Archive for the ‘Obama hold-overs’ category

State Dept Denies Request By US Ambassador Friedman, Says ‘Occupation’ Still Exists

December 27, 2017

State Dept Denies Request By US Ambassador Friedman, Says ‘Occupation’ Still Exists, Jewish PressHana Levi Julian, December 27, 2017

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman speaks during the 16th anniversary memorial ceremony for the victims of 9/11 attacks in a memorial monument in the Jerusalem Hills on September 11, 2017.

Because there is pressure “from above” involved in the issue, however, Friedman and those with whom there is a disagreement have agreed to review the matter, according to the report, leaving the final decision up to U.S. President Donald Trump.

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Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported Tuesday that the U.S. State Department has refused to comply with Ambassador to Israel David Friedman’s request that official documents no longer use the term “occupation” in its references to Israel.

Friedman, an attorney, explained (as he has a number of times in the past) that United Nations Resolution 242 was deliberately written at the time in such a way as to reflect that the areas in which Jewish communities were built were always intended to remain with Israel.

Because there is pressure “from above” involved in the issue, however, Friedman and those with whom there is a disagreement have agreed to review the matter, according to the report, leaving the final decision up to U.S. President Donald Trump.

Kredo: State Department using ‘pretzel logic’ in defiance of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel capital

December 14, 2017

Kredo: State Department using ‘pretzel logic’ in defiance of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel capital, Washington Free Beacon via YouTube, December 14, 2017

(Please see also, ‘Slow, Unexplained Erosion’ at State Dept. Putting U.S. at Risk, Argues Top Senator.  According to the linked article, many at the State Dept. are unhappy with Trump’s policies, including those related to Israel.  Many —  probably Obama hold-overs and other Deep Staters — are leaving but not being replaced. Most of the comments appended to the article generally agree that they should go and be replaced by others who support Trump’s policies.– DM)

About that Page/Strzok ‘insurance policy’

December 14, 2017

About that Page/Strzok ‘insurance policy’, Amerian ThinkerPatricia McCarthy, December 14, 2017

Bottom line?  Our DOJ and FBI (and the IRS) have been hopelessly corrupted by the Obama administration that used them to torment its opponents.  Neither agency can now be trusted. They are tainted by their self-righteous campaign to destroy a man they loathe for, most of all, being an outsider.  Trump was never a member of their exclusive club; he was busy working, building things all over the world, employing thousands of people, getting things done.  Imagine his frustration at the snail’s pace at which Congress works. They work hard at getting nothing done.

Hats off to Jim Jordon, Trey Gowdy, Louie Gohmert, Ron DeSantis, and Chuck Grassley, to name a few of the few.  Their responses to the thoroughly ridiculous conflicts of interest that invalidate the Mueller investigation are normal, and they are justifiably outraged.  The Democrats seem to have no problem at all with all the overt malice at the root of the Obama/Clinton plan to stop Trump.

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“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office – that there’s no way he [Trump] gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,

writes FBI counterintelligence officer Peter Strzok to FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was having an extramarital affair while spearheading both the Clinton email inquiry and the early Trump-Russia probe, adding,

“It’s like a life insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”  (March 4, 2016)

Isn’t it clear that “the path” was a developing strategy by which these co-conspirators would stop Trump by any means necessary?  Was it at that meeting with “Andy” McCabe, then #2 at the FBI, where the three of them conjured the idea of using the FISA court to get warrants in order to unmask members of the Trump campaign so they could be surveilled?

Surely, they would find something criminal.

“Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.” – Lavrentiy Beria, head of Joseph Stalin’s secret police

These people obviously believed themselves to be above the law.  And then when Trump became the GOP candidate, they instituted the next phase:   Use the fake dossier commissioned by the Hillary Clinton campaign, the one filled with all manner of fabricated crimes and offenses Trump had allegedly committed, maybe even pay Fusion GPS to amp it up, make it even more salacious.  Then they would use it to bring about Trump’s downfall?

