One of the most important hopeful and positive developments in the modern Middle East, at least since the establishment of Israel, is the emergence of a de facto Kurdish political entity.

This development – not the silly idea of an “Arab spring/awakening,” or the establishment of another Arab Palestinian state – will change geopolitics in the coming decades.

The area of Kurdish control stretches from the Iraq-Iran border to Syria and is divided between the Iraqi Kurds of the Kurdish Democratic Party and the Syrian Kurds of the rival, PKK-affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD). A Kurdish state might also include other Kurdish areas, like those Turkey.

A strong Kurdish state with democratic institutions will be a stabilizing factor in the entire region. Dividing Syria along ethnic/ religious lines (Kurds/Sunnis/Alawites) will give each group defensible boundaries and alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Syria, at least temporarily. In this way, an independent Kurdish state will help contain, reduce and perhaps end the bloodshed there. Ditto Iraq. Allowing Kurds in Turkey self-determination, recognition and independence serves Turkish as well as international interests; resources can be redirected to building a strong Turkish nation.

Then, a fresh water pipeline from south-eastern Turkey – via a Kurdish republic – to supply the vast uninhabited deserts of eastern Jordan and western Iraq would create an oasis. This will provide food and jobs for millions of Arabs and allow the region to flourish in partnership with neighboring states. Such a regional plan will create an economic basis for political and economic stability and development.

A strong Kurdish state will be a bulwark against Iranian threats. It will help contain Russia in the Black/Caspian Sea region and the Taliban in Afghanistan. It will release Europe from its dependence on Russian energy sources. It will be a force against Muslim extremists – jihadists, Islamists, Muslim Brothers, etc.

As an enlightened democracy, a Kurdish republic will be a model for other countries in the region and help create real peace and progress in the Middle East.

This is a humanitarian, rather than a political solution. If you think this plan is naïve or impractical, just consider the lack of any viable alternatives.

The author is a PhD historian, writer and journalist. His collection of short stories, As far as the eye can see, will be published in September by the New English Review Press.

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