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Kurds, Oil and International Political Economy


By: Saeed Kakeyi

Abstract

Kurdish economy can be described in a few words: sluggish progress, static


technologies and a divided country ever isolated from the International Consciousness.
Many modern labor intensive industries have yet to make their way into Kurdistan. For
geopolitical and geo-economics reasons, the agricultural, petroleum and mining
industries higher fewer people from the Kurdish regions. To bring stability to the ever
growing turmoil in the Middle East, Kurdish economy needs cash injection in order to
stimulate the various sectors and open local employment opportunities. With equality and
fair living standards, constant Kurdish conflicts could be resolved. Reasoned international
and regional economic policies will create wages and income from agriculture, petroleum
and transportation system throughout Kurdistan. Supply and Demand equilibrium should
contribute to reinvigorate the stagnant local markets. With symmetric local supply and
demand, more Kurds will choose to stay in their homeland rather than flooding Turkish,
Iranian and Arab cities and spilling over to Europe and USA.

Introduction

The Kurds comprise a nation without a political state of their own; and they been
living in the heart of the Middle East in a geographical area known as Kurdistan which
for at least 3000 years. As an Indo-European people, Kurds have their own history,
language and culture; different from those of the Arabs, Persians, and Turks. Their
resourceful homeland has been arbitrarily and unjustly partitioned; firstly, due to the
agrarian ambitions of the Otto-Persian Empires in 1514, then because of the tri Anglo-
Franco-Italian colonial exploitations and the subsequent oil discoveries which led to the
partition of Kurdistan amongst the newly created states of Iraq, Syria, and Turkey in
1923.

Kurdistan is endowed with a variety of rich natural resources. Beside significant


reserves in iron, copper, zinc, and petroleum, it has a rich soil in its valleys, sufficient
rainfalls, several flowing rivers, a temperate climate, and a great farming manpower. All
these favorable factors should support an intensive system of industrial and agriculture
production, if sound policies were followed.

However, because Kurdistan is divided by political frontiers between the four


states of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey, the central planning mechanisms in these countries
have neglected the development priority needs of the Kurds. Yet, since the Kurds are the
aboriginals of their lands, they have been refusing to tolerate negligence and,
consequently, geo-economics became the main reasons for ongoing conflicts with the
rulers in the aforementioned countries. The nature of these conflicts not only threatens the
domestic economic progress in these countries, but also heavily affects the regional and
the International economic stabilities. As is the current case of Turkey against the Kurds,
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on the one hand, it suppresses its own Kurdish population by not recognizing their
legitimate rights to a fair and prosperous life, and on the other hand by interfering with
the affairs of the Iraqi Kurds in practicing their constitutionally guaranteed self-rule.

How and why the Kurds became a divided nation?

Kurdistan was highly contested between the rulers of the Safavid Persia and
Ottoman Empire. In 1508, the struggle over the control of Kurdistan between the two
empires began. For Safavids, which declared Shia’ism as their empire’s religion, the
annexation of Kurdistan meant achieving two objectives: Firstly, to cast their authorities
with ease over the agriculturally rich soils of the open plains and valleys of Kurdistan in
order to gain an unrestricted access to the cheap Kurdish agricultural and farming
products. Secondly, to marginalize the Kurdish Sunni Muslim decision-makers who were
objecting to the expansion of the Persian Shia’ism to control the Shia holy cities of Najaf
and Karbala in the Mesopotamian plain; present-day Iraq.

The Ottomans, however, saw Kurdistan and the Arab Vilayets (Provinces) of
Baghdad and Basra as the bread baskets vital to their Empire’s economy. The Shatt al-
Arab river was also of great importance to the Ottomans as it was their only access to the
Persian Gulf. As Sunni Muslims, the Ottomans interpreted the Safavid’s Shia influence
in the region as a direct challenge to their authority in Kurdistan and the Arab world. As a
result, the Ottoman Sultans supported the Sunni Kurds and the Sunni Arabs to stand
against the Safavid Shia expansion. The subsequent conflict between the Ottomans and
Persians lasted more than three hundred years and amplified the pre-existing hostilities
between the Shiites and the Sunnis of the Islamic World (Bahadori: 2005, 7).