They had planned to prevent his election.

When that failed, they planned to take him out before inauguration.

Once he was inaugurated, they doubled down.

In cahoots with Comey, they would lie, cheat and leak. Then, when for good reason, Trump fired James Comey, they, these arrogant, biased snobs at the FBI, shifted into high gear.  They began leaking like sieves (remember Ellen Farkus?).

Then there is Charles Ohr of the DOJ and his lovely wife Nellie.

Ohr met with Christopher Steele before and after the election; Steele is the man who provided the dirt on Trump via his pals in Moscow.   Then Mrs. Ohr got a Ham radio license!  The NSA would be hard pressed to capture those conversations.  So, an employee of the DOJ was paid by Fusion GPS to further harm Trump.

In an atypical moment of craven cowardice, Jeff Sessions foolishly recused himself from the made-up-out-of-whole-cloth collusion with Russia inquiry,  turning the power over the eventual investigation to Rod Rosenstein, the man who embarrassed himself at the hearing before the House Oversight Committee yesterday.  Jim Jordan, Trey Gowdy, and a few others asked him withering questions on point and got nowhere.  The man defended Mueller’s hiring a team chock full of progressive activists.  The obvious conclusion is that their mission, which they chose to accept, was to find Trump guilty of an impeachable offense.  There was no crime to begin with; Sessions never should have allowed this investigation.  But this team of witch hunters was given free rein and an unlimited budget to get the job done.

This is a constitutional crisis so much worse than Watergate that it boggles the mind.  Americans now are coming to grips with the fact that their government law enforcement institutions are corrupt to the core.  The Left embraces this reality because they think it benefits them.  The Republicans in Congress are, with several terrific exceptions, all Walter Mittys, powerful in their own minds but absolute wusses on planet earth.

Bottom line?  Our DOJ and FBI (and the IRS) have been hopelessly corrupted by the Obama administration that used them to torment its opponents.  Neither agency can now be trusted. They are tainted by their self-righteous campaign to destroy a man they loathe for, most of all, being an outsider.  Trump was never a member of their exclusive club; he was busy working, building things all over the world, employing thousands of people, getting things done.  Imagine his frustration at the snail’s pace at which Congress works. They work hard at getting nothing done.

Hats off to Jim Jordon, Trey Gowdy, Louie Gohmert, Ron DeSantis, and Chuck Grassley, to name a few of the few.  Their responses to the thoroughly ridiculous conflicts of interest that invalidate the Mueller investigation are normal, and they are justifiably outraged.  The Democrats seem to have no problem at all with all the overt malice at the root of the Obama/Clinton plan to stop Trump.

Let us hope that the IG investigation into all of this will be legitimate, honest and above board.   Is it looking into the Clintons’ corruption re: Uranium One, and their habit of selling access?  Will the IG report include information about the Clintons’ takeover of the DNC, the hacking of the DNC computers that they refused to let the FBI examine?  The murder of Seth Rich?  Who exactly is Imran Awan, the IT guy who probably knows everything and likely was blackmailing a few Dems?

The damning texts from Strzok to his paramour, an FBI lawyer, are a sad commentary on the state of the FBI.  The agency has a severe ethics problem and can no longer be trusted to enforce the law.   Mueller once headed the FBI but did not know better than to stack his team with anti-Trump activists!  That does not pass the smell test.  He did because he knew no one would stop him.  McCabe is tainted, as is Rosenstein.  Time will tell us how Wray performs but he has yet to impress.   As Camus said, “A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.”  Our FBI and DOJ have become wild beasts that threaten American civil society.

 

U.S. Still Won’t List Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital on Official Docs, Passports, Maps

December 9, 2017

U.S. Still Won’t List Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital on Official Docs, Passports, Maps, Washington Free Beacon , December 8, 2017

(Does this mean that everything is on-hold until the Palestinian Authority and Israel agree on who owns what in Jerusalem? How can the Amerian Embassy be built in Jerusalem until the matter is resolved? — DM)

The Old City in Jerusalem / Getty Images

“The specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations,” the official said. “The United States is not taking a position on boundaries or borders.”

