“Iran and Turkey are up in arms,” said Dr. David Romano. “This is tectonic.”
Romano is talking about the Kurdistan referendum on independence scheduled for Sept. 25.
As a professor of political science at Missouri State University, Romano’s research is on foreign policy in the Middle East. He spent half of his 2016-17 academic year sabbatical in Iraqi Kurdistan, behind the lines near Mosul.
He’s developing theories on why the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) hasn’t attempted to secede from Iraq sooner.
“They’ve been very careful and moderate in their foreign policy since the overthrow of Saddam,” said Romano.
But now the Kurds are making a big, strategic move, he added.
“If your regime is consolidated enough — if you’re secure enough domestically in your power, with institutions, with the competing parties in your government — then you can pursue a strategic foreign policy,” he said.
“However, if you’re in a life or death struggle with domestic opponents, you have to play the domestic political game.”
The U.S. position
Besides the emergence of the Palestinian State, the United States typically supports maintaining territorial boundaries overseas.
But Romano believes this is the best timing for Kurdistan to separate itself.
It’s also relevant to American interests due to the oil market and the international political landscape.
“Many are accusing the KRG of playing the referendum card to gain popular support,” said Romano. “But they export 600,000 barrels of oil per day, with up to a million per day on the horizon thanks to existing and pending deals with large multinational oil companies. It should not be ignored.”
Abdullah, director of culture and humanitarian affairs at the KRG Mission, will perform music on the oud and speak to current issues.
The performance will be held at 5 p.m. in Coger Theatre inside Craig Hall. It is free and open to the public.
For more information, contact Romano at 417-836-6957.