The global community’s silence toward the people of Kurdistan in their ongoing calls for independence is “morally unacceptable,” a British-American physician said at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism’s (ICT) annual conference in Israel.
In her keynote address during the first day of the 18th annual ICT conference in Herzliya on Sept. 3, Dr. Qanta Ahmed, Associate Professor of Medicine at the State University of New York, said the world should back the Kurdistan Region’s push for independence.
Ahmed said she had spoken to many Kurdish friends who “feel desolate” about the world’s reaction to Kurdistan’s fight for self-determination.
Recalling Kurdistan’s historic independence referendum on Sept. 25, 2017, where at least 93 percent of voters chose yes for secession from Iraq, the British-American physician said there was only “global silence” after the vote.
“All the nations that use the Kurdish Peshmerga to fight the battles on the ground, though Kurds do admit they’ve got great support from the United States, were silent. And this to me is morally unacceptable.”
According to Ahmed, Kurdish Peshmerga who she met and spoke with during a recent visit to a base in Kurdistan’s Duhok province had one message for the world: “We need our independence; we deserve our independence.”
“We go around the world as Americans looking for societies to liberate, to advance, to elevate,” she said, “and yet, right under our noses is this extraordinarily rich, multi-faith country with advanced concepts of egalitarianism between men and women that has been utterly neglected.”
“The Peshmerga are a unique fighting force, national heroes in Kurdistan,” Ahmed stated, noting the Kurdish forces have more women in combat than even the Israeli Military.
During her speech to hundreds of elite counter-terrorism experts, the British-American physician described Kurdistan as one of the world’s most disadvantaged nations and the largest stateless nation of people.
“They have a population of 36 million, slightly less than Canada, slightly more than Australia, that do not get to have their own country.”
Ahmed also suggested that the Kurdistan Region’s vast hydrocarbon resources, with billions of natural gas and oil, might be “the motivation for why Kurdish boundaries which were designated in 1919 have never been realized into an independent Kurdish state.”
During her speech, Ahmed also highlighted the Greater Kurdistan, landlocked between four nations, Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq, which she referred to as “the evil axis.”
“The only thing that unites Iran, Turkey, and Syria is their animosity and hatred of the Kurds and their intention not to allow them to become ever independent.”
She called on the world to hear the Kurdish cries for independence due to the “increasingly hostile” situation in the region.
“What wouldn’t we give for a powerful alliance of a 90 percent Sunni-Muslim country that feels strongly identified with Israel, strongly identified with Jeffersonian democracy, and yet we neglect it,” Ahmed stated.
The 18th annual ICT conference, which takes place from Sept. 4-6, includes top decision-makers, defense, intelligence and police officials, prominent academic scholars, and security industry leaders from over 50 countries.