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The United States still will not formally recognize Jerusalem as being located in Israel on official documents, maps, and passports, despite President Donald Trump’s announcement earlier this week that America is formally recognizing the holy city as Israel’s capital, according to State Department officials who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon about the matter.

Despite Trump’s declaration, which was formally codified on Wednesday into U.S. policy, the State Department is taking a more nuanced position on the matter, drawing some ire in Congress among pro-Israel lawmakers who accuse the State Department of undermining Trump’s efforts.

State Department officials this week had difficulty stating as fact that Jerusalem is located within Israel, instead trying to parse the issue as still subject to diplomatic negotiations.

State Department officials who spoke to the Free Beacon about the situation said that while it supports Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, it is not yet at the point where it will list Jerusalem as part of Israel on passports, maps, and official documents. This means that official documents, such as passports, will not, at this point, list “Jerusalem, Israel” as a place that exists.

The State Department’s careful parsing of the issue has already drawn outrage on Capitol Hill, where some lawmakers are describing this as part of an effort to undermine the Trump White House’s clear-cut declaration on the matter.

“The president is the commander-in-chief and America’s sole organ when it comes to conducting foreign policy,” Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Free Beacon.  “Article II of the Constitution does not vest this authority in bureaucrats in the State Department.”

“The State Department must permit Americans born in Jerusalem to list ‘Jerusalem, Israel’ on their passports and must follow the logical implications of this historic recognition in other policy areas,” DeSantis said. ” President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was the right thing to do and enjoys broad support from the American people; an entrenched bureaucracy has no right to stymie this decision.”

A State Department official who spoke to the Free Beacon about the matter made clear that the United States now “recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and its seat of government.”

However, “the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations,” the official said, explaining that the holy city’s exact location and placement in Israel proper is still up for debate.

“While we are affirming the current and historic reality of Jerusalem’s role as Israel’s capital and seat of government, any ultimate determination of sovereignty over Jerusalem will flow from the results of negotiations between the parties,” the State Department official explained.

With regards to U.S. passports for Americans born in Jerusalem, there will be no formal change in American policy on the matter.

The issue of listing “Jerusalem, Israel” as a person’s birthplace has been a hot button issue over the years, with a case even being adjudicated by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Americans born in Jerusalem still will not be able to list Israel as the birth nation on their passports.

“There is no change in policy at this time,” according to the State Department official. “We will provide any new guidance as and when appropriate.”

With regards to official maps and documentation, the State Department is still engaged in a process to figure out how exactly to classify Jerusalem.

“The president is taking a specific step in affirming that the United States believes that Jerusalem has and will continue to serve as Israel’s capital—and the U.S. is not backing off efforts towards encouraging the parties to resolve their differences over final status issues in a comprehensive peace agreement,” according to the State Department official.

However, the president’s declaration is limited in nature and is being reviewed by the State Department as it moves forward.

“The specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations,” the official said. “The United States is not taking a position on boundaries or borders.”

When asked if official documents will bear the words, “Jerusalem, Israel,” the State Department could not provide a concrete answer.

“This is quite a complex issue that we continue to study and work through,” the official said.

One senior official at a large, national pro-Israel organization cautioned against viewing the State Department’s stance as an effort to subvert Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem.

“It’s too early to panic,” the official, speaking on background, told the Free Beacon. “The administration was focused on getting the broad policy correct and meeting the president’s demand that we finally acknowledge the simple reality Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.”

“Now they’re going to take a month to figure out the consequences,” explained the official, who has been briefed on the situation. “Implementing pro-Israel fact-based policy is a new thing for some of our diplomats, and many others have forgotten how that works in recent years, so people are willing to give them some time. If at the end of the process nothing has changed, there will be broad criticism – to say nothing of pro-Israel voters around the county who will be bitterly let down.”

