The Kurdish Question: Will War Follow the Independence Referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan?
As the war against the Islamic State winds down, the region’s next conflict may already be shaping up. On September 25 2017, the Kurdistan region of Iraq held a unilateral referendum on Kurdish independence. This has sparked off dangerous escalations in Iraq that have already seen episodes of violence – most critically in the oil-prize city of Kirkuk.
The Kurdish question in Iraq is explosive because it draws in Turkey, Iran and Syria, which also have minority Kurdish populations. Will this be the beginning of another regional conflagration? Beyond Iraq, what are the considerations and calculations of regional and international players? Are there strong countervailing forces against war?
Panelists from the MEI and RSIS will each analyse the Kurdish question through Kurdish, Iraqi, Turkish and Iranian lenses. We will have robust discussion and audience participation on how the cut and thrust of competing interests may propel events going forward in Iraq and the region.
What is at stake? Can conflict be avoided? Can a sustainable framework for peace be found? What is to become of the Kurdish dream of statehood, and is there a positive role for the international community to play?
About the Speaker
Prof Engseng Ho, Director, NUS Middle East Institute
Assoc Professor Ahmed Hashim, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU
Dr Fanar Haddad, Senior Fellow, NUS Middle East Institute
Dr Serkan Yolacan, Research Associate, NUS Middle East Institute