As for the Kurds though, the uncontested powers of the Safavids and the
Ottomans in the region were immense. Making matters worse, the rigid mountainous
topography of Kurdistan—the Zagros Mountains chain runs spinally through Kurdistan—
pushed the Kurdish feudal leaders, on each side of the Zagros mountains, think of having
greater economic benefits by submitting respectively to the hegemonic authorities of their
non-Kurdish neighbors. Helping to morally legitimize such devastating thoughts, Kurdish
religious decision-makers argued that—according to the Islamic obedience and equality
values—any objection to the “Islamic” rules of the Ottoman Sunni Khalifas of
Constantinople as well as any disobedience of the “Vilayet Al-Faqeeh” of the Persian
Shia’ism would constitute great sins. Therefore, these arguments encouraged both
empires to cast their authorities over Kurdistan.

Shah Ismail of the Safavids captured Kurdistan in 1508. Shortly thereafter, Sultan
Selim I of the Ottomans regained control of much of Kurdistan in 1514. However, using
a mixture of Turkish and Arab soldiers, Sultan Selim I was not able to get the needed
Kurdish support in his Chaldiran Battle of 1514 to completely subdue Kurdistan (2005,
8). After decades of continual warfare, both sides deemed a complete military victory
over the other unachievable. On May 29, 1555, emissaries from the Ottoman and Persian
empires met in Amasya (present-day Turkey) and signed the Treaty of Amasya (2005, 8).
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This agreement is the first recorded treaty between the Persian Empire and the Ottoman
Empire on Kurds regarding the partition of Kurdistan. The treaty remained in effect for
nearly twenty years until warfare erupted between the two empires. The Ottoman Empire
retained hegemony over Western Kurdistan until it was captured by the Persians in 1623.
The ongoing war between the Persians and Ottomans over Kurdistan came to a relative
end in 1639 with the signing of the Treaty of Zuhab (2005, 8).

The 1639 Treaty of Zuhab was the first agreement between the Ottoman Empire
and Persian Empire to outline a border, roughly partitioning Kurdistan into two: East
Kurdistan ruled by the Safavids and West Kurdistan under the Ottomans. Yet, in spite of
the centralized conformational policies of the Otto-Persian empires, several Kurdish
dynasties survived into the first half of the nineteenth century: Mukriyan and Ardalan in
Persia; Botan, Makari, Badinan, Soran, and Baban in Turkey. However, none of these
dynasties had allegiance to either empire.

During the latter part of the 17th century, revolts occurred by Kurdish feudal and
tribal leaders against the Ottoman or Persian state, often times by instigating unfair
taxations and applying them to non-Kurdish jurisdictional dynasties. Not only was this a
problem for the expired treaty of Zuhab, it also set a precedent for future conflicts in the
region.

While the Safavid Empire was declining, Karim Khani Zand, founder of the
Kurdish Zand Dynasty of Shiraz in Persia, attacked and occupied the Vilayet of Basra in
1775 (2005, 9). Among other reasons, Zand’s goal was to disrupt Ottomans’ economic
access to the Persian Gulf in a bid to weaken their influence in Western Kurdistan on the
one hand, and to bring a hiatus to savagery of the Persian pro-Ottoman Sunnite forces
which dominated much of the northern Persia on the other hand (Fisher and Ochsenwald:
1990, 249).

