Thursday, September 5, 2013

Can Oil Get The Kurds Independence?

By Namo Abdulla - for Rudaw

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - It is often said wars can make nations.  A notable example is the United Sates, which came into being as a result of the American Revolution of the last half of the 18th century.

Not all national struggles, however, have borne fruit. For nearly a century, the Kurds, estimated at 30 million people, have waged war after war for their liberation from repressive governments in Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria. They have never achieved statehood.

But over the past decade, Iraqi Kurds have made unprecedented advances in northern Iraq. The semiautonomous region enjoys a degree of stability and economic boom that remains a dream for most Iraqis. Baghdad has little control over how the Kurdistan Regional Government runs its domestic and even foreign affairs.

Kurdistan’s achievements are coincided with its discovery of significant oil fields that have turned the region into an economic hub for regional and global oil companies including Exxon-Mobil, Total, and Chevron. Turkish firms own the lion’s share of investment in Kurdistan.

So can oil get the Kurds an independent state?

Rudaw’s Namo Abdulla discusses this subject with:

- Howri Mansurbeg, Vice President of Soran University. Mr. Mansurbeg holds a PhD in petroleum engineering from Uppsala University.  He has worked for several international oil companies including

- Denise Natali, a prominent expert on Kurdish nationalism in Iraq and Turkey. Denise, currently teaching at the National Defense University, is the author of most recently Kurdish Quasi State.
- David Romano, a Professor of Middle East Politics at Missouri State University. He is joining us live via Skype. Mr. Romano is a weekly columnist for Rudaw and author of “The Kurdish Nationalist Movement.”
- Michael Gunter is a prominent writer on the Kurds in Iraq and Turkey. He has written several books including most recently “The Kurds Ascending.”