Posted tagged ‘Kurdish state’

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.

Iran has given US ‘slap in the face’ with Kirkuk: expert

October 19, 2017

Iran has given US ‘slap in the face’ with Kirkuk: expert, RudawRebaz Ali, October 17, 2017

Iran has delivered the US a “slap in the face” by backing Hashd al-Shaabi’s march on Kirkuk within just 60 hours of US President Donald Trump’s speech, says Michael Pregent.

Speaking to Rudaw’s Rebaz Ali on Monday as events were unfurling in Kirkuk, Pregent expressed frustration over Washington’s stance on the Kurds, believing Washington is too close to the ruling Dawa party of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Answering questions from the media later in the day, Trump refused to take sides, simply stating “We don’t like the fact that they’re clashing. We’re not taking sides, but we don’t like the fact that their clashing.”

A Middle East analyst, Pregent is a former intelligence officer for the US Departments of Defense and State. He embedded as an advisor to the Peshmerga in Mosul in 2005-2006

Rudaw: Why is the US so silent on the situation happening in Kirkuk and Hashd al-Shaabi using American weapons against Peshmerga?

Michael Pregent: We’re surprised. We issued an order, not an order but a warning to Baghdad not to use military force against Kurdish positions in and around Kirkuk. Secretary Mattis said that, the president gave a very strong speech on Friday designating the Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization and the Hashd al-Shaabi are commanded by IRGC affiliates, Revolutionary Guard Corps affiliates. We pay money to the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and they’re shifting American resources and equipment to these Iranian-led militias. We had a statement today that the Baghdad spokesman said Qassem Soleimani is an advisor to the Hashd al-Shaabi.

We are watching. I know we’re watching. The DoD (Department of Defense) is aware, the Pentagon’s aware and we’re going to see the results tomorrow morning in DC of what happened in the last six hours and through the night. We’re likely to see that this is exactly what the United States cannot allow. But more importantly, this just shows that we’re losing leverage with Baghdad. If you warn Baghdad and they do it anyway, it’s because Tehran is telling them to do it and they are okay with it, they agree. But this is an opportunity now for the United States, especially after the president’s speech, where he was very tough on Iran, to do something because this is testing American resolve by a Qassem Soleimani-led force moving against our allies, allies we’ve had since the Gulf War, even before that, moving against our allies less than 60 hours after the president designated them a terrorist group*.

So tomorrow, Washington DC will wake up and see what happens and everybody hopefully holds their positions tonight, the Iraqi security forces stop, the Hashd al-Shaabi are declared an illegal military, an illegal militia and moved out. But tomorrow, veterans of the Iraq war, myself and others, veterans in Congress that I speak to will be making our voices as loud as we can for the US to do something. This is, as an American who fought with the Peshmerga, to see this is… uh… I don’t have any words. So, we’ll see what happens tomorrow.

We just saw a statement from the Pentagon asking both sides to be calm and to restrain from using violence, but in fact, it’s the Hashd al-Shaabi who started attacking the Peshmerga and they started the violence that the Pentagon is talking about. What do you think about that?

Well, I saw the statement and the language I didn’t like was ‘we urge both sides to stop, yet we still condemn the Kurdish referendum’. That language actually gives Tehran, Baghdad, and Ankara a green light to do these types of actions. The United States needs to have a strong statement. The vote was a democratic vote. The vote was not an illegal vote. It should not be met with force. It should not be met with violence. I don’t believe that that was crafted by Mattis. I believe it was crafted by the DoD communications department, because the language is not Mattis-like. The language is very Brett McGurk-like… and [it’s a problem].

So people like yourself, the veterans, how do you think they’re going to respond to this? You fought against this in Iraq for years and now you see this happening. This must be frustrating for you and people like yourself. What do you think you need to do? 

Well, the thing we’ve been fighting for for two years is the designation of the Revolutionary Guard corps as a terrorist organization and the decertification of the Iran deal. We got that Friday. That needs to mean something. Our Sunni regional allies heard the president’s message. It was very strong. This should restore confidence in our regional allies.

