ISIS impossible to attack Kurdistan Region; situation emboldens Kurds: analysts
12.6.2014 . Kurdpress – As the extremist forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) are strengthening their presence in the regions and cities they have controlled they are heading towards the capital and reports said they are at one-hour drive of the city; analysts belive the jihadists will not attack Kurdistan Region in the north of Iraq and the situation benefits Kurds in the state.
The Kurdish forces of Peshmerga have previously stepped in to help protect Mosul from insurgents. The units have also helped ensure a decade of relative stability and prosperity for the Kurdish Iraqi enclave in contrast with the violence in the rest country.
Sectarian infighting between Iraqi Arabs could bolster the chances that Iraq’s Kurds will seek a formal secession from Iraq, increasing the chances of a Balkanization of the country. “We are now talking about an Iraq that’s fragmented in a Sunni-Shia axis. The Kurdish region can see this as an ideal situation to establish itself as an independent, secular, pro-Western entity that counters ISIS,” said Cengiz Candar, a Turkish columnist and researcher.
Some analysts said the lack of support for the jihadist cause among the Kurdish population make it unlikely ISIS would launch a broad attack against Kurdish forces, although they could escalate insurgency tactics to hit Kurdish targets, WSJ said in a report.
“The KRG is self-confident and there is no fear that the ISIS would attack here,” said Wladimir Van Wilgenburg, an analyst for the Jamestown Foundation. “But there is concern about possible infiltration of some ISIS fighters among the refugees, and that there may be suicide attacks and car bombs in KRG.” Mehmet Akif Okur, an expert on Middle East at the Ankara Strategy Institute, told Today’s Zaman on Wednesday that the West would like to use Kurds in the region to counter ISIS’s advancement and that this strategic card would strengthen Kurds’ position in the region. Foreign relations analyst Hasan Kanbolat agreed that KRG President Massoud Barzani may benefit from the situation. “It [ISIS’s advancement in the region] may expand the KRG’s territory and strengthen its control over oil fields. [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri] al-Maliki would also need to deal with ISIS and would leave the KRG alone,” Kanbolat told the daily.