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"Paradoxically enough, the country that went the farthest in embracing the Kurdish entity was also the one that had been the most vociferous against it: Turkey, which has become the midwife for a Kurdish state in Iraq with oil and gas as foundations for a strategic partnership that Turkey seems to see as a stabilising force on its own borders," Bengio noted in a recent article in Tablet.

In June 2014, Turkey agreed an unprecedented 50-year deal with Kurdistan in order to allow the passage of two oil pipelines and one gas pipeline through its territory, enabling the independent export of energy. In June, crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan was delivered to Israel, and there are reports of a further delivery in August.

In the same month, Israel's prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu openly declared his support for an independent Kurdish state. "We need to support the Kurdish aspiration for independence. They deserve it," he said. Israel's then president Shimon Peres and foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman have also reportedly raised the issue in meetings with President Barack Obama and secretary of state John Kerry.

While the Iraqi army proved itself to be merely a "hollow shell", the Kurdish military force, the peshmerga, with more than 350,000 troops, has proven itself to be "a vastly more capable partner", says Dr Jonathan Spyer, senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center in Herzlia. "That is why so many countries are now queuing up to try and supply the peshmerga with arms, because they think that if someone has to try and stop the continued eastern advance of the Islamic State, then the peshmerga would be a good candidate for that."

While Baghdad sweats over IS fighters carving up its territory, new shopping malls sparkle in Erbil as international businesses continue to flock to the region's de facto capital. A referendum may soon follow. Describing a recent trip to the Kurdish region in Iraq, Dr Spyer notes "an inevitable sense of moving towards [a referendum] that was almost palpable and tangible". Regardless of the outcome, Israel seems set to continue to play a role behind the scenes.

Despite the recent setbacks occasioned by IS, most notably in the crisis around Mount Sinjar,  for the first time the Kurds have achieved self-determination in two out of the four states in which they are present .

The quick-moving sands of the Middle East have shifted once again. Now Turkey and Israel stand once again at odds with one another, the Iraqi government is an Iranian proxy, and the US and Iran appear to be edging closer together. Out of the rubble of devastation in the region we may yet witness the birth of a Kurdish state, to which Israel has been a helpful, if self-interested, midwife.

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October 20th, 2014
10:10 PM
For detailed journalism on the unprecedented Kurdish resistance against Isis there`s `Inside Kobane` by Heysam Muslim at Kurdish men and women united in fighting at the frontline against scum of the earth Isis. It`s the brave Kurds `Stalingrad`.

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