Pillar number one is to neutralize the Revolutionary Guard Corps’ destabilizing activities across the region. The Kirkuk operation is a destabilizing activity. You can’t give a tough speech and then allow Iran less than 60 hours later to move against an ally. So I would hope that veterans are upset as well, civilians alike.

The Kurdish people are built for western democracy support. They’re built for democratic support. They’re tolerant, they’re accepting, and I find it ironic that the United Nations and other non-government organizations choose to operate out of Kurdistan in order to help Iraqis throughout. When there’s instability in Baghdad, when ISIS invaded Iraq, people go to Kurdistan. Why do they go to Kurdistan? Because it’s an accepting region, it takes care of its own security. It’s an ally of the West. There’s problems, yes, but let’s talk about the problems. We don’t use military action to solve them.

We saw the speech by the president on Iran, but now we see that Qassem Soleimani has been going around in Iraq, meeting with the prime minister and ordering the Hashd al-Shaabi and other militias against the Kurdish Peshmerga, as you said, less than 60 hours after the president’s speech. What does that say about the US involvement in Iraq? Do you think after this or tomorrow, are we going to see less support for the government of Iraq and Prime Minister Abadi from the US government, after what they have seen in the last couple of days, the Iraqis dealing with Qassem Soleimani and the IRGC?

Well, this shows the president that the Iranians didn’t take him seriously. They heard the speech and they’re scoffing at it. This is a slap in the face to a US president by conducting these types of activities after this speech.

Baghdad is part of this, so Baghdad is doing the same thing. I don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors, but I do know that Secretary Mattis issued a statement and Abadi promised the United States he would not conduct an offensive operation against the Kurds. That operation is ongoing now. I truly believe that even if Abadi didn’t want to do it, the Iranians could still make this happen. The Quds force commander on the ground, I don’t know his name, but he actually told KDP officials and PUK officials, “Listen, either work with us or we can bring the whole Iraqi army here.”

So this is an Iranian commander telling Kurdish political parties that we can tell the Iraqi army what to do, we can tell the Iraqi government what to do. And I think that everybody believes that, because we’re seeing it. We’re witnessing it.

So you said this is a slap in the face for President Trump. How do you think President Trump would react to this slap in the face? Do you think that he’s going to accept it?

I don’t think President Trump knows he’s been slapped in the face. The president needs to know who the Kurds are. The president needs to know that the Kurds have been our strongest US ally in Iraq. That the Kurds have helped us fight ISIS, they helped us decimate al-Qaeda. They’ve protected Sunnis, Christians, Shiite nationalists from reprisal attacks from Shia militias as civilians fled to Kurdistan after the violence in Baghdad in 2005-06.

I was actually in Duhok and a family came up to me and said, ‘We can’t talk to you in Baghdad, and thank you, because we’ll get targeted, but thank you for being here.’ I didn’t know who they were. I said ‘Where are you from?’ They said, ‘We’re from Sadr city.’ So that means something.

But I think the president needs to know who the Kurds are and I don’t think he does. [Secretary James] Mattis does, H.R. McMaster does, I don’t think [Rex] Tillerson does. And I think Brett McGurk knows exactly who the Kurds are, but he’s already picked sides. And that’s not coming from me necessarily. That’s coming from everybody I’ve talked to on the ground in Iraq, from Sunni nationalists, Kurdish nationalists, Shiite nationalists, they say the biggest problem is the US government is listening more to the Dawa party than they are to anybody else in Iraq.

What’s happening now is all going on in front of the US government’s eyes. They see how Prime Minister Abadi and the government of Iraq have been declining calls for negotiation from the KRG in order to avoid violence. There has been a blockade, international flights have been banned. And the KRG have been trying to do everything to start negotiations in order to avoid violence, but Prime Minister Abadi and the government in Iraq have declined that. What do you think the United States should do? Why have they been so silent against this?

