Kurds Face Setbacks Across the Middle East

Kurds Face Setbacks Across the Middle East by Yaroslav Trofimov – Wall Street Journal

With Islamic State on the wane, the West no longer needs Kurdish help—and the Kurds face a historic calamity once again, in part due to their own leaders’ mistakes.

In Turkey and Iraq, Kurdish achievements of recent years have already been rolled back. In Syria, too, Kurdish gains are confronting new perils as the region’s nation-states work together to squelch the possibility of an independent Kurdish homeland in the Middle East.

For a short moment over two years ago, many of the 30 million Kurds, one of the world’s largest ethnic groups without a state of their own, believed that history was finally on their side after decades of massacres, persecution, and war.

In Iraq, Turkey and Syria—three of the four nations (alongside Iran) that include the main Kurdish-populated territories—they had secured unprecedented power and influence.

The Kurdistan region in northern Iraq took advantage of the Iraqi army’s 2014 rout by Islamic State to seize the oil-rich area of Kirkuk, and essentially operated as an independent entity. Elections in Turkey had deprived the ruling AKP party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of a parliamentary majority and turned the main pro-Kurdish party, HDP, into the country’s third largest—with a real chance to influence national politics…

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