Dastan Jasim

Under Attack: Addressing Cross-Border Violence in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

Blog Article | 2023

  • Abstract

    The last several months in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) have been marked by continuous Turkish ground operations and escalating Iranian drone and rocket attacks. These took place while both Turkey and Iran escalated against their Kurdish populations at home.

    Since 2005, Iraq has been the only country in the Middle East to formally recognize the Kurdish nation and the Kurdish language. The KRI is the only legally recognized Kurdish autonomous government in the region. As a result, one might have imagined that the KRI and Iraq would be relatively safe for Kurds from other parts of Kurdistan.

    However, given escalating Turkish and Iranian military action and transnational repression, including threats and targeted killings, it is evident that this is not the case. As a result, many observers have asked what the KRI can do to change this status quo and better protect its territory and people.

    Focusing primarily on Iran’s role, this analysis concludes that even in a best-case scenario of total democratic political change in the KRI, the the realities of the international system put the power to prevent malign intervention by neighboring states largely out of local hands.


    Kurdish Peace Institute


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