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The U.S. Has a Big Decision to Make When It Comes to a Future Kurdistan

BASHIK FRONTLINE, KURDISTAN, IRAQ – 2015 JULY 25 – Unidentified kurdish (peshmerga) warrior in back of lorry at BASHIK (bashik) bottom 25km from ISIS tranquil Mosul.
Photo Credit: Owen_Holdaway / Shutterstock.com

Nearly 93 percent of Iraqi Kurds voted for autonomy in the referendum on Sep 25. Now Washington faces a choice. The U.S. can possibly support the Iraqi Kurds who are fixed allies. Or it can back Iraq, a narrow-minded theocratic state behaving as a substitute for Iran.

Premier Heider al-Abadi became primary apportion in 2014, with publicity from Iran’s National Security Council and support from President Hassan Rouhani. Abadi’s predecessor, Nouri al-Maliki, was a deeply polarizing figure, also corroborated by Tehran. Iraqi council orator Salim al-Juburi works closely with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Larijani, a staunchly regressive politician and former military man.

Close confidence team-work connect Iran and Iraq. The Iraqi armed forces and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) are shoulder-to-shoulder in the fight against ISIS. Just a few days ago, Iran and Iraq held a corner military cavalcade on Iraqi Kurdistan’s border, warning their “common enemy”.


Shiite militias, the Popular Mobilization Forces Militias (Hash’d al Shaabi) were combined around a fatwa by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, extolling their “sacred duty” to acquit Mosul from ISIS. Shiite militias in Iraq are obliged for the deaths of many Americans.

Other Iraqi paramilitary units also bluster U.S. forces. The Peace Brigades are constant to the virulently anti-American Iraqi minister Moqtada al-Sadr. The Badr Organization is a well-armed Iranian substitute militia.

ISIS was an mercantile excavation for Iran. Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization reports that Tehran’s non-oil exports to Baghdad grew from $2.3 billion in 2008 to $6.2 billion in 2015 during which time Iraq helped Iran entrance global markets in defilement of general sanctions.

Iran and Iraq also concur extensively in the appetite sector. On Sep 25, the day of Iraqi Kurdistan’s referendum, Iraq’s Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi announced a major investment in two new corner oil prolongation facilities.

While the Trump administration condemns Iran’s support for terrorism, it effectively supports Iran by aligning itself with Iraq. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson incorrectly calls Iraq “united, federal, and democratic.” Backing Baghdad, he criticized Iraqi Kurdistan’s autonomy referendum for lacking “legitimacy.”

Iraq is not “united.” Iraqi Kurdistan has enjoyed de-facto autonomy given 1991. Deep narrow-minded groups exist between pro-Iranian Shiites and Iraqi Sunnis, many of whom support ISIS.

Iraq is not “federal.” A new study found 55 violations by Baghdad of its sovereign constitution. The Iraqi supervision regularly refuses to exercise Article 140, which requires a referendum on the standing of Kirkuk.

Iraq is distant from “democratic.” Its Shiite infancy exerts majoritarian rule, disenfranchising both Sunnis and Kurds.

The U.S. Congress is increasingly wakeful of Iran’s sinful influence. Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic minority leader, accused “[Iraq]’s adjacent countries, led by despots who conflict a Kurdish State given it threatens the standing quo and their self-interests.” Senator John McCain supports a domestic routine that addresses the aspirations of the Kurds for an eccentric state. They know that Iraqi Kurdistan is a aegis against Iranian influence.

A “sense of the Congress” fortitude should call on the United States to commend Iraqi Kurdistan if/when it declares independence.

The Congress should yield a approach allowance to Kurdistan’s peshmerga. Increasing the supply of complicated weapons would deter an attack by the Iraqi armed forces and Shiite militias.

The Congress should also shorten the send of complicated and descent weapons to Iraq, which tumble into the hands of Iranian-backed militias.

U.S. policy is at a flare in the road. Washington should align itself with Iraqi Kurdistan, ancillary democracy and the inhabitant aspirations of Iraqi Kurds.

David Phillips is executive of the program on peace-building and rights at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights. He served as a comparison confidant to the State Department during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations.

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