US State Department puts $700,000 into Hungarian media, demands “programming” against Orban, patriots

November 24, 2017

US State Department puts $700,000 into Hungarian media, demands “programming” against Orban, patriots, Jihad Watch

The U.S. State Department has courted controversy by announcing it will plough $700,000 into Hungarian media, angering the country’s anti-globalist, conservative government

This shocking report makes no sense given the commonalities between President Trump in “making America great again” and Victor Orban’s similar stance.

Orban has proved to be a rare strong figure in standing against unvetted mass Muslim migration that has seen Europe spiral into chaos. He has also opposed EU quotas in the face of threats of sanctions. In July, Orban stated that migrants were “poison” and “not needed.” Orban has also praised the victory of Donald Trump in putting America first, and declared 2017 “the year of rebellion” for Hungary.

Orban also upholds the cornerstone of democracy: free speech, which every brand of fascism has vehemently opposed. In a ground-breaking speech, Orban declared that “freedom begins with speaking the truth” and that “we must therefore drag the ancient virtue of courage out from under the silt of oblivion. First of all we must put steel in our spines.”

A message to take from the US State Department’s hostile move against Orban is that Trump still does not have control of the departments working under him. The many calls to “drain the swamp” still have not been heeded. As the article below points out:

The obvious subtext to all of this is that the State Department funding effort is intended to bolster anti-government and opposition media. This suggests it is still pursuing Obama era, anti-conservative policy objectives

It also suggests an undermining of the Trump Presidency. If not addressed, this will invite more such anti-Trump, anti-conservative initiatives which will have a negative impact upon Trump’s support base.

A month ago, Hungarian MP István Hollik expressed fears that “George Soros would use his organisation, now the second largest political activist charity in the world, to influence Hungary’s 2018 general election” and “remove Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party from power, tear down the border fence, and implement the ‘Soros Plan’ to flood Europe with one million third-world migrants annually.”

Given the catastrophe that Europe has faced with its Hijra invasion, the move to undermine Victor Orban’s government demands immediate attention and intervention by Trump, as questions mount: who is really controlling America?

“U.S. State Dept Puts $700,000 into Hungarian Media, Demands ‘Programming’ Against Orban, Patriots,” by Jack Montgomery Breitbart, November 22, 2017 (thanks to Inexion):

The U.S. State Department has courted controversy by announcing it will plough $700,000 into Hungarian media, angering the country’s anti-globalist, conservative government.

The funding was announced by U.S. Chargé d‘Affaires David Kostelancik, who has previously appeared to openly criticise the Trump administration by alluding to “apparent inconsistencies in [U.S.] foreign policy” and remarking that “not every criticism of the government is ‘fake news’.”

Breitbart London spoke to a State Department official who confirmed it supports what it calls “democracy and human rights programming” in many countries, and that its intentions in Hungary — a NATO ally — are to “support media outlets operating outside the capital … to produce fact-based reporting and increase their audience and economic sustainability”.

The State Department also echoed Kostelancik’s claim that too many Hungarian news outlets are sympathetic to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s popular conservative government — which has earned powerful enemies by opposing the European Union on mass migration, building a highly effective border wall, and exposing the network of European politicians deemed “reliable allies” by billionaire open borders campaigner George Soros.

The obvious subtext to all of this is that the State Department funding effort is intended to bolster anti-government and opposition media. This suggests it is still pursuing Obama era, anti-conservative policy objectives internationally in defiance of President Trump, who has praised Prime Minister Orbán — the first European leader to back him — as “strong and brave”.

The Hungarian leader has maintained a position of strong opposition to “globalist elites, the bureaucrats who serve them, the politicians in their pay, and the agents of the Soros-type networks that embody their interests” despite fierce opposition from Brussels, pro-mass immigration NGOs, and left-liberal U.S. media, believing he is standing up for a “silent majority” of hard-pressed families across the West, who wish to preserve their Christian heritage and national identity.

