Kawa Hassan Comments on the Kurds in Iraq
Al Jazeera America spoke to Kawa Hassan, EWI's director of the Middle East and North Africa Program, about what this year holds for the Kurds in Iraq.
Hassan was quoted on Al Jazeera America on January 15.
Critics, however, accuse Barzani of mounting a renewed independence campaign precisely in order to distract attention from these more pressing internal questions. He has already used the fight against ISIL as justification for remaining in his post past his scheduled term limit, stoking a succession debate that briefly erupted into violence in August. As Kawa Hassan, the director of the Middle East and North Africa program at the EastWest Institute, put it, “Iraq is a failed state, but Kurdistan is also a failed region.”
Kurdistan watchers say there are too many wild cards to know for sure where this current sovereignty push is heading. Hassan, who is also a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, said he saw a “fragmented future” for the KRG. But he has learned at least one lesson from the past year and a half. “I don’t dare to make any predictions,” he said. “Who thought a couple of months back that Russia would enter the war in Syria? That Turkey would down a Russian jet? Who thought Saudi [Arabia] would start a war in Yemen or build a new coalition against [ISIL]?”
“The Middle East is changing so rapidly and so fundamentally,” he said. “And this provides an opportunity for the Kurds to try and push for independence or at least some kind of confederation between Kurdish areas. If they are united, they can capitalize on this opportunity.”
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