The conference of the Kurds of Syria is once again a new reminder of the increasing role of Arbil in the region and its politics but with that comes another burden or risk. In the turbulent Middle East, if you become a source of headache for anyone, they too can become a source of headache for you.
While big changes are taking place in the region, the Kurds seem to be relatively more stable than other nations. But they are still vulnerable to being harmed by external factors. The challenge is huge for the Kurds of Iraq. On one hand they seem to be doing hostile acts like hosting a conference for the Kurds of Syria or promissing to hold a pan-Kurdish conference.
Although a few important messages were sent President Barzani to the region that is undergoing major changes or waiting for changes to happen. The message was one of no violence and unity with no partisan politics.
In being ready for all the eventualities in the region, the Kurds are taking risks at the same time. They are exposed to those who do not want to see a strong Kurdish region. They will naturally work on destabilizing the region and undermine the Kurdish role in the middle east.
The Kurds of Iraq will have to strike an important balance between sending the message to all the neighbours that they are a factor of stability and not trouble and at the same time the old middle east is gone forever and they will not accept being second class citizens again.
Today the Kurds in the middle east are in various positions and stages of their struggle for liberation and self determination. The key element for all of this here is that they do not fall into the Arab style dream of unity of the homeland and risking everything for unrealistic goals and not be expected by others to do so.
The incremental approach is key for guaranteeing the appropriate and realistic status for the Kurds. While work needs to be done to guarantee a good status for the Kurds of Syria today, the current status of Iraqi Kurdistan should not put at risk. The same should be adopted for the status of the Kurds of Turkey and Iran. They should be more eager to keep what we have in Iraqi Kurdistan and then work for more. Loss of this is a loss for all.
Having said all of this, the region and arbil will still come under attack by those who are clinging on to the old middle east. The words of ahmadinejad yesterday were very clear that those who do not support the Syrian regime will face the same fate.
The message was partly for Arbil who needs to be internally strong in facing all of these external threats and much of lies with an agreement with the opposition over these issues and also with the PKK who seems to be competing with arbil over the leadership of the Kurds in general.
At any event, putting the kurdish house in order is key to being ready for any eventuality