There is a date that could be conventionally considered the starting point of the Kirkuk issue. It is 11 March 1970, when the Kurds and the Iraqi government - after nine years of conflict - signed the “1970 Peace Accord”. The agreement granted autonomy to Iraq’s Kurdish governorates and, with regard to areas disputed due to mixed Arab-Kurdish populations, provided for a census and a plebiscite.
Spread across Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, Kurdistan is one of the hottest geopolitical areas in the Middle East. It is a land inhabited by over 30 million people, representing one of the largest stateless "nations" worldwide.
The Kurds play a crucial role in the region, and the so-called "Kurdish factor" has constantly been a key ingredient of recent Middle East crises: from the wars in Iraq under Saddam Hussein to the fight against the so-called Islamic State. Not to mention the strategic relevance that Kurdistan assumes as one of the oil-richest areas in the region.
What new balances would an eventual victory of Kurds over IS create? What are the long-term goals of the Kurdish community? How to reach a solution to the Kurdish question able to satisfy all the actors involved? Can we envisage a common future for the Kurds or will they remain tied to the political destinies of the countries they live in?
These are just some of the questions that this report tries to answer collecting contributions from leading international experts.