For its part, the Hungarian government has denounced the State Department for what it regards as blatant interference in its internal affairs ahead of national elections in Spring 2018.

“What is this if not an intervention in the election campaign and the domestic politics of Hungary? Which Washington office can judge the applications of media organisations from a Hungarian county and what kind of balanced service they would like to offer?” asked Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, who said it was shocking that American taxpayers’ money was being used to — to quote the State Department — “educate journalists on how to practice their trade” in an allied democracy.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has summoned the U.S. Chargé d‘Affaires, asking for an explanation, and told him that we consider this a political intervention by the U.S. Department of State ahead of the elections,” a spokesman added.

The Hungarians have also robustly rejected the State Department’s accusations that there is no press freedom in their country.

For example, Prime Minister Orbán’s Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, Dr. Zoltán Kovács, has highlighted the following exchange between journalists at Hungarian outlets 168óra and RTL Klub — neither of which “would ever be described as linked to the Orbán Government”, in his estimation:

168óra: Is there press freedom in Hungary?

Péter Kolosi: There is. If there weren’t, then there wouldn’t be an RTL Klub either.

Dr. Kovács then questioned whether Kostelancik — who is not the U.S. ambassador to Hungary, but only fulfilling that role temporarily while the Obama appointee he formerly served is in the process of being replaced — has any mandate to be attacking Hungary’s media landscape in the first place.

He also took the Chargé d‘Affaires to task for praising journalists of the “Communist old guard” who attended his speech for supposedly “striving to speak the truth” — a scene the Hungarian described as “stomach-turning”, given their history of collaboration with the Soviet-backed dictatorship.

Prime Minister Orbán, who opposed the Leftist regime at some personal risk as a younger man, has often chided Western leaders — and the European Union in particular — of “making excuses for the crimes of Communism”, and worked to make sure its victims are given due attention since his election.

Dr Kovács went on the publish a more extensive response to Kostelancik and the State Department, in which he lamented their actions as “astonishing and disappointing coming from an ally”.

Beyond the “clear interference in the domestic affairs of an ally”, he noted that “the media in the U.S. has its own issues. Criticisms related to concentration of media ownership, commercial relationships, and mainstream media bias – Harvey Weinstein, anyone? — are now the stuff of everyday in the U.S.”

He concluded by observing that one of Geroge Soros’s many so-called civil society organisations launched a media training operation in Hungary around the same time as Kostalencik announced the State Department funding scheme — leaving some suspicious as to who the “partner” the State Department intends to select to deliver its programme might turn out to be.

Hungary is in the midst of a fierce struggle with Soros and his EU backers over its opposition to his plan for the migrant crisis.

Hungary believes that the EU is implementing this plan on behalf of the convicted insider trader through the compulsory redistribution of migrants by a system quotas, among other measures, and is currently conducting a national consultation on it to demonstrate that its opposition to the plan has widespread public support…..

Trump calls ICE union chief after complaints of betrayal

November 23, 2017

Trump calls ICE union chief after complaints of betrayal, Washington Times, November 23, 2017

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers escort an arrestee during a series of early-morning raids on March 3, 2015, in the Bronx borough of New York. (Associated Press) **FILE**

The new administration’s leaders have announced a phaseout of the 2012 DACA program, and have reversed the Obama administration’s priority system that put more than 80 percent of illegal immigrants out of any substantive danger of deportation.

But the ICE Council says Obama holdovers are still thwarting a full revamp of the agency. The council did not name the holdovers.

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President Trump has reached out to the country’s deportation officers and asked for a meeting after their union president, Chris Crane, wrote a letter expressing disappointment in the slow pace of change at Homeland Security.

In the Nov. 13 letter, first reported by The Washington Times, Mr. Crane, president of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Council, said what was happening at the government’s chief interior immigration enforcement agency was “an embarrassment.”

