Date of Award

2-2016

Document Type

Capstone-Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Program Name

Intelligence Studies

Capstone Instructor

Dr. Marian Leerburger

Abstract

In the midst of a collapsing Iraqi state lies a peaceful, prospering territory known as Iraqi Kurdistan. Existing as a federal territory in Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan has sought independence for decades. A lack of international support and fear of negative consequences has kept independence at bay. The purpose of this research is to determine the effects that an independent, fully sovereign Iraqi Kurdistan would have on regional stability in Western Asia. An Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (ACH) is used to test several hypotheses with numerous independent variables that could affect internal stability, regional relationships, and the war with ISIL. The findings indicate that if Iraqi Kurdistan can utilize an earned sovereignty approach to achieving independence, there is a possibility for increased regional stability across Western Asia. One critical factor for greater stability is Turkey’s position on independence, which could greatly affect Iraqi Kurdistan’s economy and the country’s success as a state. Other critical factors include gaining international recognition as a new state and the nature of future relationships between Baghdad and Erbil.

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