Anadolu Agency quotes Rafik Hariri Center Resident Fellow Faysal Itani on the possibility of a Kurdish state independent of Iraq, given recent action by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant:

Faysal Itani, a fellow with the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington, said that current developments place Kurds “well on their way” to an independent state. Still, the Sunni-Shia divide within the country poses complex questions.

“I don’t see anyone formally dividing that. Who would do it? How? By what right and by what agency? A de facto division, however, is arguably already underway,” he said.

But changes to Iraq’s borders will likely result in further bloodshed as parties war for territory and resources, and might prompt U.S. involvement to protect allies and interests, said Itani.

“Once you begin revising borders, you open up a Pandora’s Box of competing claims, struggle over resources and territory, motives for ethnic cleansing, and more conflict,” he said.


“None of these neighbors would be pleased with a partition in Iraq. They have their own multi-sectarian populations and are terrified of the idea of territorial and sectarian fragmentation,” said Itani.

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