As debate on the Security Council continues, the objective of establishing a solution that will guide countries towards stability seems to come further into view. However, contrast of views and national policies regarding what needs to be done in order to reach such objective play a challenge upon delegates of the committee. In this brief interview, John Bowers – Director of the Security Council- has been able to tell us about the controversy within the issue of The Kurds and what is expected to be addressed in order to reach a successful resolution.
Q: While reading your study guide, I was able to identify that you were rather interested in the effect that bias has in the issues of today- and especially in topics such as this one. Could you please tell me how you have seen such bias present itself during the research that you carried out in order to produce a study guide that delegates can trust as a useful reference?
A: Our committee mainly centers on the recognition or lack of recognition of Kurdish minorities primarily in the countries of Syria, Turkey and Iraq. The really interesting thing about the Kurds is that they are a massive minority group that is believed to be largely nationalistic, and yet they do not have a nation. That brings a lot of contention. When I was doing research for this particular topic it was extremely difficult to find sources that were unbiased or that were entirely historical. Because even the smallest variation in the way that a sentence or a historical narrative is constructed can make up an entirely different message, entirely different validity claims, diverse issues such as the Kurdish state. For example, I actually went back as far as Grecian mythology and pre-Grecian mythology, and I think some of which was coming of The Old Testament. This allowed me to see how narratives starting in The Old Testament have sort of been carried through until today by interest groups on various either sides. So, there are a lot of Kurdish nationalist groups who claim that their own nations, their ethnic groups date back to 2000 B.C, and there are their also a bunch of different historical narratives- some of which are backed by the linguistic analysis or by other bodies of mythology- that establish the Kurds as a very fragmented population that does not truly have the sort of validity in making claims to nations.
Q: Regarding this impact that you have noticed, have you been able to find delegates that have been capable of picking it up by their own and reflecting on conference as well?
A: Absolutely. I think that’s a very important of committee, because those narratives – narratives regarding national rights, of shared identity- they are very important and they can be debated through both technical and cultural implications. But ultimately, the situation becomes enough more complicated when those narratives are combined with geopolitical interests, and that is something that we have seen a lot of in committee, as we have people who are actually using that national stories, where they are evoking history, evoking arguments that I saw during my research, in the service of ulterior geopolitical topics. So it really makes you start to think about the manner in which history and culture are used to justify interests that can be either economic or political or power-oriented, rather than solely and holistically committed to truth of culture.
Q: And what are some other positively impacting things that you have been able to see in your committee? Is there something that you would like for them to pick on in the future?
A: We have had some pretty incredible debates. We’ve been running this committee as a continual crisis, which means that we have all been able to see a ton of development throughout the course of our sessions. Most interestingly, perhaps, the Kurdish population in Northern Syria and the Kurdish population in Iraqi Kurdistan Autonomous Region have now joined forces and created a Stand Liberation Movement. They are now filling a really large army and they’ve got a lot of potential as a buffer against ISIS but at the same time they’ve posed several threats to all the region. So if you are Syria or Iraq or another country that has a Kurdish minority, you wouldn’t really want a president of a large number of Kurds taking weapons and declaring itself as a nation- even if that nation could be of service in the fight against ISIS. I think that delegates have been really picked up on that core contention. And then, I think that balancing the need to fight ISIS with the possibility of destabilizing their region by leaning on Kurdish forces.
Regarding to what I would like to see from delegates in the future, I think that we are getting closer to a resolution at this point, so it would be cool if delegates could spend more time on the resolutions considering how to create a stable state after the fall of ISIS – because currently the discussion is very much oriented towards the destruction of ISIS but what needs to be also be dealt with is what can be done once ISIS is destroyed. Say, if the Islamic State is completely gone and removed from the region, then what is next? I feel that a truly successful resolution would be one that can provide an answer to this question and can prove that the right mechanisms for a peaceful transfer of power, whether that means the establishment of an independent Kurdish State or the reabsorption of this currently highly autonomous region into existing geopolitical boundaries. I think that would really call my attention.