What's good for the Kurds looks good for Israel

The Kurds in Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran are making progress towards statehood; Israel should be helping.

In several previous columns, I have pointed out that the current chaos in the Levant is creating conditions which may facilitate the fulfillment of the milennial Kurdish dream of a country of their own, which they have never had. Several recent developments have taken place in this ongoing process:

The Kurdish forces in Syria have driven out the Jihadist rebels in a pitched battle. As a result, they appear to have full control of the only oil-producing region of that country.

Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey has warned the Syrian Kurds not to establish relations with their Turkish counterparts. Erdogan, having lost the support of the secular elements of Turkish society, the Alevis and the Gulenists, wants nothing to interfere with his attempt to make an arrangement to end the decades-long Kurdish insurgency in southeastern Turkey.

Most importantly, Kurdish leaders from Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, recently met to discuss cooperation and coordination. This is the first time that such a meeting has taken place formally, and very significant is the participation of Iranian Kurds, which must be of great concern to Khamenei and the Mullahs.

For Israel, this development gives promise of being very positive. The Kurds are Muslims, but they are not Arabs, and they have had excellent informal relations with Israel. Syria and Iraq are, of course, destabilizing themselves, but destabilization of the current anti-Israeli regime in Ankara, and especially any problems that the Iranian regime may have because of the Kurdish resurgence, can only be for the good.

Is there anything Israel can and should do to encourage this development? Certainly informal contacts should continue and offers of commercial and technological support should be made, if they aren't already.

Any independent Kurdistan would be landlocked, whether it covered all the Kurdish areas or only some. The use of the Israeli port of Haifa would be of great value to such an entity, as it is to Jordan now.

There are so many opportunities arising in the region as a result of the widespread instability, it is truly a shame that time, effort and resources apparently must be devoted to the useless, and indeed counter-productive, Israeli-Palestinian "talks". Perhaps Mr. Abbas and his cohorts will solve that problem by refusing to negotiate.


Norman A. Bailey, Ph.D., is Adjunct Professor of Economic Statecraft at The Institute of World Politics, Washington, DC, and a researcher at the Center for National Security Studies, University of Haifa.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 1, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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