Conventional wisdom dictates that Israel and Kurdish insurgents throughout the Middle East are close allies and there is plenty of evidence to confirm that historically, Israel has always militarily and otherwise aided Kurds in Iraq, Syria, Iran and even Turkey. Long before the rise of Erdogan in Turkey, Israel’s good relations with the Kurds was one of the only major points of disagreements in what was generally a healthy relationship between Ankara and Tel Aviv.
Should a Kurdish state form in Syria and/or Iraq, Israel and the US would essentially have a friendly proxy state near two historic rivals.
Although at a level of intelligence and military aid, Israel and the US always maintain a close relationship, various US Presidents have at times been frustrated both at a personal and political level with Israeli leaders
Could it be then that if a Kurdistan is America’s ‘second Israel’ in the region, it could at times flip-flop in respect of being America’s number one client state in the Middle East?
This is a reality that the overzealous, blindly anti-Arab Israeli leaders ought to consider.
There is a distinct possibility that if a Kurdish state is established either in Iraq or in Syria, that it would only take one spat between a hot-headed Israeli leader and a US President to make a so-called Kurdistan into America’s number one ally/client in the Middle East.
In this sense, Israel’s position in the Middle East could actually be challenged, not by an Israeli enemy but by a strongly allied US entity.
Stranger things have indeed happened. Turkey which for its entire modern existence has resisted Kurdish nationalism, has now done more to allow for the real possibility of a Kurdish state in Iraq and Syria than almost any other regional player, most of whom oppose Kurdish nationalism, with the exception of Israel and now possibly the additional exception of Saudi Arabia.
By destabilising Syria and to a lesser extent Iraq, Turkish President Erdogan’s policies which have destabilised the region as a whole, have emboldened Kurdish calls for nationalism on Turkey’s borders in the biggest way since at least the 1940s.
But just as Turkey has been on the receiving end of a possible unpleasant regional surprise partly of its own making, so too could Israel find itself in the same position.
In the short and medium term future, a would-be Kurdish state would be poorer and even more dependant on America than Israel, therefore there is even less of chance that a Kurdish leadership would ‘step out of line’ vis-a-vis Israeli leadership who often act with total impunity, in spite of whatever is said in Washington.
Israel has literally gotten away with murder because the US feels it has no choice but to side with Israel, no matter how many UN resolutions it breaks and no matter how aggressive its increasingly right-wing leadership becomes.
A Kurdistan could shift this balance in ways that Israel could not have anticipated.
Poetic justice? Perhaps, but at what cost to the Arab world? Too high a cost if you ask me.