Germans and even Turkey. The reason for complete independence seems plausible and pragmatic now after they heroically defeated ISIS.

On Sept 25, a decisive referendum is going to take place in Kirkuk over “Kurdistan”. It has a substantial weight and has become imperative for Kurds to demand for a long and much needed state. Despite all this, international response has been meager to referendum.

Turkey: Turks are opposed to KRG independence because they are worried about Syrian Kurdish independence and they are currently engaged in a fight with the separatists of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a militant group. Yet Turkey is also the KRG’s largest investor, and Barzani’s KDP has developed strong ties to Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party.

Iran: The Iranians are opposed to the referendum for similar reasons as the Turks. They have their own Kurdish population that exists uneasily within the dominant Persian political and cultural lifestyle.

US: Uncle Sam does not want it because the ISIS is still active and referendum could bring instability across the region and ISIS could get advantage of the situation.

Iraq: They have denied it and stated it as “futile step”.

Let us see how the Kurds and other stakeholders react to it. Will they delay it or stick to it? A growing nationalism is hard to hamper.