The geopolitics of the Kurds since World War I: Between Iraq and other hard places

Michael B. Bishku

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Since World War 1, the issue of Kurdish nationalism, autonomy or rights as a minority has affected primarily four Middle Eastern states–Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria–where the vast majority of Kurds reside. Following World War 1, the Kurds were promised the possibility of "local autonomy" in southeastern Anatolia under the provisions of the Treaty of Sevres imposed upon the Ottoman Empire. The Cold War following World War 2 offered new opportunities for the expression of Kurdish nationalism with the Soviet-Western rivalry; the Arab-Israeli conflict; and opposing views of Turkish, Arab and Iranian nationalism. Great Britain also withdrew its support of Kurdish nationalism as part of its policy of trying to isolate Soviet Russia by strengthening its relations with Turkey and Iran; at the same time, it wanted to protect oil interests in Mosul province in Iraq.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook on the Kurds
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781317237990
ISBN (Print)9781138646643
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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