I think the biggest problem is we’ve given the Iraq portfolio to a man from the Department of State – to Brett McGurk. Now Brett McGurk told DC, Baghdad, Tehran, and Ankara that he could stop the Kurdish people from voting, that the US had enough leverage with the Kurds to get them to stop. Last night, he probably told DC that he had enough leverage with Baghdad to get Baghdad to stop, to not go into Kirkuk. Either that, or he’s signaled some sort of green light.

I’m frustrated by this, because this does not bode well for the relationships we’ve established with Kurds. The Peshmerga that I know, I’ve known for almost 12 years now, and I don’t ever want to put a time limit on a friendship or an alliance. And I think this is a moment where the United States… you know we got the strong statement on Iran, we got a designation of the IRGC, we’re talking about their destabilizing activities. This is what it looks like less than 60 hours after the speech. This is a provocation. This is a slap in the face.

How do you envision the future relationship between the US and the Kurdish government after what’s happening now? A lot of people believe that they have been betrayed by the US government.

Well if this continues and Baghdad conducts a military operation like they have against ISIS-held territory, if you start seeing mortars and artillery like we’re seeing tonight in – what’s the name of the city?

Tuz.

Yes. We’re seeing that now. I would hope that this gets taken care of tomorrow, that this stops. But our relationship with Kurdistan – basically, every US soldier that has ever worked with a Peshmerga is now looking to our US government, saying ‘Don’t do this to this ally of ours, you can’t do it.’ I don’t even have the words for this.

* On Friday, President Trump authorized sanctions on the IRGC for its support of terrorism, but stopped short of designating the force a terror organization.

Iran, Turkey, & Iraq move to “crush” Kurds, Christians

October 14, 2017

Iran, Turkey, & Iraq move to “crush” Kurds, Christians, Rebel Media via YouTube, October 14, 2017

United States may act pragmatically but should eventually stand with the Kurds

October 3, 2017

United States may act pragmatically but should eventually stand with the Kurds, Center for Security Policy, Luis Fleischman, October 3, 2017

(Please see also, Hypocrisy: A state for the Palestinians but not for the Kurds or Catalonia. — DM)

The U.S should stick to principles. We must act pragmatically, but we must also view the Kurds as our allies. We owe them and should not betray them. Members of Congress have spoken out on the issue; the Administration should do the same.

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On September 25th, Iraqi Kurds voted in a referendum for independence from the Iraqi state.

The plebiscite reflects the aspirations of the Kurdish people for self-determination. Though non-binding, 93% of the voters supported the referendum, revealing the strength of the Kurdish will for independence.

Historically, countries in the Middle East have denied sovereignty to non-Arab and non-Muslim groups in favor of Arab or Islamic hegemony throughout the region. Therefore, the idea of creating minority states has always been met with resistance and even violence.

In the Arab world, there are substantial non-Arab minorities, such as the Kurds, and non-Muslim minorities, such as Christian Arabs. Some of these minorities were integrated into their respective countries, but others were legally discriminated against or oppressed in some way or another. The only minority group to successfully achieve self-determination were the Jews, and Israel therefore remains a symbol of indignation to the much larger Arab and Muslim majority countries in the region.

This attitude has been encapsulated by the Palestinian Authority’s reaction to Kurdish secession in Iraq. Despite its own aspirations for self-determination, the PA has declared opposition to Kurdish independence because “Kurdish independence would be a poisoned sword against the Arabs,” according to Saeb Erekat, a senior adviser to the PA. Again, the Palestinians seem to hold onto this old Pan-Arabic, Pan-Islamic view that sovereignty of minorities is not to be tolerated.

Although they are Muslim, the Kurds have retained a distinct language and culture, and have viewed themselves historically as a separate non-Arab group with a unique tradition. About 25 million Kurds live in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey altogether.

In Syria, the Kurds have been discriminated against systematically; they lack Syrian citizenship and are entitled neither to medical care nor even bank accounts. In Iraq, they were subjected to coerced Arabization and under Saddam Hussein gassed thousands of Kurds and expelled many hundreds of thousands more.

In Iran, Kurds have been coerced into cultural assimilation and many of their political and intellectual leaders have been executed. Thus, when the Kurds approved the referendum in Iraq, the large Kurdish population in Iran was jubilant. leaving the Iranian government uneasy.

