Kurdish and Palestinian Quests for Self-Determination

PRIO Policy Brief

Jensehaugen, Jørgen & Pinar Tank (2019) Kurdish and Palestinian Quests for Self-Determination, MidEast Policy Brief, 1. Oslo: PRIO.

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​Over the past few years, both the Kurds of the Northern Syrian enclaves of Rojava, represented by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and the Palestinians, represented by the Palestinian Authority (PA), have made great gains in the field of public diplomacy. This policy brief assesses the viability of these two national movements’ quests for self-determination in the current regional situation. Through a comparison of the Kurdish and Palestinian cases, we argue that nationalism and self-determination are not static ideologies. Rather, what national independence means transforms in response to the opportunities and constraints presented by the regional context. Notions of nationhood and demands for independence are thus negotiated through what we term the “politics of the possible”.

Introducing the MidEast Policy Brief Series

​The MidEast Policy Brief series was launched in late 2019. The series aims to disseminate timely and relevant research to the wider public on topics relating to the MENA region, and provide research-based policy advice. Three policy briefs have been published in the series. The first assesses the viability of Kurdish and Palestinian quests for self-determination, the second lays out misconceptions about the Yemen War, while the third scrutinizes the foundations of the EU policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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