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No pasarán. Ils ne passeront pas. They shall not pass. Used in the battle of Verdun and later during the Spanish civil war at the siege of Madrid, the slogan is brought again to the public consciousness with the battle of Kobane.

The small Kurdish city in Syria has been a brilliant paradigm of efficient, democratic and honest community management. Half of all posts of the self-ruled city are held by women and ethnic and religious minorities jointly ran their affairs on the basis of a grassroots, commune-centered self-management system.

Kobane advocates the protection of the environment, the rights of women, children, minorities, and the underprivileged. It was a good example of an innovative social model till the arrival of the hordes of the Islamic State (IS).

The Kurds decided to defend their way of life, their values and their community, by all means. Entire families, including women and teenagers, are heroically defending their town with the help of US Air Force and its allies.

Having bravely resisted the terrorist’s advance during the last months, hundreds of massively outgunned Kurdish troops faced massacre as IS advanced deeper into the city.

Being outnumbered, outgunned and chased is not something new for the Kurds. Discriminated and harassed by the governments of Iraq, Syria and Turkey, the Kurds are one of the few nations on earth without a country.

The Kurds number around 30 million and is a non-Semitic, non-Turkish nation native to the Middle East. They believe to be descendants of ancient Persian tribes that predated the arrival of Turkish and Arab populations.

After the 1st World War, the west promised the (Turkish) Kurds autonomy in the Treaty of Sevres in 1920. The resistance against the treaty by the nationalists of Mustafa Kemal led to its re-negotiation in Lausanne in 1923, where the western states recognized the borders of the new Turkish republic. Consequently, the Kurds found themselves divided between Iraq, Syria, the new Turkish Republic and a small part in Iran.

Although the road to sovereignty for the Kurds is full of obstacles and there is an absence of a united Kurdish national movement; there are plenty of reasons why there is need of an independent and comprehensive Kurdish state:

1. There is urgent need of stability in the region

The rise and massacres of the Islamic State showed that western strategy failed in the Middle East. The Syrian civil war and the lack of sustainable solutions in Iraq after the fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein created a vacuum of power. An independent Kurdish state would stabilize the region as a strong and reliable ally of the west. US spent billions of dollars to train and arm the new Iraqi army. Nevertheless, it is not efficient yet. The Kurds are well organised, have discipline and they keep fighting.

2. It will form a zone of safety

An autonomous Kurdistan will form a buffer between troubled countries like Iraq and Syria. In addition, it will protect religious minorities in the area like Christians and Yezidis against the self-proclaimed caliphate. The new Kurdish state will have good relations with its neighboring countries, the EU and the US.

3. Kurds have the right to self-determination

The right to self-determination is a fundamental principle of international law, binding, as such. It is recognized and established in a number of international treaties. For instance, self-determination is protected in the United Nations Charter. It states that nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and fair equality of opportunity have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status, with no external interference.

4. Kurdistan has resources and finances

Kurdistan’s energy resources make it an important economic and strategic partner in the region. The Kurds are rich. They have the fifth largest oil reserve in the world. Other mineral resources are gold, copper, iron, limestone, marble and zinc. That means that they have the capacity to take care of their own and create prosperity for their citizens.

5. Decisions about Kurdistan are best made by the people who live there

Being independent means the people who care most about Kurdistan – the people who live in Kurdistan – will be taking the decisions about their future. The people of Kurdistan have the greatest stake in making their nation a success. They are more likely to make the right choices for their society and their economy; to make decisions that will bring outstanding benefits for the people living there.

Author :
EurActiv Network