Israel and the Kurds

Friday, 29 August, 2014

The complexities and the absurdities of the Middle East are such that the very admission of a relationship might terminate that same relationship. Consider this: “Kurds are apprehensive of the reaction of the Iraqi government and fellow Iraqi citizens who might label them as traitors while Israel is cautious not to embarrass them or to appear to be inciting Kurds against the Iraqi government. Practically speaking, both parties have been reluctant to admit the existence of any kind of relations.” So writes Ofra Bengio in the most recent issue of the Middle East Quarterly. Bengio is a senior research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University and the author of The Kurds of Iraq: Building a State within a State. For the Kurds, the Islamic State (IS) is now an existential threat, but whether this will see the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) seeking public support from Israel depends on the region’s countless variables. Bengio writes:

“Looking to the near future, it appears that relations between Israel and the Kurds are doomed to continue in the shadows. However, should the KRG declare independence, this might change the picture on both sides. Jerusalem might be one of the first governments to recognize Kurdistan as it was with South Sudan. A Kurdish state would in turn like to have Israel’s support. After all, besides the affinity between the two nations, they have common interests in the continued existence of each other.”


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