According to the Jersualem Post, Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed his support for an indepependent Kurdistan to a group of 33 visiting US congressmen.
Israel’s support for an independent Kurdistan is no secret, yet it has been relegated until recently to covert relations. As Iraqi Kurdistan votes on a referendum supporting independence on September 25th, Israel’s support is critical due to the fact that the US government continues to waver on whether or not the Kurds should hold the referendum.
Just recently US Seceretary of State Rex Tillerson urged Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) to hold off on going forward with the referendum. Despite the pressure the KRG insisits it is going forward with the referendum.
“The date is standing, Sept 25, no change,” said Hoshyar Zebari, a close adviser to Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani, after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asked Barzani to postpone the referendum.
Despite the rheotric from both the US and the KRG, American aid and direct development of the Kurdish autonomous area has continued, leading some to believe that the US and KRG are actually in agreement when it comes to the referendum. When it passes the US, like Israel will forcefully recognize and support and independent Kurdish state.
According to my sources on the ground in Erbil, the US now directly controls one-third of Erbil’s international airport. The US government has also resumed direct arms shipments to the Kurds as opposed to Obama’s policy which saw weapons transferred through Bagdhad to Kurdistan. This meant that many of the weapons were transferred to Iran instead of the Kurdish Peshmerga.
Why Does Israel’s Support Matter?
Bibi’s clear support for Kurdistan is not only on the governmental level, but is a reflection of how Israeli society as a whole views Kurdistan. More than this, an indpendent Kurdistan would reshape the region by giving another moderate indigenous nation their own homeland.
While America wavers on Kurdistan due to the need to placate its Arab partners, Israel is able to speak its mind and show support for Kurdistan. Israel’s support for Kurdistan runs deep and after September 25th this support may very well bear fruits by way of a truly moderate neighbor in the Middle East.