Mr. Crane told the president of officers ordered to remove bullet proof vests for fear of angering illegal immigrants, and of dysfunction within agency leadership.

The ICE Council endorsed Mr. Trump during the presidential campaign and had anticipated having an open line of communication but Mr. Crane said that hasn’t happened, blaming the president’s aides for shutting stifling the relationship.

“Attempts to communicate concerns to you and requests for meetings with you are simply ignored,” Mr. Crane wrote, saying the union felt “betrayed.”

After the letter the president reached out and asked for a call, Mr. Crane says on jicreport.com, a new website the ICE Council set up to tell its story.

“I’m not going to discuss the content of our call publicly without the president’s consent,” Mr. Cranesaid on the site. “But as always the president treated me with the utmost respect, was polite and sincere, and asked a lot of questions to which I gave him straight answers. In the end, President Trump suggested a meeting which I of course accepted.”

“As I’ve told our officers and employees from the beginning, I trust this president and I know he’s going to keep his word and help us drain this swamp,” Mr. Crane continued. “He hasn’t forgotten us. He’s just busy running the country. The fact that he would take time out of his hectic schedule to call me should be proof of that.”

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The National ICE Council had asked for meetings with President Barack Obama during the previous administration and had sought to be included in conversations about immigration policy, but say they were shut out.

They chafed as Mr. Obama instead met with illegal immigrant Dreamers and advocacy groups who pushed the president to announce the 2012 DACA deportation amnesty, which Mr. Crane challenged in court on behalf of ICE deportation officers.

Mr. Crane and other deportation officers said they’d hoped Mr. Trump would move quickly to change the guidance from the Obama years.

The new administration’s leaders have announced a phaseout of the 2012 DACA program, and have reversed the Obama administration’s priority system that put more than 80 percent of illegal immigrants out of any substantive danger of deportation.

But the ICE Council says Obama holdovers are still thwarting a full revamp of the agency. The council did not name the holdovers.

Toward an independent Kurdistan

October 20, 2017

Toward an independent Kurdistan, Washington Times, James A. Lyons, October 19, 2017

Illustration on the strategic importance of an independent Kurdistan by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Unfortunately, with the Obama and Muslim Brotherhood holdovers still in key positions in the National Security Council, State Department and Department of Defense, the U.S. position has been to back the Iranian Baghdad puppet regime.

[W]hen you consider that one of the key U.S. objectives in the Middle East is (or ought to be) to prevent Iranian regional hegemony, a staunch ally like the Kurds, who have fought with us to defeat the Islamic State, is exactly what we need in this volatile region. In addition, as a free and independent Kurdistan is key to preventing Iran from establishing a land bridge from Tehran through Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea, the current U.S. position makes no sense. Further, should Iran be successful in establishing a land bridge to Lebanon, Tehran will be able far more readily to augment Hezbollah’s already formidable forces as a direct threat to Israel’s survival.

Besides providing verbal support for Kurdistan’s independence, we should take immediate action to establish a forward operating base in Irbil with its 13,000-foot runway, one of the longest in the world. We should plan to rotate a detachment of F-16s and A-10s in and out of the base. Additionally, such a move would complicate any plans by Baghdad, Tehran and Ankara for further aggressive action against Kurdistan. Such a move will not only enhance Israeli security but place added pressure on Iran, along with President Trump’s recent decision on refusing to recertify the unsigned nuclear weapons deal with Iran.

We need to face facts: The only true ally we have in the region today is Israel. A free and independent Kurdistan would clearly enhance the chances of achieving two of our joint, vital objectives in the Middle East — bolster Israel and add to our partners and allies in the region.

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq held a referendum on independence on Sept. 25. It was overwhelmingly approved. This referendum, not surprisingly however, has precipitously raised tensions not only with Iraq but also with Turkey, Syria and Iran, all of which have large — and restive — Kurdish minorities.

