The Kurdish issue in the Middle East
Gérard Chaliand
Introduction by Gaïdz Minassian
Thursday 19 April 2018, at 7 pm

Practical Information

As the main players in the war against the Islamic State, the Kurds are now being attacked by the Turks in the Afrin district in Syria, and by the Iraqi Army in the south of Iraqi Kurdistan. Has realpolitik reclaimed its rights in the Middle East, while the Kurds are fighting for their independence? Can the Kurds, a people without a State, progress from having the right to exist to obtaining the right to self-determination? Gérard Chaliand, geostrategist and specialist in Kurdish issues will address these topics as our guest lecturer.


Originally from Belgium, Gérard Chaliand specialises in international relations and contemporary conflicts (guerrilla warfare, terrorism). He graduated from the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilisations and obtained a doctorate in political sociology, and has dedicated his life to geostrategy issues. A tireless observer of central and peripheral conflicts, Gérard Chaliand authored a thesis on revolutions in the developing world. In the 1950s, he became passionate about issues of decolonisation and argued for the independence of new countries (Algeria, Guinea-Bissau, and Vietnam). His commitment goes even further as he takes part in decolonisation guerrillas as an observer-participant (in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Caucasus). No conflict goes ignored, each is important in its own right ( Jordan, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Sri Lanka, Nagorno-Karabakh) and contributes something to the world’s architecture, often illustrating the international system’s shortcomings. Regarded as one of the most prominent French theorists of Realism, Gérard Chaliand has many years of experience in liberation movements, terrorism, and irregular or asymmetrical conflicts. Having just returned from Irak, where he observed the fall of the Islamic State, he will share his analyses on the region’s post-ISIS condition and on the state of the Kurdish issue at the Boghossian Foundation.

Gaidz Minassian is journalist at Le Monde and teacher at Science Po, Paris.

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