Media Talk: Is it time for an independent Kurdistan?

Talk 13 November 2007

With Iraqi Kurds now almost totally independent of Baghdad, is the time right for talk of a new pan-Kurdish state or are regional autonomies the only way forward?

If there is one success story that has come out of the US-led Iraqi invasion, it is probably Iraqi Kurdistan. The region is certainly the safest place in Iraq today.

But with the threat of a Turkish invasion from the north to try and crush guerrillas from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), that progress may now be undone.

Meanwhile on Iraqi’s eastern border, Kurdish guerrillas are also skirmishing with Iranian troops in a bid to end the oppressive regime they live under in that country.

Our panel discusses the prospects for potential Kurdish independence and what it would mean for the region as a whole.

Peter Galbraith – Senior diplomatic fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Peter Galbraith is the author of The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created a War Without End. (via phone link).

Kamran Karadaghi – former Chief of Staff of the Iraqi President and before that first diplomatic, then senior political correspondent of the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat; deputy director and chief editor of Radio Free Iraq at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and as the Iraq editorial editor of IWPR.

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman – Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government’s High Representative to the UK. She worked as a journalist for 17, including at the Financial Times, before joining her government.

David McDowall – author of A Modern History of the Kurds and author of the Middle East section of The World Directory of Minorities.

Adel Darwish – journalist and commentator, political editor of The Middle East Magazine author of Water Wars: Coming Conflicts in the Middle East and Unholy Babylon: the Secret History of Saddam’s War.

Moderated by Michael Howard, who has been reporting for the Guardian from Iraq since 2002, and is also a regular contributor to the Economist.