The Desecuritization of the Kurdistan Regional Government and its Redefined Role in the Security Dynamics of Middle East

Authors: Juan Castillo*, Universidad Nacional Autonoma De Mexico
Topics: Middle East
Keywords: Securitization, Desecuritization, Regional Security Complex, Kurdistan Regional Government, Kurdish question in Iraq
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Balcony N, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The process of state-building in the Middle East has run parallel to a politicisation of the ethnicity since the early 20’s. This brought about narrowly-defined ethnolinguistic political systems in Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq. As a consequence, violent conflicts were triggered in countries with significant Kurdish populations for most of the XX century. The aim of this paper is to examine the securitization-(de)securitization paths of the trans-border Kurdish space since the end of the Gulf War and the emergence of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) as a de facto state in 1992. Using the Regional Security Complex (RSC) framework of the Copenhagen School, this work argues that the Kurdish question in Iraq has been gradually de-securitized by local actors and regional states, particularly Turkey and Iran. This process has taken place with the establishment of Iraqi Kurdistan as an autonomous de facto region and the advancement of its statehood project since the end of the nineties. These countries have, in turn, promoted their security interests by deliberately support local constituencies and extending, both their military and political presence in the Iraqi Kurdistan. According to RSC theory, security interdependencies built around these asymmetric relationships between State and non-State actors have turned Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq into a “Regional Security Subcomplex.” The KRG has become both, a buffer zone sitting at the heart of the Middle East security complex and since 2014 an active actor in the competition with Turkey and Iran over political influence in Syria and Iraq.

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