After the Kurds approved the referendum, Turkey threatened to cut off their oil pipeline to the region. The Iraqi government also made threats aimed at boycotting and making the Kurds’ lives increasingly difficult. Even worse perhaps, Iraq joined forces with Iran, aiming to secure Iraqi control over border crossings from Kurdish-controlled areas.

Although Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has told the Kurds that the U.S would not recognize the referendum, calling it ‘illegitimate”, the coalition of Iraq, Iran and Turkey against the Kurds should be strongly repudiated. The U.S can try to mediate in the negotiations in order to pacify tensions between the Kurds and their neighbors, but should also strongly oppose measures against the Kurds.

The Kurds have been an invaluable tool in the fight against ISIS; for that reason, have proved to be one of most reliable allies we have in the Middle East.

Moreover, Iran continues to be a rogue state that carries out destabilizing activities in the Middle East and elsewhere. If the Kurdish referendum promotes Kurdish dissidence in Iran, this should be a welcoming development in itself.

In addition, for the government of Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi in Iraq to use Iran as recourse against the Kurds, it is an evidence of how unreliable the Iraqi government is. Iran has established Shiite sectarian rule in Iraq and made way for the Sunni alienation that eventually gave rise to ISIS. The U.S must remain determined in its message that alliances with Iran are not to be tolerated.

Curiously, a news analysis published by the New York Times criticized the Kurdish leadership as monarchical, non-democratic, dynastic, and therefore unworthy of self-governance.  These assertions are clearly untenable, given the fact that the governments of those neighboring countries that reject Kurdish independence are also patently undemocratic, yet their legitimacy is not questioned. The Times, which enthusiastically champions Palestinian self- determination, forgets that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is a corrupt and oppressive kleptocracy– not much better than a monarchical dynasty. Furthermore, there are very few examples in history where countries that gained independence immediately established a democratic government.

The U.S should stick to principles. We must act pragmatically, but we must also view the Kurds as our allies. We owe them and should not betray them. Members of Congress have spoken out on the issue; the Administration should do the same.

Why is the US against Kurdish independence?

October 2, 2017

Why is the US against Kurdish independence?, Israel Hayom, Zalman Shoval, October 2, 2017

Back then, two people crushed all the schemes: David Ben-Gurion, who understood that it was an opportunity for the Jewish people that would not come again, and U.S. President Harry Truman, who despite the positions of most of his advisers decided to recognize the state of Israel as soon as it declared independence. Will Massoud Barzani, the undeclared president of the Iraqi Kurdistan, and President Trump follow in their footsteps?

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“The vote and the results lack legitimacy,” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared, referring to recent events in Kurdistan. Similar remarks were made by the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad, Douglas A. Silliman, and U.S. President Donald Trump’s special envoy Brett McGurk.

The American opposition to Kurdish independence takes us back in time 70 years, when the leadership of the Jewish population in prestate Israel announced its plan to declare independence. In response, the U.S. State Department began working assiduously, sometimes making threats, to scupper that decision. Then-Secretary of State Gen. George Marshall, who was covered in glory after World War II, as well as the entire American foreign policy and defense establishment, took a firm stance against the establishment of the Jewish state.

Their official reasons (other than the anti-Semitism that was rife in the State Department and the defense and intelligence establishments) were very similar to Washington’s arguments against Kurdish independence – namely, that it will destabilize the region. Then, like now, oil factors into the U.S. position. Back in the day, American officials were worried that supporting the Jewish state would endanger the supply of Arab oil to America and its relations with the Arab world in general. This time, America is afraid that the Kurds’ intent to control Kirkuk, one of Iraq’s main oil-producing areas, will hurt the chance of it developing good relations with the government in Baghdad, including on oil issues.

