Close

Forgot your password?

Choose a newsletter




Premium access provided by ENSTA

Your premium access provided by ENSTA

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by NRC Q

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to NRC Q.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by EM-LYON

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to EM-LYON.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by Goldsmiths

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to Goldsmiths.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by WorldCrunch HQ

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 4 weeks thanks to WorldCrunch HQ.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by MINES Alès Alumni

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to MINES Alès Alumni.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by ESCP Europe Alumni

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to ESCP Europe Alumni.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by IONIS Education Group

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to IONIS Education Group.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by MinnPost

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 6 months thanks to MinnPost.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by Expatica

You've been given FREE premium access to Worldcrunch

Enter your email to begin

Worldcrunch

Why Arming The Kurds Is A Double-Edged Sword

Article illustrative image Partner logo Kurdish peshmerga fighters prepare ammunition for a heavy machine gun at a base in Khanaqin, Iraq.

-Editorial-

PARIS — On the Iraq crisis as well as on the others around the world, the European Union is in disarray, hiding its divisions behind a discreet veil of consensus. At an Aug. 15 emergency meeting called by France and Italy, the 28 foreign ministers congratulated themselves … for each other's stubbornness. Because a common position couldn't be agreed upon, every country is free to arm, or not, Iraq's Kurds in their fight against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

As usual, France didn't even wait for the meeting to announce it would send "sophisticated weapons" to the leaders of the autonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan. The latter have been complaining bitterly that they are under-equipped in armaments capable of facing the American weaponry that Islamist fighters seized from the Iraqi army. 

Britain, Italy and the Czech Republic followed in the footsteps of France. Sweden, on the other hand, decided to stick to its neutral, pacifist principles. Finally, Germany appears once again divided between its desire to weigh in on world affairs and its post-World War II non-intervention heritage.

To solve this dilemma, Berlin announced the delivery of non-lethal military equipment to the Kurds. But faced with the insisting appeals of Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani and the threat of extermination of the religious minorities in northern Iraq, the German government finally decided to go to "the limits of what is politically and legally doable," Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier explained during his visit to Iraq last weekend.

But this attitude is rooted not only in Germany’s traditional aversion to participate, even indirectly, in any war. Their concern, which Steinmeier crudely summarized, is that the weapons sent to the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters might later be used to fight the Iraqi central government in Baghdad and its troops.

Since the beginning of the ISIS lightning offensive, Kurdish leaders have barely been able to contain their jubilation. The Iraqi state has never been so close to breaking apart, and as a result, Kurdistan has never been so close to independence.

Masoud Barzani has no intention of missing his chance. In early July, he announced a referendum to be held in the next few months, a move that Washington immediately condemned. Similarly, Berlin is opposed to Kurdish independence, as it would destabilize Iraq further — and with it the whole Middle East, paving the way for a war of all against all.

By delivering sophisticated weapons to the Kurds and by buying oil directly from them as the United States is doing, the West might be solving an immediate problem. But it risks creating another, thornier still.

Sign up for our Worldcrunch Weekly newsletter now


Be a part of the conversation. Click to show comments
About this article source Website: http://www.lemonde.fr/

This leading French daily newspaper Le Monde ("The World") was founded in December 1944 in the aftermath of World War II. Today, it is distributed in 120 countries. In late 2010, a trio formed by Pierre Berge, Xavier Niel and Matthieu Pigasse took a controlling 64.5% stake in the newspaper.

Load More Stories

Unlimited access to exclusive journalism, the best world news source across all your devices

Subscribe Now Photo of Worldcrunch on different devices

Your premium access to Worldcrunch is provided by

University of Central Lancashire

Please register to begin


By registering you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.