in erbil right now, a city more stable than ever, people are crunching their heads with ideas, theories and possible scenarios on the developments of the isis in iraq and the potential reasons, options and outcomes for kurdistan. here is an overview over the current considerations.
1) kurdistan made a deal with the isis
one of the theories rolling around the streets says that there has been a deal between the kurdish authorities and the isis, that in return for a non-involvement of the kurdish peshmerga, the isis would not attack kurdistan. just recently rudaw supported that theory, talkin about a newscarrier from the isis approaching the stationed peshmerga and asking for their neutrality. for the isis this step seems to make sense. heading for baghdad, they would not want to fight a war on two fronts. even with all the weaponry they were able to aquire from fleein iraqi forces it is doubtful they would be organized enough to lead a two front outright battle.
for the kurdish region however it is a choice between sodom and gomorrah. supporting the maliki government, something officials said they’d only consider when baghdad officially demanded their help – which in turn would lead to a future i crease in demands for concessions from the krg towarda baghdad; something that baghdad is not a favorited outlook for the federal government, which is probably also the reason why so far baghda has been silent in asking for help in the north and rather waits for the united states to give their big brother okay to accept iran’s support offer. plus, considering that baghdad recently refused payment of the peshmerga it would be quite a losing of the federal government’a face to now ask the same forces for help.
however, the other option, of supporting (which is very unlikely!) but even just playing neutral in the struggle and thereby giving the isis a fighting chance, also puts the krg at risk. as soon as maliki would get the emergency state passed in the parliament, it is possible for him to take even a non-involvement of the peshmerga as a colluding with the enemy and strike kurdistan from the air. even though there is also people disagreeing on that option or the likelyhood of it, everyone seems to agree that at this point anything is possible.
2) mosul asked for the isis to come in
another theory i came across yesterday even went a step further from realpolitik and argued that mosul had actually asked for the isis to come and liberate the city from the maliki run pressure on them. true, the shia government has not been very liberal in its rulings and particularly not towards their sunni subjects. even the word authoritarian has been used in the context. however at the same time it is quite drastical to assume that a baathist supported militia is the outright choice of alternative even for a politically and ideologically restrictive government. but then again, who knows how far desperation can run sometimes.
3) kurdistan will declare independence
seeing the first major incident happen that can test both the peshmerga forces and the integrity of the kurdish regional authority, it is not far fetched to consider a potential for the krg to play the game to their benefit. having tried again and again to gain formal independence and the internation recognition, their slow but continuous process of gaining more and more freedoms and concessions from the federal government, has reached a final potential in the collapsing of the state around it. the region itself however seems pretty much divided on the question of whether or not a declaration of independence will happen. the arguments speaking against it are the revenue sharing and turkey. the krg does profit quite a bit from the revenue sharing deal set in the iraqi constituion; on the othee hand these revenues have not been reliable and used aa political leavage from te federal government. at the same time, while turkey has increased their relations to the krg, the issue of independence is still very much contested for the simple reason of any recognition of kurdistan would lead to additional concessions necessary to the pkk or an increase in internal threat potential.
the arguments for it however are spoken to be the unique opportunity presenting itself for the kurdish region, and the movement of the peshmerga securing every kurdish populated town even outside the regional authority and within the contested areas are hinting towards a clear standpoint of kurdish territorial interests. the other thing is then the increasing change in mesia coverage that more and more shifted away from referring to the kurdish regional ‘authority’, or even the kri – kurdish region of iraq, clearly implying the federation status of the iraqi region dominated by kurdish authorities, to talking about ‘kurdistan’. this is interpreted as a final understanding of the international community to have reached a point where a differentiation between iraq and kurdistan is becoming standard.
in any case, it remains a potential that will very much depend on the next few weeks and their development.
whatever the theories circulating and whatever the level of facts or impressions in the arguments, erbil for now is still and stable and people cling to their tv and smartphone screens waiting on some news from the front lines. right now it is just the calmth on the military front that actually increases the felt tension of people, waiting for something to happen or not.