The occupation of Basra lasted through the turn of the century, but ended in 1821
when another war took place in Northeastern Kurdistan between the two empires. Both
wars ended with the assistance of British mediation which resulted in the signing of the
Treaty of Erzurum in 1823. This Treaty added two new western characteristics vis-à-vis
border relationship. First, it helped in creating border zones instead of previous frontier
lines. Second, the Treaty strictly called for the non-intervention of both sides in the
others’ affairs (Cusimno, 1992). As it states in Article I of the treaty:

“From this period, on the side of Baghdad and Kurdistan no interference


is to take place, nor with any Districts of the Divisions of Kurdistan within the
boundaries, is the Persian government to intermeddle, or authorize any acts of
molestation, or to assume any authority over the present or former possessors of
those countries” (2005, 9).

While the terms of the Treaty of Erzurum were clear, both sides continued to
intervene in each other’s Kurdish affairs to the extent that endangered the economic
interests of the European colonial powers in the region. By 1840, tensions over the
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Kurdish unrest along the Otto-Persian borders nearly brought the two empires to war.
However, Britain which had a strategic economic interest in Ottoman territories
established a boundary commission composed of Iranian, Turkish, British and Russian
diplomats to mediate the conflict.

According to Kamaran A. Muhammadamin, the effects of the Russian and the


British influence in the Middle East reached a level at which more often than not Russian
and British diplomats were drafting texts of the Persian-Ottoman treaties and that upon
their requests the Persians and Ottomans used to held their conferences and diplomatic
engagements (2000, 72).

The influence which Britain and Russia, had in Persian and Ottoman affairs was
due to have a continuing access to the Persian Gulf along with their economic market
exploitation objectives. For the Brits securing the “Silk Road” between India and Europe
through Kurdistan, had all reasons to keep the Kurds apart and weak. As for the Russians,
the unhappy Persian-Ottoman Kurds were a critical element in helping gain territorial
advances and to keep its southern rivaling neighbors of Turkey and Iran preoccupied with
internal affairs. However, to the Kurds’ dismay, the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878
“brought devastation, famine, and general hardship accompanied by disease, banditry and
violence, especially in north and southern Kurdistan” (Olson: 1991, 5).

With the discovery of oil in 1908, the policies of the colonial powers of Britain,
France, Germany and Russia changed and they viewed the Middle East region with
greater economic interest than before. Kurdistan gained a strategically important place in
their international politics prior to the onset of the World War One (WWI). As a matter of
fact, the Brits promised the Kurds an independent Kurdish kingdom in return for their
opposition to the Turkish-German alliance (Ahmad: 1984, 31-40). Parallel to this policy,
the British diplomats initiated a string of negotiations which resulted in maintaining
normal relations between the Persian and Ottoman empires. In return, Britain secured the
rights to extract and trade oil in their respective territories.

Oil and the Kurds in the 20th century

The 20th century began with a major world war, leaving in its wake a dismantled
Ottoman Empire, new states in the Middle East and the occupation of Southern Kurdistan
by Britain and France. For the Kurd, this was a historical moment to achieve their ever
desired nation-state. However, such a moment was not one that was meant to last, and it
soon turned out to be disastrous: Kurdistan was further divided!

With the start of the Russian Revolution in October 1917, Russia ceased
hostilities against the Ottoman Empire and withdrew from World War I. Thereafter, the
new Soviet regime allied itself with the Turkish nationalists against the “Imperialist”
West. The Turkish nationalists, who were fighting against both Western domination and
the Ottoman Empire, had many reasons to accept this friendship.
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This challenging diplomacy forced the Colonial Allies, especially the British; to
establish puppet governments in the occupied regions of the Middle East and thought the
creation of a landlocked autonomous Kurdish state would be useful to their imperial
plans regarding oil exploitations. Therefore, despite of lacking a coherent political entity,
the Kurds were represented at the Paris Peace Conference by an inadequate delegation
(1991, 24). Nonetheless, the official representatives of the Allies and the defeated
Ottomans signed the Peace Treaty of Sèvres on 10 August, 1920, envisaged a state for the
Kurds.

