ISIS' latest surge into Mosul and the surrounding Sunni towns towards Baghdad has not only divided Iraq into three parts, but has also brought the Middle East onto the brink of sectarian war.
The fact that Syria is also de facto divided into four parts only means that the borders drawn by the First World War are no longer relevant, a new political map is being drawn in the Middle East.
It is without a doubt that Iraq's inability to form a consistent administration has supplied ISIS with an ideal platform. In this regard, the irreconcilable relationship between the administrations of Baghdad and Arbil, coupled with the Maliki administration's insistence on excluding the Sunni Arabs from power has, in effect, pushed these people into the arms of ISIS. Therefore, the Maliki administration has no right to blame anyone else for these developments.
It is well known that ISIS was formed in the aftermath of the toppling of Saddam Hussein after the USA's intervention in 2003. Although ISIS was constructed as the arm of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, it has always internalised the nationalistic characteristics of the Ba'ath party. While fighting against the USA, ISIS received support from Iran, Syria and Turkey along with other Arab states. It is therefore wrong to define ISIS as an organisation that does not have popular backing in the region.
After the internal conflicts began in Syria in 2011, ISIS began to show itself in Syria. Here, its defining characteristics were its aggression and intolerance. Especially after 2013, ISIS began to attack Kurds in Rojava. During this time, ISIS distanced itself from Al-Qaeda's arm in Syria — Al Nusra — and was receiving all sorts of support from the AKP across the border.
Now, everyone is discussing ISIS' latest surge in Iraq and trying to understand who is supporting this effort. Currently, both the KDP's and AKP's stances seem accommodationist to say the least. Both America and Israel do not seem overly worried by these developments. There are even those that are arguing that it was America and Israel that prompted these actions from ISIS.
It seems, however, that ISIS has solved some of the problems that no one was able to solve. For example, the territorial dispute between Baghdad and Arbil has largely been solved. Cities such as Kirkuk and Xanaqin have been added to the Kurdistan Regional Government. And the Sunni Arabs that were excluded from the administration are once again gaining power.
As I said, some say that Israel and the USA are behind this plot. As a result of ISIS' attacks, Israel and the USA have 'solved' some of Iraq's underlying problems and have once again narrowed the Maliki administration and largely have placed it under their control. However, this time there is a Sunni Arab state emerging in the middle of Iraq and Syria under the control of ISIS. If this does become a new state in the region, it will not be less dangerous than Iraq and Syria for Israel.
The question arises, how and through who are the USA and Israel going to control this new threat? This is the most pressing question at the moment. The first people to come to mind are the Kurds; many circles are already voicing this. Especially the success of the Kurds in Rojava against ISIS seems to strengthen this viewpoint as so far it seems only the Kurds are capable of doing this.
In short, a comprehensive war between the Kurds and ISIS is on the horizon. It is expressed that anti-ISIS forces such as Iran will promote and provoke this conflict. This situation is discomforting to Kurdish society and all Kurdish political institutions. Especially the fact that ISIS includes all Sunni land into its political program accentuates this discomfort.
There are various plans and scenarios that are going around. Especially the fact that ISIS militants and KDP Peshmergas have not been engaged in any fighting and the fact that the KDP practically handed over the Kurdish regions of Mosul to ISIS seem interesting to say the least. Some say that this is due to an agreement between ISIS and the KDP. It is also being said that through this, the KDP is trying to take over the Jazeera region of Rojava and declare a new state.
It is clear that the KDP's ambitions towards Rojava will be dangerous for the Kurds. It is also clear that those that want the Kurds and ISIS to fight will not allow for the KDP to apply its own plans, rather these forces will want to use the KDP for their own interests. The KDP's hegemonic ambitions vis-a-vis Rojava and its hope to declare a new state opens to door to these forces to meddle.
Especially the USA and Israel may want to use the KDP in this sense. They may hope for KDP to weaken ISIS and subsequently support the KDP's push for a separate state. Also, Turkey may want to use the KDP to control ISIS and use it against the PKK therefore also supporting its push for statehood. Iran may also support this in return for KDP fighting against ISIS.
It goes without saying that any prolonged conflict with ISIS is dangerous for the Kurds. This conflict will not serve the interests of the Kurds, rather it will only serve the interests of global and regional hegemonic powers. Therefore, the KDP should refrain from these policies and the Kurdish people should be aware of what is going on.
On the other hand, we have the example of Rojava Kurdistan and its style of resistance against ISIS. This method is grounded on Kurdish unity and a joint democratic future with neighbouring peoples. In this regard, the Jazeera canton — with its joint Kurdish-Arab-Assyrian administration — is an example for the region. This model is predicated on the Kurdish people's leader Abdullah Ocalan's model of democratic autonomy.
Our leader Abdullah Ocalan is especially developing this model for Northern Kurdistan and for the democratisation of Turkey. By implementing democratic autonomy and democratising Turkey, Ocalan wants to solve the Kurdish question. This model will benefit Turkey and the Kurds, and will also be the only way to prevent a sectarian war in the region.
In conclusion, there are three main features of an independent Kurdish stance in the face of the historical developments in the region. The first is a democratic unity among the Kurds; the second is a democratic unity between the Kurds and their neighbouring peoples; and the third, is to resist against all fascist-colonialist aggressions, including ISIS. This stance will benefit the Kurdish people and all other peoples in the region.
Duran Kalkan - Executive Committee Member of the PKK