The Making of Kurdistan

A series on the future and implications of a Kurdish state.

A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter looks down the road to Makhmur that was retaken from the Islamic Sate, south of Erbil September 10, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Who are the Kurds? Is a future Kurdish state possible? Despite being more than 25 million strong, this Middle Eastern ethnic group has never had a country of its own. In this new series, we explore state-building efforts across the region and the implications of new alliances between Kurds and other actors in light of the fight against ISIS. 

With a video explainer on the group's history, an in-depth feature from Michael Petrou on the state of affairs in Iraq, a field report from Emily Feldman in Turkey, an essay on unlikely alliances by John Mitton, a look at Kurdish female fighters from Marie Lamensch and an update from Evon Sworesho on minorities caught in the fault lines — this is The Making of Kurdistan

In the series

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Video: Kurdistan Explained

Who are the Kurds? This short video explains what you need to know about the history of this Middle Eastern ethnic group, its state-building efforts and the conflicts surrounding it. Written and narrated by journalist Michael Petrou.

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Out of Iraq’s ashes, Kurdistan grows

Kurdish Iraqis have long dreamt of a state to call their own. With the support of Canadian troops, they are now gaining ground as the fight against ISIS continues. But what would their independence mean for the region? 


In Turkey, dashed hopes and deepening rifts

The election of a Kurdish political party to the Turkish parliament last summer offered glimmers of respite in a 30-year war between the government and Kurdish militants. But renewed tension and violence have tempered any expectations of progress or peace, as Emily Feldman reports from Istanbul. 

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Alliances of Convenience: The implications of a regional strategy against ISIS

Western governments emphasize the importance of regional actors in devising a solution to Syria’s civil war, but the interests of those involved — from the Saudi government to the Kurds — are drastically different from our own.

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Why We Fight: How female combatants factor into Kurdish state-building

Women fighting ISIS on behalf of Kurdish forces have diverse reasons for taking part in the war — but is their participation being used to romanticize the effort? 

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An uncertain future for minorities in a post-ISIS Iraq

As Evon Sworesho explains, there are many actors involved in the anti-ISIS fight in Iraq, but some are more vulnerable than others.