Against all odds, Kurdish leadership of the time welcomed the Soviet-Turkish
alliance and refused to cooperate with the British installed non Iraqi Arab King Faisal
from Saudi Arabia. For the colonial Britain, this Kurdish negative response to Iraq’s
monarch system and their blessing of the Soviet policies in Asia Minor, viewed as a
direct challenge to their oil development policies in the heartland of Kurdistan.
Accordingly, the Brits were quick to open talks with the Turkish Nationalists promising
them the elimination of the idea of Kurdish state in exchange for the annexation of the
Mosul Vilayet to the British mandated state of Iraq and to have permits to establish
Western military bases in Turkey in a bid to protect the oil fields in the region against the
danger of Communism (Majeed: 1997, 14).

Managing the enormous oil fields of the Vilayet of Mosul in southern Kurdistan
and the Vilayet of Diyarbekir in northern Kurdistan required the British and the French
coordination. Like the Brits, the French colonials too abandoned the idea of creating a
Kurdish state with no access to international waters. Hence, in accordance with the
Treaty of Lausanne, signed on 24 July 1923, Britain and France agreed to share the oil of
Kurdistan amongst themselves by dividing Kurdistan further on newly created states of
Iraq, Syria, and Turkey—each with easy access to the sea.

Consequently, gone was the law that promised to establish independent Kurdistan.
Turkey still retains almost half of Kurdistan, Mosul Vilayet became a disputed subject of
Article III of the superseded Treaty, and a part of Diyarbekir Vilayet was given to Syria.
The word Kurdistan was not even mentioned anywhere in the Treaty of Lausanne (1991,
82).

To exacerbate the Kurdish dilemma further, in 1926, the League of Nations


legalized the division of Kurdistan by resolving a dispute between Iraq and Turkey over
the control of the former Ottoman vilayet of Mosul. Britain—which was awarded a
League of Nations’ Mandate over Iraq in 1920—represented Iraq in its foreign affairs,
argued that Mosul belonged to Iraq. In contrast, Turkey claimed the province as part of
its historic heartland. As a result, a three person League of Nations’ commission was sent
to the area in 1924 to study the case and in 1925 recommended the region to be attached
to Iraq with a—never materialized—condition that the Britain would hold the mandate
over Iraq for another 25 years, to assure the autonomous rights of the Kurds. The League
Council adopted the recommendation and it decided on 16 December 1925 to award
Mosul to Iraq (Kilic: 1959, 60-61).
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Ever since, the Kurds in the four states became minorities with no legal economic,
social and political rights. They had to live with an increasing barrage of state
nationalism, be it revolutionary or reactionary, monarchist or socialist, Persian, Turkish
or Arab. Emphasis on national, ethnic, or linguistic unity has only served to revive a
parallel feeling among the Kurds. In the four states, many public policy statements may
be made about equality of opportunity and development for all citizens and ethnic groups,
but the Kurds have inevitably felt ignored, neglected and suppressed by foreign rulers
from far away in the respective state capitals.

Kurdish economy

A special factor of the Kurdish economy is that it does not constitute one entity,
but is split among several countries. The individual parts are isolated from one another
and each part is dependent on the economy of its ruling state. Nevertheless, the
mountainous borders of Kurdistan are practically beyond control, and for this reason
contraband trade is widespread, particularly between Iranian and Iraqi Kurdistan. The
countries controlling Kurdistan are economically linked to industrialized countries, and
the different parts of Kurdistan are in turn dependent on their respective central
governments, a unique situation which might explain why economic progress is so
irregular and disproportionate. Kurdistan constitutes the marginal areas of these
countries; therefore, it is also underdeveloped. When looking at vital statistics, it is
always what the central government wants you to know, not reality. The poverty level,
health care, the educational facilities and last but not least, job opportunities are not
available to their Kurdish minorities unless they go through the assimilation process. In
Turkey, everything is dependent on how well a Kurd is assimilated (Leezenberg: 2000,
3).

