From Shattered Iraq, Ancient “Land of Kurds” Will Rise

A 1074 map of Arḍ al-Akrād, the ancient land of Kurds

The fracturing of Iraq will mean the birth of Kurdistan, and another revision of borders around  the ancient land of the Kurds, writes International Affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe. An excerpt of his new column:

The question is not whether there will be an independent Kurdistan. It’s been lurking in the underbrush since 1991. The question is how big the country will get.

The 40 million Kurds are the world’s most numerous distinct people without a country of their own. Their homeland is partitioned among Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, and while most are Sunni Muslims, there are significant religious minorities of Zaroastrians, Christians and Jews.

But as Iraq stumbles towards shattering into its ethnic and religious parts, one solid result is the emergence of a new nation in the majority Kurdish north of the country.

Massoud Barzani, President of what is already recognized by the faltering Baghdad government as an autonomous region, said on Thursday that it is time for the 6.5 million Iraqi Kurds to hold a referendum on formal independence. The plebiscite could be held within two months and there is little doubt the Kurds will vote overwhelmingly for recognized independence. … read more (Subscription required*)

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Nation of Kurdistan springs from Arab chaos

Jonathan Manthorpe’s columnist page is here. 


Bin Laden’s disciples move to realize his dream, by Jonathan Manthorpe on Facts and Opinions, June, 2014
Iraq on our Mind, blog post about recent developments and other reading, on Facts and Opinions, June, 2014
Let Nature’s Geography Trump Westphalian View, by Chris Wood on Facts and Opinions, June, 2014
The Cold War 2.0, by Jim McNiven on Facts and Opinions, June, 2014
Cutting Syria’s Gordian knot no simple featby Jonathan Manthorpe on Facts and Opinions, August, 2013


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