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The Iraqi Kurdish response to the 'Islamic State': Political leverage in times of crisis

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posted on 01.01.2017, 00:00 authored by Benjamin IsakhanBenjamin Isakhan
This chapter focuses on the Iraqi Kurdish response to the rapid and devastating advance of ISIS. Of course, the Iraqi Kurdish response to the ISIS advance has been a multifaceted, complex, and evolving one that includes military strategy, pragmatic politics, and aspirations of independence. Leaving aside the fact that the ISIS advance has granted the Iraqi Kurds unprecedented access to Iraq’s rich oil reserves and the fact that the initial Kurdish reaction was to ramp up their rhetoric toward complete secession from Iraq, this chapter focuses on two further dimensions of the Iraqi Kurdish response. Firstly, it documents the Iraqi Kurdish seizure of the so-called “disputed territories,” especially Kirkuk, and their stated intent to hold a referendum on the future of these regions (effectively to force a resolution to Article 140 of the constitution). Secondly, the chapter documents the Iraqi Kurdish use of the ISIS advance as leverage to enhance Kurdish relations dramatically with the US and Europe via direct military support (including airstrikes and weapons supply) and to become the key launchpad in the fight against ISIS planned for 2015. The chapter concludes by briefly assessing the efficacy and wisdom of the Kurdish strategy of leveraging the ISIS onslaught to advance their own interests.

History

Title of book

The Kurdish question revisited

Chapter number

29

Pagination

437 - 448

Publisher

Hurst

Place of publication

London, Eng

ISBN-13

9781849045919

ISBN-10

1849045623

Language

eng

Publication classification

B1 Book chapter

Copyright notice

2017, Hurst

Extent

35

Editor/Contributor(s)

G Stansfield, M Shareef

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