Washington is trying to convince the Kurds that it only wants them to “postpone” their declaration of independence to a more convenient time, whereas in 1948, the U.S. administration – encouraged by the British Foreign Office – intended to thwart the establishment of a state by setting up a provisional international government in Palestine. Now the U.N. is also trying to persuade the Kurds to be satisfied with a compromise under which they would “postpone” independence in exchange for various rights and benefits as part of a united Iraq. In 1948, too, the U.N. played an active part when Count Folke Bernadotte suggested tearing the Negev Desert and Jerusalem off of Israel.

While the opposition of Iran, Iraq, and Turkey, which also have sizeable Kurdish minority populations, to an independent Kurdistan is clear, it is harder to justify the American administration’s position. Washington claims that the Kurdish declaration of independence supposedly hurts the war against the Islamic State, but the Kurdish peshmerga army aims to oust the Islamic State from the land Kurdistan wants to claim as its own. This interest will be even more important once independence is declared.

Aside from the moral aspect, it is difficult not to wonder at the mistake that is dictating the current U.S. position that preventing Kurdish independence and preserving the unity of the artificial Iraqi state will secure Washington’s influence in the region when in practice Iran is increasingly the one that is running the show. As with Israel 70 years ago, the new state – if it is founded – can expect violence from day one. Back then, it was the Arab states; this time, it will be the Iraqi government or possibly Iran and Turkey.

Back then, two people crushed all the schemes: David Ben-Gurion, who understood that it was an opportunity for the Jewish people that would not come again, and U.S. President Harry Truman, who despite the positions of most of his advisers decided to recognize the state of Israel as soon as it declared independence. Will Massoud Barzani, the undeclared president of the Iraqi Kurdistan, and President Trump follow in their footsteps?

Washington’s despicable hypocrisy towards the Kurds

September 27, 2017

Washington’s despicable hypocrisy towards the Kurds, PJ Media,  David P. Goldman, September 25, 2017

There are 40 million Kurds living in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria, and the question of Kurdish statehood can’t be untangled from the regional mess by a referendum. There is good reason to counsel the Kurds to exercise patience and careful statecraft in clearing this minefield. But it is utterly disgusting to ignore their national aspirations. Washington has reasons of state to manage the regional crisis artfully, and to ask the Kurds to be patient. But why are we so beholden to the doomed and destructive regimes of Iran, Syria, Turkey and Iraq that we cannot extend a hand of friendship to the Kurds? Their path to statehood may be tortuous and prolonged, but America should offer our counsel and support. If we do not, the rest of the Muslim world will smile grimly and exploit our moral cowardice.

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At Asia Times today, I explain why the entire world (excepting Israel) have lined up against the Kurds:

Except for the State of Israel and the Kingdom of Jordan, there isn’t one state in Western Asia that is viable inside its present borders at a 20-year horizon. All the powers with interests in the region want to kick the problem down the road, and that is why the whole world (excepting Israel) wants to abort an independence referendum to be held by Iraq’s eight million Kurds on Sept. 25.

I just want to add that our foreign policy elite is a pack of hypocritical, yellow-bellied, two-faced, fork-tongued, lying polecats who wouldn’t acknowledge the truth if it were tattooed on their ophidian foreheads.

Since September 11, 2001, we’ve been told that America has to ally with moderate Muslims against “extremism.” There are in fact moderate Muslims in the world. The Kurds are “moderate Muslims.” The Kurds do not persecute nonbelievers. They don’t hate Jews and Christians. They don’t forbid women to leave the house without a male relative; in fact, their militias are the only effective fighting force in the world that includes women in front-line combat units. They protect Iraqi Christians against ISIS, and Iraq’s Christians in turn support Kurdish independence. They have excellent and long-standing relations with the State of Israel. Jewish life is flourishing in the Kurdish Autonomous Region in the north of Iraq.

Most of all, Kurdish fighters are the spearhead of American-backed ground forces fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq. They do not only act the way we say we want Muslims to act, protecting Christians and Jews and promoting the equality of women. They shed blood for what they believe in.

The Kurds are everything that George W. Bush and Barack Obama told us we should find in the Islamic world, and more. They want nothing but friendship with the United States of America. And we have thrown them under the bus. There isn’t an Appalachian outhouse that stinks worse than our foreign policy Establishment.

