Skip to main content

Can Iraqi Kurds bank on Turkey?

Iraqi Kurdish leaders have been openly talking about independence, but their security situation is precarious, after the fall of Mosul to ISIS militants.
Iraqi Kurdish men chat  on a street in the Kurdish town of Halabja, near Sulaimaniya, 260 km (160 miles) northeast of Baghdad, February 1, 2014. Picture taken February 1, 2014. To match IRAQ-KURDS/SYRIA   REUTERS/Yahya Ahmad (IRAQ - Tags: SOCIETY POLITICS CONFLICT) - RTX1877X

ERBIL, Iraq — “Before Mosul and after Mosul.” Iraqi Kurdish leaders have taken turns repeating this mantra after capturing vast swaths of disputed territories, including their “Jerusalem,” the oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

Their message is clear. After the dramatic fall of Mosul to Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) fighters, Iraq cannot be glued back together again. Nechirvan Barzani, the prime minister of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), put it to the BBC like this: “I think it will be very difficult for [the] situation to go back as before. I don’t think it [Iraq] can stay together again.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.