Editorial: Will CAISAAI 11 Contribute to the Economic Development of the Kurdish People?

BY ISAAC BYKHOVSKY, Financial Times

An exclusive interview Friday morning with the delegates writing the Cooperation Aid Infrastructure Security Autonomy Agenda Item 11 (CAISAAI 11) has brought the Financial Times numerous concerns about the economic viability of a future Kurdish region.

The delegates in this bloc, including France, Russia and Indonesia believe that CAISAAI 11 targets “cooperation, security, and optimization.” In their working paper, the group notes several infrastructure initiatives in their peace work framework—including the creation of a “TurkStream pipeline”, and “Kurdish Beltway.” The resolution includes a framework for member states participation, most notably by stating “Syria’s participation in the free infrastructure program is also be [sic] dependent on their acceptance of the [Kurdish Freedom] referendum.”  Unfortunately, the CAISAAI 11 makes no distinction on how these projects will be funded, and how they will be adopted and approved in the Middle Eastern nations they impact.

Their working paper uses the phrase “free infrastructure,” but as we know at the Financial Times, “free” does not exist. As background, the “Kurdish Question” pertains to Kurdish people living in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. It is hard to believe that Turkey would agree to have a pipeline in their namesake providing resources to the other states mentioned above. Turkey has a strained relationship with the Syrian government—as thousands of Syrians flee into Turkey to escape their civil war. Iran, an undemocratic regime with an exceptionally poor human rights record, is not likely to allow for such a project to occur on their land—Iran has a notable hatred towards the Turkish people. Iraq, on the other hand, has no resources to support their own national infrastructure. Left up to Syria, it’s hard to imagine they would support such an initiative, as they are amidst their own civil war.

The resolution states the “highway be maintained by both the Autonomous Kurdish Region of Northern Iraq and the Autonomous Kurdish Region of Rojava.” Granted, the resolution also states that both regions, upon their establishment, must secede their Body of Trade and Economic Cooperation to their parent states. This further adds to the confusion written above. These autonomous regions want to secede from their parent states to stop being victims of economic and humanitarian atrocities—yet this resolution aims to put the Kurdish economic destiny into the hands of their oppressors. Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria have futile economies destined for failure—and Russia hopes to put these states in-charge of the economic future of the Kurds. To the Financial Times, it does not at all seem that CAISAAI 11 will contribute to the economic development of the Kurdish People.

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