Why have we thrown them under the bus? Because we’re afraid of unsettling “extremists,” that is, the radical jihadists who have been killing Americans for decades. Kurdish independence would below up the artificial state of Iraq, which turned into an Iranian satrapy under majority Shi’ite rule as arranged by George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice and the nation-builders of the Republican Establishment. It would destabilize Turkey, where Kurds of military age will outnumber Turks a generation from now. Turkish President Erdogan wants to restore Ottoman glory and the prospect of losing the Kurdish-majority Southeast drives him crazy. Turkey, notionally the Southeast flank of NATO, has already turned its back on the West, and lined up with Russia and China.

Thanks in small part to our bungling and in large part to Iran’s predation, the whole of Western Asia is unstable. Syria and Iraq look like the kind of scene from a Quentin Tarantino film where everyone has a gun trained on everyone else. The one island of stability in the whole miserable landscape, Iraqi Kurdistan, becomes a threat to the momentary stability of the region.

There are 40 million Kurds living in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria, and the question of Kurdish statehood can’t be untangled from the regional mess by a referendum. There is good reason to counsel the Kurds to exercise patience and careful statecraft in clearing this minefield. But it is utterly disgusting to ignore their national aspirations. Washington has reasons of state to manage the regional crisis artfully, and to ask the Kurds to be patient. But why are we so beholden to the doomed and destructive regimes of Iran, Syria, Turkey and Iraq that we cannot extend a hand of friendship to the Kurds? Their path to statehood may be tortuous and prolonged, but America should offer our counsel and support. If we do not, the rest of the Muslim world will smile grimly and exploit our moral cowardice.

 

Support for a United Iraq Plays into the Hands of ISIS and Iran

September 26, 2017

Support for a United Iraq Plays into the Hands of ISIS and Iran, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, September 26, 2017

(How would Secretary Tillerson respond to Greenfield’s highlighted question about “catering to the whims of our Islamist enemies anyway?” — DM)

Why is the State Department in the business of catering to the whims of our Islamist enemies anyway?

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The State Department had a very predictable reaction to the Kurdish referendum.

The United States is deeply disappointed that the Kurdistan Regional Government decided to conduct today a unilateral referendum on independence, including in areas outside of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region…

The unilateral referendum will greatly complicate the Kurdistan Regional Government’s relationship with both the Government of Iraq and neighboring states. The fight against ISIS is not over, and extremist groups are seeking to exploit instability and discord. We believe all sides should engage constructively in a dialogue to improve the future of all Iraqis. The United States opposes violence and unilateral moves by any party to alter boundaries.

The United States supports a united, federal, democratic and prosperous Iraq and will continue to seek opportunities to assist Iraqis to fulfill their aspirations within the framework of the constitution.

1. The Iraqi constitution is a joke. Much like Iraqi democracy.

2. Iraqi federalism doesn’t exist in Iraqi Kurdistan. It’s mostly independent already.

3. Iraqi federalism is what created the latest incarnation of ISIS. Trying to uphold a united Iraq to fight ISIS is the same dumb, bankrupt foreign policy that made this mess under Bush and Obama.

A “united Iraq” means letting Iran’s Shiite puppets in Baghdad run the country. The Sunnis, unsurprisingly opt out, Al Qaeda, in some form or another, comes calling. And that’s how we ended up with ISIS. And then we have to choose between Iran and ISIS. Unfortunately, as the Hezbollah-ISIS convoy and the 9/11 report shows, they also have a secret relationship.

So it’s Catch 22. Either way the terrorists win and we lose.

The only “solution” is to support de facto partition of Iraq along demographic lines. It won’t be easy or smooth, but it’s going to keep happening in the form of outbreaks of violence anyway until it’s finally realized. Iraq, like Syria, is an imaginary country created by Western powers.

And that means letting the Kurds, who are the closest thing to a success story in Iraq, go their own way.

Iran and ISIS and Turkey will be most unhappy. Good.

Why is the State Department in the business of catering to the whims of our Islamist enemies anyway?