I found this op-ed by U. S. Representative Francis Rooney at RealClearWorld on the differences between Catalonia and Iraqi Kurdistan interesting:
Catalonia and Iraqi Kurdistan are engulfed in identity crises. While the two independence movements are the subject of frequent comparison, their situations differ because of historical, cultural, and economic ties with their respective mother countries. Catalonia and Spain share a deep and longstanding unity, while Kurds have a loose union with the rest of Iraq and lack a shared history beyond the past one hundred years. Not surprisingly, a silent majority of Catalans seems to support a unified Spain, while a clear majority of Iraqi Kurds desire self-rule.
These discrepancies call for different solutions to the two predicaments. Instead of pursuing an independent state, Catalonia should look to Italian regions that are seeking greater autonomy within Italy. Conversely, the Kurdish independence movement compares with Kosovo in the 1990s, where an ethnically, culturally, and religiously different state seceded from Serbia.
There is one sense in which the two cases are very much alike: we shouldn’t support independence either for Catalonia or Iraqi Kurdistan. Both cases would be disasters, destabilizing their respective regions. In the case of Iraqi Kurdistan independence would be likely to foment a war that would embroil not just the Kurds and Iraqis but the Iranians, Turks, Syrians, in all likelihood the Saudis and possibly the Israelis.
If the Kurds manage to wrest their independence from Iraq we might be forced to accept it as a fait accompli but it’s not something we should be supporting. Catalonian independence on the other hands sounds for all the world to me like a power grab by a handful of Catalan politicians.