‘Kurdish model in Iraq can’t be duplicated elsewhere’


Pragmatic and realistic Kurds who understand the geopolitics of the region should enjoy their democratic rights within the countries they live, according to a top diplomat from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq. 

“The model that we have in Kurdistan cannot be duplicated in Turkey, Syria or Iran,” said Safeen Dizayee, the head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations, during an event Wednesday at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Dizayee said Kurds in Syria have “gone through many difficulties” in the past such as the denial of citizenship and demographic change in 1960s under the brutal, Arab nationalist Baathist regime of Hafez and then his son Bashar al-Assad.

Eloborating on KRG’S contacts with Kurdish groups in Syria at the onset of the Syrian civil war, he said the Erbil government advised Kurdish political parties in Syria, including the PYD (Democratic Union Party), to respect other Arab, Assyrian, Caldean, Turkmen and Armenian communities they live with and avoid any kind of “animosity.”

However, he added, the efforts to bring Kurdish groups together and the conferences in KRG’s capital, Erbil, and Dohuk, were not successful when “PYD began to operate by itself and not to allow other Kurdish political parties to operate in the region”.

He said the PYD recruited YPG (People’s Defense Units) as a fighting force and served the purpose of a “security company” of the U.S. in Syria.

“If you look at it from distance, YPG perhaps has been used as a security company to fight a specific enemy and now the job is done,” he said.

Dizayee said the “Kurdish issue has been somewhat lost” in Syria especially after Washington’s “lack of clarity” as to the future of the war-thorn country.

He said Turkey’s communication with PYD was open in the beginning of the Syrian conflict but “things started going in a different direction when PKK came to the scene and impose its influence on the Kurds of Syria.”

Dizayee added that the PKK’s domination of the PYD/YPG laid the groundwork for Turkey’s military operations given its long land border with Syria.

Recently, KRG’s Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani answered a question regarding Turkey’s airstrikes targeting PKK terrorists in Sinjar district of Mosul province, and said: “… those who want Turkey not to bomb the region should not give any excuses to Turkey.”

KRG was founded in 1992 in northern Iraq with political support from U.S., France and Britain.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU — has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.

Since 2016, Turkey launched three major cross-border military operations in northern Syria against YPG/PKK and Daesh/ISIS terror groups to secure its borders, protect locals and relocate millions of Syrian refugees back to their homeland.

Ankara reached two separate deals with Washington and Moscow last month, according to which it agreed to pause its operation to allow YPG/PKK terrorists to withdraw from the planned safe zone of Turkey on its border with Syria.,

Turkey wants to repatriate millions of Syrian refugees within its borders and in Europe to the Turkey-led safe zone free of terror threat.

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