Iraqi expert told Sputnik, The Kurdistan independence vote scheduled for September 25 will play into Tel Aviv’s hands: an independent Kurdish state would allow Israel to solve its energy issues and weaken its regional rivals Iraq and Syria. For his part, a Syrian general revealed what steps the Syrian Army is taking to halt Kurdish separatism.
Israel has good reason to support the creation of an independent Kurdistan in the Middle East, Iraqi security expert Ahmed al-Sharifi told Sputnik Arabic: This project targets Damascus and Baghdad to guarantee water and energy supplies to Tel Aviv.
“Since 2005 [Benjamin] Netanyahu has spoken about the necessity of building an oil pipeline from [the Iraqi cities of] Kirkuk and Mosul to the Mediterranean Sea through Syria, to provide Israel with a constant source of energy,” al-Sharifi emphasized.
According to the expert, Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) was created “to replace the governments in Syria and Iraq with pro-American authorities.” It would also have played into the hand of Israel, he believes.
“It would have allowed Israel to maintain control over oil and water resources,” al-Sharifi suggested. “Additionally, [Tel Aviv] would have had loyal neighbors from the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean basin.”
However, due to the Syrians’ determination to resist terrorism the plan didn’t turn into reality, the expert pointed out, adding that “the Kurdish project” aimed at separating Syria and Iraq has recently emerged as a natural progression.
The expert called attention to Baghdad’s balanced response to the Iraqi Kurdistan initiative to gain independence: “People who make decisions in Baghdad are trying to be extremely diplomatic, trying to solve the problem through dialogue.”
He emphasized that the Iraqi government doesn’t want the problem of Kurdistan to become an international headache.
For his part, Syrian Brigade General Haisam Hassun told Sputnik, “The Syrian [Arab] Army has already begun to fight the Kurdish threat backed by American masterminds in the territory of Syria.”
“First of all, [the operation includes] the transfer of [Syrian government forces] to the east bank of the Euphrates River,” General Hassun explained. “In the near future [the SAA is going] to return the lands occupied by the Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF] under its control.”
In June, President of Iraqi Kurdistan Masoud Barzani set September 25 as the date for the independence referendum, prompting strong opposition from Baghdad as well as deep concerns among regional players that the creation of a new independent entity may trigger a domino effect across the Middle East.
However, in mid-August The Jerusalem Post reported, citing sources familiar with the matter, that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed a “positive attitude” toward a Kurdish state in the Kurdish areas of Iraq, calling the nation one of “brave, pro-Western people who share our [Israeli] values.”
A month later Netanyahu reiterated his support for Iraqi Kurdistan’s efforts to create its own state. Netanyahu’s statement came just weeks before the referendum in the Kurdistan Autonomous Region in Iraq. However, the Israeli prime minister’s remarks were not something new: He had already made similar statements in 2004 and 2014.
In contrast, Turkey and Iran have voiced their opposition to the creation of a sovereign state in the Kurdish-dominated region of Iraq, citing national security issues.
According to Reuters, in August, Turkish and Iranian military leaders held talks on the Syrian conflict and counter terrorism, as well as the issue of dealing with Kurdish militants in the Turkish-Iranian border region.
For its part, Damascus fears that the Syrian Kurds, who hold vast territories in northern Syria, may follow into Iraqi Kurdistan’s footsteps thus splitting the country up.
Commenting on the upcoming Iraqi Kurdistan independence vote Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday that Russia supports the territorial integrity of Middle Eastern countries.
The Kurds, who account for about 20 percent of the Iraqi population, have been seeking self-governance for decades. In 2005, Iraq’s Constitution recognized Kurdistan as an autonomous region run by the Kurdistan Regional Government.