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Kurdish aspirations and interests of the UK

20 October 2017

The Foreign Affairs Committee asks the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to account for which Kurdish groups the UK has supported in the war against Daesh and why, what support has been given, and how it might affect the situation on the ground.

The war to defeat Daesh has seen a battle between a variety of competing groups to capture the territory that the extremists once held. 

Among them are Iraqi and Syrian Kurdish groups that had – in some instances with encouragement or material support from the UK – expanded the areas that they controlled. These developments have carried implications for Kurdish dynamics in other countries, such as Turkey.

Chair's comments

Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat MP, commented: 

"Kurdish communities were among the major victims of Daesh, but Kurdish armed groups have - with support from the UK and its allies - been at the forefront of the ground war to defeat the extremists. The end of Daesh's territorial control now means we must work to ensure that today's victories don't cause tomorrow's wars.

Kurdish armed groups hold complex alliances and animosities with one another, with the countries of the region, and with the abundance of non-state militias that are now operating there.  Kurdish elements have gained weapons and territory from the fight against Daesh that might yet be transferred to others. And the influence of some Kurdish groups has become unambiguous, even though their ultimate aims can sometimes remain unclear.

The Committee is now keen to learn what assessment the FCO has made of the aspirations of different Kurdish groups, how they relate to the interests of the UK, and what implications they might carry beyond the war against Daesh."

Send a written submission

The Committee welcomes written submissions focusing on: 

  • The extent and future implications of the UK's support for specific, named Kurdish groups against Daesh
  • The FCO's policy towards the territorial gains made by Kurdish groups in Iraq and Syria
  • The FCO's response to the independence referendum held by Iraqi Kurds in September 2017
  • The FCO's understanding of:
    a) the cooperation or competition between local Kurdish groups within, or between, different countries
    b) the support or opposition to different Kurdish groups by different countries in the region
    c) the objectives of different Kurdish groups, and how they relate to the interests of the UK
  • The FCO's policy towards conflicts between Kurdish groups and the state in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, or Iran
  • The likelihood and locations of future conflicts involving the Kurds, and the role that the FCO could play in preventing them

Send a written submission to the inquiry on Kurdish aspirations and the interests of the UK.

The closing date for submission of written evidence is Monday 20 November 2017.

We encourage members of underrepresented groups to submit written evidence. We aim to have diverse panels of Select Committee witnesses and ask organisations to bear this in mind when we ask them to choose a representative

Further information

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