The Impacts of Oil on Secessionist Groups in the Oil Producing Regions: The Case of Kurdistan Region of Iraq in 2017




Saeed, Yerevan

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This dissertation explores the causes of the 2017 independence referendum in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and specifically gauges the impacts of oil on the process. The study argues that the referendum was a result of a fusion of intertwining grievances and overlapping opportunities, enhanced by the Kurdish frustration with the West, in particular the United States. Accordingly, the referendum was held because of: 1- the growing Kurdish disappointment with Baghdad in post -2003 due to the outstanding political, territorial, financial, and security grievances, 2- the surface of unprecedented opportunities¬– a weakened central government, Kurdish territorial expansion, doubling oil production, and Western support¬– because of the advent of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and 3- the Kurdish frustration with the West’s broken promises regarding the future of Kurds in Iraq. The findings also establish that oil had anti-secessionist effects on the outcome of the Kurdish secessionist bid because oil created an illusion of political and economic independence.



International relations, Middle Eastern studies, Political science, Ethnic Conflict, Kurdish Studies, Nationalism, Oil Curse, Resource Curse, Secession