America Fiddles While Kurdistan Burns

By Robert Sklaroff and Sherkoh Abbas

The Trump Administration must urgently decide whether it will pursue a muscular long-term foreign policy in the Middle East for, if America is to be Made Great Again by confronting Iran, the Kurds must be supported militarily … aggressively … ASAP.

Time is tight.

We framed the challenge America faces in a heavily-documented essay—that Abbas elucidated during audio, video, video and written interviews—which cites our serial analyses of the Kurds’ plight during the past decade, key facets of which are updated herein.

Even as the Deep State continues to limit America’s capacity to help them, the Kurds are surrounded by perennial enemies (Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey) that, themselves, are hardly reliable American allies (ranging from grudging-acceptance to mortal-enemy).

But it is foolhardy for Western countries to forsake Kurds by “hoping,” respectively, [1]—to delink Iraq from Iran via the Saudis, [2]—to placate NATO faux-ally Turkey by reawakening Ottoman aspirations, and [3]—to sate the Russian Bear by sacrificing Syria.

Indeed, even after National Security Adviser General H. R. McMaster recognized that Iran engineered the Iraqi takeover of Kirkuk, he continued to claim, “The United States is very committed to a unified, strong Iraq. We’re also committed to a strong Kurdish region within a unified Iraq.”

Similarly, even after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson averred that he envisions a “Saudi-Iraqi Axis against Iran,” Baghdad dismissed his call for Iranian-backed paramilitary units to depart.

Remember, after hostilities broke-out a fortnight ago, the State Department’s clumsy serial-rationales evolved 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.”

Now, after the Iranian Revolutionary Guards hastily opened its headquarters in Kirkuk, Iraqi Christians are in disarray as Iraq has launched new offensives against the Kurds and are poised to seize Kurdish airfields.

Sadly, it appears that these neo-isolationist stances have quietly been embraced by controversial former Presidential-Antiterrorism Advisor, Sebastian Lukács Gorka, Ph.D., who proffered lame excuses for inaction despite the fact that Kurds don’t need America to “nation-build.”

This is how Iran’s hegemony could be rewarded as it paves the rest of its “Shi’ite Crescent” highway to the Mediterranean Sea, for U.S. Troops must remain to block this ‘Land Bridge.’ 

We recognize the global challenges that, for example, have prompted movement of three aircraft carrier groups to the Korean region—and we are grateful that pundits have paid increasing attention to the Kurds’ predicament.

But President Trump’s foreign policy doctrine of “Principled Realism” will fail if his current version of neutrality allows for Tehran to assume total control over Iraqi Kurdistan, for this would presage the demise of Syrian Kurdistan to Damascus, as well.

A hopeful sign is that a senior Administration official pledged, “We don’t intend to repeat the previous Administration’s mistake of abandoning the fight against the terrorists without consolidating the gains we and our partners have made.”

Yet, how would this policy be implemented if America were “disinvited” by the locals—Iraq and Syria—and thereby denied a military base in the region?

Assuredly, they would be supported by Russia, which has just assumed control of a major Kurdish oil pipeline, even as—hours after the Iraqi takeover—BP started operating Kirkuk oil.

America must not “win” the battle against the Islamic State, while losing the war against Islamists.

Therefore, America’s paradigm of the regional facets of the “world-order” must be fundamentally reoriented, reflecting what led Israel to endorse Kurdistan, for [1]—Jews welcome re-establishment of Kurdistan (just as Eretz Yisrael was re-established in 1948), and [2]—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.

That’s why Sen. Ted Cruz announced support for Kurdish independence, Rep. Franks offered a resolution in support of Kurdish independence, and Congressmen called upon America to halt Iraqi attacks.

When America opted to ignore the September 25th Referendum—even after 92.73% endorsement of independence, ignored were its underreported legal underpinnings, for the Iraqi Constitution 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 had yet to transpire, so the Kurds took it upon themselves to satisfy this constitutional duty.

Unfortunately, while elitist-pragmatists claim the Kurds were too uppity, citation of this constitutional foundation for the referendum was omitted even from “friendly” essays published in the Washington Times, in Breitbart, and by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy.

The battle has been joined for, while an Iranian leader advised Iraq not to trust America, it is advisable to heed Kurdish warnings of genocide by Iran-backed militias.

Meanwhile, this topic wasn’t raised during the Sunday talk-shows.

Ultimately, for the Kurds to achieve a stable future, recognition is mandatory, for a free Kurdistan is in America’s strategic interest.

Sherkoh Abbas is President of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria. Robert Sklaroff is a physician-activist.? This article constitutes the policy of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria.

November 5, 2017 | 1 Comment »

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