The economic bases of Kurdistan

Recent international commercial traffic between Europe and Central Asia and
Turkey’s trade with Iran, Iraq and other Arab countries through Syria encourages the
revitalization of the old Kurdish Trade Routes. The overland trade from the oil-rich states
of Iran, Iraq and the Gulf States with European markets has revived Kurdistan as a bridge
for that lucrative commerce. The heavy traffic between Turkey, Iraq and Iran passes
through Kurdistan. Radical educational policies, greater cultural rights, and major road
construction could provide great opportunities for many Kurds who otherwise continue to
support arms struggle to achieve their goals (Izady: 1992, 15).

As mentioned before, the occupation of the majority of Kurds is agriculture;


therefore, sound agrarian policy plays a crucial role in Kurdish economy. Because of the
productivity of its soils, Kurdistan is one of the few regions in the world that could be
self-sufficient in food production. Kurdistan possesses a variety of microclimate as well
as adequate rainfall and water resources, which permit a broad range of crops, fruit and
forest production, in addition to range resources to support and sustain good livestock
production. However, with wrong governmental policies, agriculture failed in most parts
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of Kurdistan to keep up with demand. The relative poor showing of the agricultural
sectors in the four states controlling Kurdistan reflect their misleading governmental
policies that had made rapid industrialization of the non-Kurdish areas their first priority.
As a result agriculture suffered from insufficient mechanization, lack or low use of
chemical fertilizers, excessive fallow lands and unexploited water resources, all of which
resulted in low yields and complicated their respective Kurdish conflicts more and more.

The Kurds have long realized the risk in the short term of insisting on an
independent Kurdish state and have hoped for democratic institutions in the countries
where they live. However, the state of Kurdistan remains the dream of every Kurd in this
world. More than ever the Kurdish political organizations are feeling the pressure from
Kurdish masses for greater commitments to the Kurdish right of self-determination
including independence.

In addition to the poor living conditions of the Kurds, Kurdistan is a disaster-


prone area, not only politically, but also naturally: earthquakes and floods. These
situations collectively have caused migrations outside of Kurdish territories. In Turkey,
quite a large segment of the Kurdish population has had to resettle in Istanbul, Izmir,
Ankara and Adana. About 20 % of Baghdad’s population is Kurdish. Similarly, an
estimated 15% of Tehran’s population is Kurdish. The reason for this migration is
economic (Jaff: 1995, 4).

Kurdistan’s energy resources

Kurdistan’s primary energy resources is enormous and include oil, natural gas,
hydropower, coal, solar energy plus other unexploded minerals, (e.g. uranium). Oil has
traditionally played a major role in the economy of the countries dividing Kurdistan: it
has been the primary driving force behind GDP growth in Iraq and Iran while half the
Kurdish populations live in misery and backwardness. From a cursory look at the
development project in those two countries, it is easily perceived that the central
governments have virtually ignored the financing of projects in the Kurdish territories
(1995, 4).

Both in Iran and Iraq, the oil and gas sub-sectors were particularly hard-hit by the
war, with much of the infrastructure destroyed. These sub-sectors were and are the
primary source of foreign exchange income. Therefore the Iranian government has been
able to rebuild its oil and gas industries. The supply of natural gas from Iranian Kurdistan
is abundant and its consumption is expected to increase not only for economic reasons
but also to reduce environmental problems in major cities.

The population of Iranian Kurdistan constitutes 17.5% of the total, yet its share in
the industrial process is a mere 3%, including oil refining. If we take into account that
Iran is a developing country, the backwardness of the situation in its Kurdish regions is
even starker. Conditions in the Kurdish part of Turkey are even worse according to its
own State Planning Organization reports (1995, 5).
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In Iraq, the situation was not much better. While the Saddam’s pan-Arab
nationalist government started industrialization process in 1973, but it was concentrated
mainly in the large Arab dominated cities. What made matters even worse, was the
Arabization oil rich cities of Kirkuk and Khanaqin. In Iraqi Kurdistan, which was
underdeveloped, continuous conflicts with the central government and lack of capital
constituted the main obstacle to economic development. Although Oil and natural gas in
Kurdistan account for 67% of energy resources in Iraq, Saddam’s regime denied Iraqi
Kurdistan a fair share of the export and revenue.

