Today’s New York Times has an editorial about the Kurdish non-binding referendum on independence, and it urges that the Kurds should be much more patient than they already have been:
After yearning for independence for generations, Kurds in Iraq are scheduled to take a major step in that direction with a nonbinding referendum set for Sept. 25. The vote, expected to endorse a separate state, would be a mistake, increasing turmoil in a part of the world roiled by the fight against the Islamic State and further threatening Iraq’s territorial integrity. Postponement makes better sense.
What are the reasons? Among them:
Two families, the Barzanis and the Talabanis, control politics; corruption is widespread. Because of political infighting, Kurdistan’s parliament has not met since October 2015; the region’s president, Masoud Barzani, remains in office four years after his term ended. Declining oil prices and disputes with Iraq’s central government have left the Kurdistan government in debt. Kurdish authorities are accused of discriminating against minorities. Could Kurdistan make it as an independent state if Iraq and neighboring states stayed hostile to the idea?
…The referendum would heighten tensions, make it harder to stabilize Iraq and divert attention as the United States, Iraq and their partners work to defeat ISIS and rebuild Iraqi communities.
…[L]eaders in Turkey and Iran see a greater Kurdistan as a territorial threat. Turkey’s deputy prime minister recently warned that the Iraq vote would “contribute to instability.” Iraq’s prime minister said the vote would be “illegal” because it conflicts with Kurdistan’s constitutional commitments as part of Iraq’s federal government.
…A Kurdish breakaway is risky; without sufficient preparation, it would further marginalize Iraq’s Sunni minority, already disenfranchised by the Shiite majority and prey to Sunni extremists like ISIS.
Self-determination is an understandable goal. But just voting for independence is no guarantee that whatever state emerges will govern fairly or well. It does the Kurdish people little good if their leaders do not make a strong effort to first ensure that Kurdistan’s democratic institutions are functioning, the economy is strong and they have support from Iraq and other countries before striking out alone.
So the reasons to stop a non-binding referendum are:
* Corruption in the Kurdish government
* Infighting in the Kurdish government
* Kurdish president in office long after his term ended
* Kurdish authorities discriminate against minorities
* Neighboring states are hostile to the idea
* Tensions would be heightened. Neighbors say such a state would “contribute to instability.”
* Such a decision needs much more preparation
* An independent Kurdistan may not govern fairly or well.
* First, Kurds need to ensure democratic institutions are functioning, the economy is strong and they have support from their stronger neighbors.
Every single one of these reasons to be against an independent Kurdish state applies, to a far greater degree, to a Palestinian state.
But the New York Times for years has fully supported an independent Palestinian state, with its corrupt leaders, its political infighting, its terrible record at building democratic institutions, its disregard for human rights. Oh, and also its explicit support for terrorists and terrorism.
The New York Times cheered every step of the way for Palestinian independence, even through the second intifada and the Hamas/Fatah split. It never told Palestinians that they weren’t ready, or to wait some more until things get more peaceful, or anything like that. It never gave Israel veto power over a Palestinian state the way it gives Iraq and Turkey that power over Kurdistan.
And by any sane measure, the Kurds deserve a state more than Palestinians do.
Hypocirsy doesn’t even begin to describe this editorial.
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