Baghdad already has made moves to isolate the Kurdish region by banning all international flights from landing there and demanding a halt to all crude oil sales. And although Ankara has quarreled repeatedly with the Iranian puppet regime in Baghdad in recent years, the Turkish government late on Oct. 16 decided to close not only Turkish airspace to flights to and from the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, but also to close the Irbil-Ceyan oil pipeline, which is the Kurds’ only source of revenue. Additionally, Turkish and Iraqi troops had held joint military exercises shortly after the Sept. 25 referendum vote.

In what may presage a new and violent phase in the break-up of Sykes-Picot Iraq, Baghdad moved aggressively on Oct. 16, sending Iraqi Army troops into the disputed oil-rich city of Kirkuk. Further, units of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, a coalition of Shiite paramilitary groups that receive equipment and training from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), were deployed alongside the Iraqi Army units south and west of Kirkuk. It is a city of a million people that lies just outside the semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government territory. When the Iraqi Army deserted Kirkuk in 2014 in the face of the Islamic State onslaught, however, it was the Kurdish Peshmerga forces deployed there that kept the Kirkuk oil fields from falling into the Islamic State’s hands. They have declared that they are now not about to give up that territory. Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who is the commander of the IRGC Qods Force in charge of Iran’s foreign operations, arrived in Kurdistan on Oct. 15 for discussions — but only with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), not the rival Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). He apparently presented Baghdad’s demands that the Kurdish Regional Government cancel the referendum results as a precondition for talks to resolve the current dispute. KRG officials led by President Masoud Barzani not only previously had rejected any such demands, but pledged to defend Kurdish-held territory in case of attack.

With Iranian-dominated Iraqi and Shiite militia forces now in control of Kirkuk, though, at least in part due to apparent PUK treachery, the region and its deeply divided factions may be poised on the brink of yet another explosion. According to reports, the KDP Peshmerga forces fought hard to avoid being pushed out of Kirkuk, but ultimately had to retreat when their ammunition ran out. Thousands of civilians and Peshmerga fighters fled toward Irbil and Sulaymaniyah.

Unfortunately, with the Obama and Muslim Brotherhood holdovers still in key positions in the National Security Council, State Department and Department of Defense, the U.S. position has been to back the Iranian Baghdad puppet regime.

The Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 is dead. The U.S. must recognize the realities on the ground. The former Iraq, like the former Syria, has always been an artificial construct, cobbled together by European powers in the wake of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Absent the brute force of a dictator, these entities simply cannot hold together against the clashing centrifugal forces of their feuding ethnic, sectarian and tribal components.

Further, when you consider that one of the key U.S. objectives in the Middle East is (or ought to be) to prevent Iranian regional hegemony, a staunch ally like the Kurds, who have fought with us to defeat the Islamic State, is exactly what we need in this volatile region. In addition, as a free and independent Kurdistan is key to preventing Iran from establishing a land bridge from Tehran through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea, the current U.S. position makes no sense. Further, should Iran be successful in establishing a land bridge to Lebanon, Tehran will be able far more readily to augment Hezbollah’s already formidable forces as a direct threat to Israel’s survival.

Besides providing verbal support for Kurdistan’s independence, we should take immediate action to establish a forward operating base in Irbil with its 13,000-foot runway, one of the longest in the world. We should plan to rotate a detachment of F-16s and A-10s in and out of the base. Additionally, such a move would complicate any plans by Baghdad, Tehran and Ankara for further aggressive action against Kurdistan. Such a move will not only enhance Israeli security but place added pressure on Iran, along with President Trump’s recent decision on refusing to recertify the unsigned nuclear weapons deal with Iran.

We need to face facts: The only true ally we have in the region today is Israel. A free and independent Kurdistan would clearly enhance the chances of achieving two of our joint, vital objectives in the Middle East — bolster Israel and add to our partners and allies in the region.

• James A. Lyons, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, was commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.