In the aftermath of the 1991 Desert Storm, a disastrous effect befell on Iraq’s
economy. Iraq’s ability to function as a sovereign state greatly marginalized. Not acting
inline with numerous United Nations’ Security Council Resolutions, Iraq was put under
crippling sanctions which led to the formation of the de facto Kurdish state in much of
Iraqi Kurdistan which will be covered by a sub-heading in the later part of this paper.

Kurdistan’s water resources

The tributaries of the Tigris and the Euphrates, which make up the bulk of water
resources in the Middle East, plus other numerous affluent, have made Kurdistan among
the few watersheds of the Near East. In addition to Tigris and Euphrates rivers like
Cyhan, Araxes, Karkhah, and their major tributaries spring from the mountains of
Kurdistan. The regulation of the flow of river waters is for the benefits of the non-
Kurdish users in the lowlands. As such, many hydraulic projects now dot Kurdish
Watercourses and many more are projected. Turkey is mounting a gigantic project to tap
the water which flows from the mountains of Kurdistan. It is the multibillion dollar South
East Project (GAP). When finished, it will consist of 22 dams to irrigate 1.7 million
hectares and will have a hydroelectric generating capacity of over 750 MW. This will
create extra jobs in agriculture and should bring in a fair amount of light industry. But
Kurdish experience with such dreams is that, yes, economically it is true it will create
jobs but under the present circumstances the jobs will not be given to the local Kurds.
The majority of the labors have been imported from non-Kurdish regions because of so-
called fears of "security risks" and "terrorist threats" (1995, 6).

Turkey hopes one day to build a "peace pipeline" to carry about 2.2 billion cubic
meters of water per year from two other rivers farther west, the Siyhan and the Ceyhan,
which will go via Syria and Jordan to western Saudi Arabia, eventually via Kuwait to the
Gulf States. Nobody realizes that these waters comes from Kurdish mountains and flows
through their villages into Arab lands. Neither Arabs nor Turks admit this, nor that do the
oil fields of Kirkuk, Khanaqin, Sirit, Dyarbakir and Kameshlo lie in Kurdistan (1995, 6).

It is clear that the economy in Kurdistan could have expanded faster during the
last 85 years had it not been for the unwillingness of the central governments to allocate
enough funds and adopt policies to remove existing structural rigidities and so provide
the right institutional set-up, infrastructure and incentives.
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The massive rise in the price of oil during the seventies increased the finances of
Iraq and Iran but failed to provide an impetus to the growth of the Kurdish areas. In both
countries, these areas continued to lag behind other regions. In Turkey, by its own
government’s admissions, the Kurdish region referred, to as South-East Anatolia, is the
least developed.

Needless to say, the oil boom which started in the early 1970s did not reach the
Kurdish region. Indeed as of 1975, the Baghdad government started its campaign to
eradicate Kurdish rural areas by destroying close to 4,000 villages, keeping the
population in camps under the pretext of national security requirements. Likewise,
Turkey’s Kurdish village destructions and forced mass movements of Kurdish
populations near the oil fields of Sirit and Dyarbakir is ongoing for several years under
the eyes and the ears of the NATO countries with the pretext of fighting the separatist
Kurdistan Workers Party known as the PKK. As for Syria, its totalitarian Baathist regime
continues to deny citizenships tots more than 300,000 Kurds living near the oil fields of
Qamishlo located in its north east.

