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JSPES, Vol. 32, No. 3 (Fall 2007)
pp. 267-304

An Independent Kurdish State: Achievable or Merely a Kurdish Dream?

Aram Rafaat

University of South Australia

Despite the claim that Kurds intend to remain part of Iraq, it is highly unlikely that they will remain within the country’s borders. For the past 80 years or more, Iraq’s centralized system of control has failed to accommodate the Kurds, and it is apparent that federalism, too, is a form of government that will fail to satisfy them. The Kurdish goal of independence is apparent in the system they have developed within their state, and this could challenge any future plan for further integration back into Iraq. This goal is also evidenced in popular demands for independence in Kurdistan and in Kurdish politicians’ warnings that they will separate if violence, intolerance, or tyranny continue in Iraq. The nature of Iraq’s divided society constantly produces civil war and intolerance, and the reality is that it is a nation dominated by ethnic-nationalism and clashing ideologies and interests, but lacking a unifying national identity. Therefore, it is not Kurdish secession that causes continuing communal violence; it is the forced unification of people with different interests and ideologies.