The recent overwhelming vote for Kurdish independence is being regarded as yet another headache coming out of the Middle East by the Trump administration and the State Department. To be sure, if anyone deserves their own country, it is the Kurds. They are a religiously diverse and tolerant people who respect the rights of women, rare in the region and have been a stalwart American ally for decades. However, moral right is running up against geopolitical reality, as Hot Air points out.

Geopolitics likely dooms Kurdish independence

Greater Kurdistan,” as the Kurds call it, is a landlocked region that comprises pieces of Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Iraq.

Kurdish national aspirations date back to the breakup of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. Unlike those in the Middle East, the 30 million to 45 million Kurds have never succeeded in gaining their own country.

A serious bid for independence by the Kurds would earn the enmity and likely violent, military pushback by all four countries, two of which are American allies, Turkey and Iraq, and two enemies of the United States, Syria, and Iran. Since Kurdistan lacks an outlet to the sea, getting help to any Kurdish independence move would involve flying it in by air over hostile territory. Iraq has already closed the airspace of its Kurdish region. Turkey has threatened an armed invasion. Any American support would cause a rift with those two countries much to the detriment of the United States.

In any event, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has declared that the United States does not recognize any move by the Kurds to form their own country.

What happens next?

If the Kurds declare independence, they can expect no help from any other country with the possible exception of the Israelis, and limited if that. They are fierce fighters and have become well-armed as a result of the alliance with the United States against ISIS.

What the Kurds can expect is a long, bloody conflict that they will likely lose. Even if they were to win, the cost would be horrendous.

Hot Air holds out the hope that the Iraqi Kurds can use the referendum to extract more concessions from the government in Baghdad while remaining officially part of Iraq. That way, the Kurds can rely on Iraqi help against incursions by Turkey or Iran, Syria being too weak at the current time to do much of anything except survive on Russian and Iranian assistance.

Om that way, the Kurds maintain some degree of autonomy, with perhaps control over the oil fields in their territory, without having to fight a civil war. What happens to the Kurds in Syria, Turkey and Iran is a matter of conjecture, but it likely involves more suffering and death.