Thursday, August 13, 2015

The PKK Must Cease Further Warfare

According to a recent report by "The Economist", war between the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Ankara has begun. This fight will lower the quality of life for the Kurds. The PKK must cease any further hostile actions against Ankara. Continuing the conflict wastes money and lives.

The PKK should fight Ankara only after the PKK has presented irrefutable evidence (to European Comission or to the German government) of 3 instances of the Turkish government's harming Kurdish lives. Allowing foreign fighters to travel across Turkey to enter Syria to join the Islamic State (IS) is one instance.

What should the PKK do after 3 such instances? The PKK should assassinate the key members (including President Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan) of the Turkish government. Assassinations are relatively clean operations that do not inconvenience ordinary Kurds or Turks. The European Commission would understand and accept such retaliation.

After the Iraqi government (under the leadership of the late Saddam Hussein) fired its chemical weapons at the Kurds in 1988, the proper solution for the Kurdish issue in the Middle East has been an independent Kurdish nation. However, realpolitik has prevented such a solution. Turkey is a NATO ally. Since Ankara opposes an independent Kurdistan, Washington also opposes it. Further, Washington has made a commitment to the Iraqi government to uphold the territorial integrity of Iraq. Supporting a Kurdish nation would undermine that commitment and would foster Iraq's entering the Iranian sphere of influence.

So, Washington steadfastly opposes an independent nation for the Kurds. The American government reinforces this negative message by, for example, refusing to directly give weapons to the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). It receives weapons from Washington only via the Iraqi government.

Yet, the Americans are not the only powerbrokers in the Middle East. Berlin is an important shaper of events there and has directly given weapons to the KRG.

Berlin should push aside the Americans and take steps to establish an independent Kurdistan from the territories of Iraq and Syria. Doing so does not violate the European principle that force must not be used to change the borders of nations. The Kurds would not be using force to create Kurdistan from the territories of 2 sovereign nations. Syria, as a viable nation, no longer exists. It has already been fragmented by civil war.

As for Iraq, it too is no longer a viable nation. To ensure that Iraq remains in this state, the KRG must refuse to sacrifice more Kurdish lives on defending the Iraqi political boundaries from IS. Preserving these borders is an American project, not a Kurdish one.

An independent Kurdistan is a proper moral objective and, given the current chaos in both Syria and Iraq, is now a practical objective. Berlin should support it. The PKK can help by taking the steps outlined at the start of this essay.

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