By Robert Sklaroff and Sherkoh Abbas
President Trump’s foreign policy doctrine of “Principled Realism” is failing its first bona fide test in the Middle East, as his goal to maintain neutrality in the Iraq-Kurd civil war is permitting Iran’s hegemony to pave the rest of its “Shi’ite Crescent” highway to the Mediterranean Sea.
After hostilities broke-out on October 16th, the State Department’s clumsy serial-rationales evolved last week from “seeking to rectify a misunderstanding” to “denying Iranians had any role in the invasion” to “advocating calm to all parties” to “asking all parties to refrain from violence” to “offering to mediate a cease-fire” to “asking Baghdad to stop invading Kurdistan.”
Jennifer Griffin of Fox News framed the basis for these Deep State rationalizations, reporting: “The U.S. military must figure out how to keep Iraq from breaking apart while also preventing neighboring Iran from turning Iraq into a proxy state.” Alas, after recognizing “fears [that] Iran is behind tensions between Iraqi troops [and] Kurds”], she immediately visually undermined the misinformation disseminated by America’s military that Iran wasn’t involved. [“Special Report,” 10/18/2017 @ 2:23].
Amazingly, the issue of Kurdistan was not raised during the Sunday talk-shows, reflecting global silence.
If America intends to keep punishing the Kurds for holding their September 25th referendum by adopting a passive-aggressive posture—here, denying awareness ahead-of-time of the invasion plan—the U.S. will lose her only reliable and potent ally among the parties funding proxies that squabble to remake the former-Syria/Iraq: Iran, Turkey and Russia.
Indeed, it is foolhardy for Western countries to forsake Kurds by hoping, respectively, —to delink Iraq from Iran via the Saudis, —to placate NATO faux-ally Turkey by reawakening Ottoman aspirations, and —to sate the Russian Bear by sacrificing Syria.
Therefore, America’s paradigm of the regional facets of the “world-order” must be fundamentally reoriented, reflecting what led Israel to endorse Kurdistan, for —on the “micro” level, Jews welcome re-establishment of Kurdistan (just as Eretz Yisrael was re-established in 1948), and —on the “macro” level, both independent and leftist Israelis honor Kurds.
In short, the fate of the Kurds presents Israelis a wake-up call, as they are “canaries in the coal mines,” just as Israelis have played that role for Americans while Sunni [Islamic State] and Shi’ite [Iranian] Islamists have targeted America and Israel.
Israelis recognize the grave threat to Erbil following the hasty opening of the headquarters for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Kirkuk, even as the New York Times—amnesic that it had acknowledged Iran’s domination of Iraq After U.S. ‘Handed the Country Over’—again demonstrated its inability to admit the Islamo-fascist threat flourishes, now claiming that Iran’s mullahs are sapping the IRG’s strength.
Thus, America should share Israel’s recognition of the underreported legal underpinnings of the September 25th Referendum that yielded overwhelming endorsement of Kurdistan.
Consulting the Iraqi Constitution predictably yielded an end to an impasse a decade ago, when a new Iraqi Prime Minister had to be elected, as per a letter-to-the-editor published in the (defunct) Philadelphia Evening Bulletin.
Similarly, this document (notwithstanding the inexplicably abbreviated version thereof published by the Washington Post) mandates that Iraq conduct “a referendum in Kirkuk and other disputed territories to determine the will of their citizens), by a date not to exceed the 31st of December, 2007” (Article 140, Section 2).
This has yet to transpire, so the Kurds took it upon themselves to satisfy this constitutional duty, noting that 92.73% of the voters endorsed independence.
This has apparently been lost on controversial former Presidential-Antiterrorism Advisor, Sebastian Lukács Gorka, Ph.D., who proffered lame excuses for not promoting a muscular foreign policy; pivotal when placing the Kurds’ fate within a larger context is the fact that the Kurds don’t need America to “nation-build” and, therefore, implementing a muscular foreign policy would be an unabashed manifestation of efforts to Make America Great Again.
And this would serve as the culmination of battle-plans we have proposed for almost a decade: in 2008, we ID’ed Kurds as “invisible people” and advocated confronting the major source of global terrorism [The Road To Iran Runs Through Kurdistan – And Starts In Syria]; in 2015, we showed why the United States cannot evade this trouble-spot [The Pathway to Defeating ISIS Runs Though Kurdistan – And Starts in America]; in 2013, we simply concluded The Kurds can lead a reborn Syria, at peace with all of her neighbors; and, in 2014, we suggested NATO Must Help the Kurds Now.
Thus, as we have continually argued, The Road to Defeating the Islamic State Runs through Kurdistan and American recognition of Kurdistan could become a key component of a Middle East Grand-Bargain.
Just as remaining in Germany and Korea has “kept the peace” for decades, U.S. troops will not withdraw after the Islamic State has been defeated; nevertheless, until the region has been stabilized, Trump’s desire to confront Iranian disruption will be satisfied by continuing to supply armaments to Kurds and their non-Islamist allies.
In the process, Trump would counter two leftist allegations: he “has no idea” how to fight Tehran and, thus, cannot mediate the current crisis (which French President Emmanuel Macron has offered to do).
In any case, this formulation of what occurred during the past week—presaged by Reagan’s sudden withdrawal of America from Lebanon provoked by Iran’s Hezbollah—is sobering: “Iran also looks stronger. Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, shuttled between Sulaymaniyah and Baghdad mediating Kurdish capitulation and advising Iraqi commanders on their assault. Remarkably, given that it arms and trains both Iraq’s army and Kurdish forces, America kept silent. For all his grandiose promises to roll back Iran, Donald Trump looked like a bystander. In Kirkuk, Iran called the shots.”
Sherkoh Abbas is President of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria and has discussed recent events in-depth (video, at minute #25). Robert Sklaroff is a physician-activist and supporter of Kurdish self-determination.? This article constitutes the policy of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria.