Iraqi troops have defeated the Kurdish Pershmerga forces and regained control of those areas that were still under their control in the province of Kirkuk. Prior to that they had captured the city of Kirkuk, which was held by the independence-seeking Kurds. For commentators the Kurds' hopes of founding their own state have been dashed.
The US will abandon the Kurds
The Kurds in northern Iraq shouldn't count on US support in their quest for independence, the pro-government newspaper Daily Sabah advises:
“Our Kurdish brothers and sisters should ask themselves why those Americans who did not allow their own people to secede from the Union in 1861 are now urging them to dismember four countries and create one nation. What is in it for them? Do they really want Kurdish dreams to become a reality? ... Years later a congressional committee could have found that those Americans had no intention of ever following through with [president of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region] Barzani's childhood ambitions.”
Independence remains a dream
The Kurds won't get their own independent state, Ilkka is convinced:
“The birth of an independent Kurdistan is still a long way off. Even though the military strength of the Kurds has increased considerably after years of fighting, they won't gain anything from it. The Iraqi government, not to mention Turkey and Iran, have made it pretty clear that they won't accept the Kurdish demands. The war in Syria continues and the future of the entire state is uncertain. ... Since not even the international community has shown sympathy for the Kurd's goal of founding their own state, their only alternative is to make do with autonomy.”
Don't leave this brave people in the lurch!
The international community must support the Kurds, French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy urges in Le Monde:
“Who in Washington, Paris or London can seriously hesitate? Who would oppose a resolution by the Security Coucil if it were summoned to an emergency session over this new war started by Baghdad even though the IS's corpse is still moving? We must not abandon Kurdistan, the only true pole of stability in the region. We must not allow its population - and at the same time the 1.5 million Christian, Yazidi and Arab refugees who have sought shelter in the country - to be held hostage. Let's reach out a fraternal hand to this exemplary people who believed they could see a light at the end of the tunnel after a century of suffering.”
Prosperous future only within Iraq
The Iraqi Kurds would be well advised to tone down their territorial claims in the region, the Times believes:
“Kirkuk is a multi-ethnic city and Kurdish efforts to declare it Kurdish territory ignore its recent history and current demography. The region’s wealth from pumping 500,000 barrels of oil a day is clearly a key reason for Kirkuk’s disputed status, but sharing it will not make Iraqi Kurdistan poorer. On the contrary, Iraq’s Kurds’ best hope for a prosperous and stable future lie within a prosperous, stable and western-oriented Iraq. The alternative is international isolation.”
Barzani leading Kurds to their ruin
President Barzani landed his people in this hopeless situation with the referendum on the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan, Daily Sabah comments:
“Barzani turned a deaf ear to the warnings of friends and today he is faced with an impossible situation. He went ahead with this extremely dangerous and illegal referendum. He did not only anger the Baghdad government but he antagonized Turkey and Iran, the two major powers of the region. ... The humiliation of Kirkuk means a death warrant for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Now Masoud Barzani has to live with his mistake.”
Non-homogeneous and divided
Spread out across several countries, the Kurds' quest for independence will be much more difficult than that of the Catalonians, Alfa comments.
“The Kurds are far less united than the Catalonians. ... There are major cultural, political and religious differences among Kurds who have lived in different states for centuries. The fact that the leaders of Iraqi Kurdistan have not backed up their claim to independence with the argument that they belong to a common nation has also deepened the divides among the Kurds. But making that argument stick wouldn't be easy in any event because of the cultural and religious differences.”