I have been arguing since 2005 that propping up the Iraqi state was never a good idea. ‘Nation building’ was always a preposterous delusion, as if Iraq and Afghanistan could be turned into an Islamic version of Arkansas, if only enough schools were built and wells were dug. Ludicrous.
Also if an independent Kurdistan gives Syria, Turkey and Iran the vapours, I fail to see why from a western perspective that should change anything at all. I mean seriously, well ain’t that too damn bad. Moreover, there already is an independent Kurdistan in all but name, and it has the only viable army in Iraq, which now even controls Kirkuk. Game, Set and Match Erbil… and if Baghdad thinks that is ever going to change, well if they reckon ISIS is rough, good luck taking on the Peshmerga. Even politically, it is clear the Kurdish leaders have consistently outclassed the other players, be they Arabs, Turks or Iranians.
It is by no means clear the current festivities are inevitably heading somewhere undesirable, as it might end up producing something far more stable than a unitary Iraqi state. Yes, ISIS must not be allowed to take over all of Iraq’s oil producing areas, but frankly it is hard to see how they would manage to take and hold anything in the areas that are not overwhelmingly Sunni… they sure as hell will not be taking Kirkuk this side of hell freezing over, that much seems certain.