Kurdistan is often thought of as a country but is actually loosely defined as a geo-political region populated by a majority of Kurdish people. Kurdistan encompasses the countries of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria, and many Kurds wish to form an independent and autonomous nation. It’s important to make sure you understand the geopolitical ramifications of how other parts of the world are affected.
We think it’s important to learn as much as possible about Kurdistan, and the relations within the region. Recognizing and figuring out what Kurdish people want, and how they live in the countries they are in, is crucially important. The Kurds have played an important role recently in helping the United States battle ISIS, so here are a few things you should know about Kurdistan.
It has a unique and difficult history
Kurdistan has had a very difficult and unique history over the years, and this has led it to the point that it is now. The region lies in the Middle East, and its borders overlap Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria. This has led to a big Kurdish influence in these countries, but, also, a lot of infighting and conflict. It is thought that they originated from a mix of Indo-European and Arabic tribes, but they didn’t really become a proper ethnic community before around 1918.
They are so close to independence
The Kurdish people have been controversially campaigning for their own independence for quite some time now. In fact, the Kurds are arguably the largest ethnic group in the world with no independent state of their own. In August 2017, a vote was held surrounding the issue of Kurdish independence, and votes were cast overwhelmingly in favor of independence. So, for the first time in their history, the Kurds could be on their way to becoming an independent nation.
Still not self-reliant
They may want independence, but it’s clear that Kurdistan still relies heavily on the governments of Turkey and Iraq. The main reason behind this is that they are not yet economically self-sufficient, in spite of the amount of oil they produce. So, it remains to be seen whether or not they will try to negotiate some sort of agreement with these nations if they do achieve independence.
They have a strong army
The Kurdish Army is often known as the peshmerga, and they have a reputation for being strong and fierce warriors. They are considered far more effective than the Iraqi Army, but they did struggle badly against ISIS before US intervention. The main problems seem to surround the fact that they don’t have great weapons, not to mention the political element. Whether their army would be strong enough to defend them as an independent nation is debatable.
So, now you know a little more about Kurdistan than you did before! So the next time it gets raised in conversation you will be able to get involved and be more knowledgeable! Kurdistan is a place seeking its own autonomy, and we will have to watch how events unfold surrounding potential independence.