Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq – In the Middle East, it’s nearly impossible for a Westerner to crack through the different opinions, sides, voices, and goals of the various groups, ethnicities, and political parties in order to grasp the truth within the region. Peering through the muck and chaos of regional politics in the Middle East to find the common ground of basic humanity is a taxing job, but it’s one that I’ve gladly taken on.
The first step is learning to discern end goals, hatred and anger versus to democracy, freedom, and understanding. Many Middle Easterners I’ve come to know well understand the difference. Apparently, the U.S. still does not.
On September 25, 2017, the Iraqi Kurdistan region will vote to declare independence becoming the most recent independent nation in the world. Numbering approximately 30 million, the Kurds are the largest ethnic minority on planet earth without a sovereign nation-state of their own. In the war against ISIS and ensuing genocide of Christians and Yazidis, the Kurdish Region under the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) was the only safe place for the victims of genocide, and despite their instrumental help in providing the ONLY safe territory against ISIS and al Qaeda, the American liaison, Bret McGurk came here to tell the Kurds the U.S. did not support their referendum and would never back it because it provides instability to the region in the fight against ISIS.
The Trump White House apparently agreed with McGurk and fell in step with the Iranian Regime talking points, despite the fact that Kurdish Independence would be a strategic and incredible WIN for the United States of America.
But that has been an Iranian Regime talking point that laced through the government of Baghdad, Iraq (a strong Iranian ally and bidding partner). The largest threat to Iran’s expansionist goals, nuclear arsenal, and vehement hatred of U.S. policy is an INDEPENDENT KURDISTAN which would sit on Iran’s border in their backyard… watching every move of religious and islamist intolerance against women and minorities, specifically Christians.
Iran has the most to lose from independent Kurdistan because a Kurdish state will keep the Iranian regime in “check” – will stop them from expanding through Iraq to Syria and will work closely with the U.S. and Israel to thwart that threat. Iraq (Baghdad) stands to lose because the Kurds control the province of Kirkuk which has lots of oil (which of course will make their trading partner, Iran, disappointed).
Iraq is desperate for that oil money so they can pay of their Iranian partners and continue to stifle the oil money from the U.S. and others into extremist groups, Iran, Hezbollah, and Sharia laws that have oppressed women and Christians for so many years.
But Iraq and Iran can’t just TELL the U.S., “we hate you and want your money to fund our terrorism and Sharia laws so we need Baghdad oil money to go to Iran as we’ve become such close friends so Iran can continue their nuclear arsenal and aim for Israel and then the great Satan U.S…Kurdistan as a state will stop us from doing all of that! They are friendly to Israel and U.S. interests. If they had the oil in Kirkuk, that money would go towards providing freedom for women and Christians and establishing economic infrastructure and global partnerships, and they would keep our extremist policies and doctrines of oppression against women and minorities and Christians in check because they are stronger than us!”
And while that is the actual truth of the Iran and Iraq thoughts, they can’t pitch it to the U.S. that way. You see, the world knows (and Iran/Iraq know) if the U.S. supports an independent Kurdistan state, the rest of the world will get on board. If the U.S. does not support an independent state, it will likely fall into oblivion.
So hmmmm…. Iranian leaders needed to convince the U.S. to deny Kurdish independence.
How ever would Iran, the leading state sponsor of terrorism and propaganda, convince the U.S. to deny secular democratic Kurds independence? And then it hit them! The U.S. hates ISIS! Say something about ISIS.
So Iran and her progenies tapped into their manipulative and abundant resources to contact Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (2 of the most biased NGOs), and all the enemies of the Kurds for a global bombardment campaign with the underlying message that “an independent Kurdish state will destabilize the region and hurt the fight against ISIS. We’ll also call it ‘illegal’ using laws against them.”
“Perfect,” Iranian leaders thought. “Destabilization” and “lose to ISIS” – two things that any first-grade American will stand by.
Sure enough, Bret McGurk in all his expertise, came to our great Middle East ally, the Kurds, and said no one supported their independence. And most shockingly, the Trump White House supported that and demanded they call it off.
Iran is cheering while their puppets and progenies, Iraqi Central Government cheer with them.
Just look at one tweet.
The U.S. played right into Iran’s hands. And now we are officially a puppet of the Iranians. After all, as this social media user put it in a response thanking Trump’s White House and McGurk, “the future of the U.S. in the Middle East is with Iran….” umm… ?
“Destabilization” and “lose to ISIS” – two things that any first-grade American will stand by.
When I heard this, I felt like I was living under the Obama White House again. A government that loves America and Israel and American values and freedoms (Kurds) who could gain access to oil money with U.S. and Israel as staunch economic, political, and military allies in the heart of Iranian regime and its allies and their nuclear strength along with Syria’s chaos, now being told by America “we don’t support you.. we stand with Iran..” While I sat there thinking, again, “uh..what…?”
But Bret McGurk is an Obama appointee – who is somehow still the top official to “combat ISIS.” President Trump ran on a strong platform of strength against ISIS but left in the guy that Obama chose to basically handle the Middle East region.
My mind always wanders in these situations.
When Iran was trying to decide how to convince the Americans to deny Kurds their independence, did they use the argument that would conjure the deployment of Obama’s anti-ISIS guy? Did they know him that well? I wouldn’t be surprised.
Either way, the U.S. fell right into it and took our BEST HOPE for a stable secular and free Middle East and kicked our regional best friends – our hope for democratic freedoms and eventual stability against Sharia and oppression – into the toilet.
In 1776, nothing was more “destabilizing” than some ragtag group of religious renegades declaring independence from Great Britain with only Native Americans fighting by their side. Declaring independence has never been immediately “stabilizing.” Its whole purpose is to create a nation which is inherently destabilizing until it proves its stability and rises to the occasion to become the Great American Experiment which, today, still stands as the beacon of human rights and democratic freedoms.
Then when the Kurdish Middle Eastern government (finally) adopted our values, used their soldiers to fight ISIS and protect our people and Christians and Yazidis, the U.S. sided with…. Iran. My hope is that the statements from the White House and McGurk are not indicative of the thought process of our U.S. President and Vice President. Perhaps there is hope that they are waiting. But one thing is clear, this was OUR SHOT to put America back in power and have a foothold … a STRONG foothold in the Middle East.. in the heart of conflict, with soldiers (men, women, Christian, Yazidi) ready to fight for U.S. interests. I have traveled throughout Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and so many other places where I can’t even count the amount of Arabs that said “just give the Kurds a state already.. they deserve it.. we need it to combat Iran..”
These are quotes from regular people on the streets throughout the Middle East! Even THEY know the best hope to hold Iran in check is an independent Kurdistan. But once again, Iran acted as the puppet master and the U.S. has appeared to tie those Iranian puppet strings around our own arms.
President Trump, this is your chance to take back the United States that was lost for so many years. To declare a stance that differs from the Iranian foothold in Iraq and Syria today. You’ve been handed a gift. Don’t throw it back at them. And please, don’t give Iran any more money (via Baghdad’s oil) than we already have.
While the United States may have temporarily chosen to turn our backs on Kurds despite them risking their lives for our regional goals and keeping the vulnerable minorities and Christians safe, I, for one, will be here supporting the basic international legal principle of the right to enjoy self-determination.
All Americans reading this can do something to make a difference. Simply write your local Congressperson telling them to support the basic principle of Kurdish independence. It only takes about 60 letters on one issue for your representatives to bring it to session. They need our voices on this.
If you’ve been wondering how to help Christians and women and children in the Middle East, here’s how you do it: an Independent Kurdistan State.