Kurdish independence is under threat from powerful neighbours. The west should not stand by and see this dream of self-rule crushed
Hostile moves by neighbouring governments to blockade and isolate the Kurds of northern Iraq in punishment for this week’s vote for independence require a robust response by Britain and the international community. Despite the historical betrayals of the western powers, the Kurds have proven loyal and valuable allies in the struggle against Islamic State and the former dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. Now is time to settle the debt.
With the official results of the referendum called by Masoud Barzani’s Kurdistan regional government (KRG) due on Wednesday, it is already clear an overwhelming majority backed independence. This outcome was never in doubt. It represents the partial culmination of a dream of self-determination and self-rule nurtured by generations of Kurds since the arbitrary Anglo-French carve-up of the Ottoman empire at the close of the first world war left them dispersed, stateless and homeless.