If this were a game of chess, the Iraqi Kurds would be white knights. Thanks to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, the semi-autonomous Kurdish territories remain intact even as Iraq has crumbled in the face of the ISIS incursion.

So why has Erbil, specifically the dominant Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), not pressed ahead with independence from Baghdad? The answers are to be found not in Erbil or Baghdad but in Washington and in Ankara. (CONTINUED - 1151 WORDS)