Present economic statues of Iraqi Kurdistan

After the 1991 Desert Storm, the economic situation of Iraqi Kurdistan has
changed drastically. An astronomical inflation figure made living condition very difficult
to the average citizen. With the international economic embargo on Iraq and the latter’s
economic embargo on Iraqi Kurdistan, plus the political economic tri-restrictions
imposed by Turkey, Iran and Syria on the democratically elected Kurdistan Regional
Government (KRG) which resulted in the infamous internal Kurdish fights lasted four
years between the two main Kurdish political factions; the Kurdistan Democratic Party
(KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) (2000, 5).

The "safe haven" for the Kurds living above the 36th parallel was also under even
worse economic condition. It is surprising to note that the UN sanctions have stopped
Iraqi Kurds from importing small portable industrial units as well as mechanical
equipment required to maintain existing facilities in order to render the suffering of the
Kurdish people less painful. Therefore, Kurdistan remained almost entirely dependent on
the outside for its daily needs. This may explain the fragile political situation that Iraqi
Kurdistan had gone through prior to the removal of Saddam regime by the United States
and its allies in March 2003.

However, with the removal of Saddam’s tyrannical regime from Iraq, Kurds were
able to breathe normally and hope for a better political and economic future. With the
constitutional advances in Iraq, Kurds are able to secure 17% of Iraq’s national income.
Despite some corruptions, Iraqi Kurds have been able to unleash full fledgling economic
advances; mainly in the areas of housing and infrastructures. To the dismay of many, the
KRG is implementing many laws passed by the Kurdistan Regional Parliament (KRP)
encouraging investments on oil exploitations, heavy industries, housing, agriculture,
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banking and education.

Thanks to the US presence in Iraq, Kurds have been able to make economic
progress in Turkey, Iran and Syria. Most of the Kurdish origins Turkish and Iranian
companies have been able to have a share of the Iraqi Kurdish pie.

Conclusion

Provided that Kurdistan have gained Independence or at least a Federated States


within the countries where they are now, so they could plan and implement their own
development strategies; it could easily contribute vigorously in the market balance of the
region. Kurdistan posses all elements of a quick and strong economic development, such
as: abundance source of energy; ample water resources; optimal rainfall in a temperate
climate and a cheap labor force. All these factors are good incentives which will attract
investments not only in food production but also in other economic fields.

Population growth and food production limitations throughout the Middle East are
two major factors that influence the market for food. As the population increase the food
supply must grow with it to keep up the present or even higher standard of living.
Otherwise, political disturbances and unrest among the population will increase.

It is estimated now that the Kurdish population in Kurdistan to be around 40


million. In certain countries of the region, short term agricultural production is hazardous
due to fluctuation of oil prices and unrealistic stimulation of the agricultural sector.

As an oil producing entity, Iraqi Kurdistan can allocate a substantial portion of its
resource revenues for its economic planning. At present, aside from Iraqi Kurds, Kurds
have been deprived from sharing the economic planning and implementation in the states
where they live. The strategies of these countries suffer from bad planning, lack of
management control and functional infrastructure and thoroughgoing corruption. It is
imperative, however, that central governments allocate percentages of their national GDP
proportional to the Kurdish population with complete decentralization to the regional
level.

While the high rate of Kurdish population increase at present may be welcome
news for Kurdish resistant movements, it should be borne in mind that unless there is a
good balance between such an increase and economic growth, there will always be a
great exodus of population from Kurdistan. Unless a vigorous and sustainable economic
development plan is implemented and followed, their Kurdish conflicts will continue to
exacerbate further.

Finally, the hegemonic powers of the present time, as those of yesterday, profit
from a status quo which keeps Kurdistan as an international colony. The plight of 40
million Kurds demands a lasting solution. The Kurdish nation has been dismembered but
every one of its people is eagerly waiting for the day when it will be free and united. It
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will not be easy to unite Kurdistan, but then dividing it eighty-five years ago was also a
difficult task!

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