Abandoning our Kurdish allies is a win for our Iranian enemies, by Michael Pregent.
It makes no sense for a nation to treat its enemies kindly and its allies harshly. Any nation that tries this foolish approach will see its enemies grow stronger and more dangerous, and will lose its allies when it abandons them.
Yet for eight years, the Obama administration followed this upside-down policy, and received contempt and bad behavior in return from nations around the world. And now, unfortunately, the Trump administration is following this policy with Iran, by “not taking sides” to prevent the Iraqi government from using military force against our Kurdish allies.
Following a Sept. 25 vote by the Kurds in Kirkuk calling for independence from Iraq, Iraqi troops and Iranian-backed militias moved north into the Kurdish province to take control from the Kurdistan Regional Government. Iraqi troops and Shia militias seized the last district in Kirkuk on Friday from Kurdish fighters, known as the Peshmerga, after a three-hour battle.
The Kurds had controlled Kirkuk since 2014, when Iraqi troops fled the forces of the Islamic State terrorist group, also known as ISIS. While remaining part of Iraq, the Kurdish province operated with a high degree autonomy.
The Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum sparked fears that Kurds in neighboring areas of Iran, Turkey and Syria would want to seek independence as well and unite to form a new nation – an idea opposed by all the those countries and Iraq.
The Iraqi Kurds have been loyal U.S. allies in our fight against Al Qaeda and ISIS, and have fought bravely and effectively. American troops have fought and died with our Kurdish allies defending Iraq and we have spent blood and treasure trying to build reliable partners in Iraq’s Security Forces.
But the Iraqi forces are also supported by Iran, including that nation’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which was designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. Treasury Department earlier this month.
hat-tip Scott of the Pacific