The new front is not just a local conflict: it could lead to a broader Kurdish revolt that redraws the map. The west must finally decide what it wants to achieve in the Middle East or other players will benefit
In whichever state they live, the Kurds endure a perilous existence. In Iran, the Kurdish people of the west have suffered significant persecution at the hands of the Islamic republic, while in Iraq, the Kurds of the north were confronted with a well-organised military operation. They also faced a diplomatic initiative that illustrated that, even in the fractious world of Middle East politics, Kurdish aspirations can manage to unify Iraq, Iran and Turkey in common opposition, following the independence referendum.
Even more strikingly, western powers were also aligned against their Iraqi Kurdish allies who had been so valuable in the fight against Isis. The thinking of western governments was logical – coolly objective even – as they remained committed to their policy of protecting the territorial integrity of Iraq. But, from a Kurdish perspective, they seem to be useful proxies when needed – and friends to forget when not.