The going line coming from Washington over the the joint operation carried out by the Iranian Al Quds Force, Hashd Al-Shaab, and of course the Iraqi Army against Kirkuk, a Kurdish majority city is that this was a minor border disagreement between the Federal authority in Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government sitting in Erbil.
The repeated line that there was little fighting is simply not accurate. Our sources on the ground have reported intense fighting with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Al Quds Force against factions connected to the Kurds.
Already the Kurdish Peshmerga is withdrawing further North and have withdrawn from cities South of Erbil.
— Kurdistan 24 English (@K24English) October 17, 2017
No mention of major Iranian inovolvement can be heard from the Pentagon’s lips. This allowance of major Iranian military movement into Kirkuk and if the Iraqi PM can be believed into the capital of the KRG itself Erbil, then the Trump administration can be rightly seen as a paper tiger , willing to scream and threaten Iran without putting its foot down when the moment arrives to do so.
If the Iran-Iraq army is allowed to use American weapons at will and essentially wreck havoc in the most stable area of what is left of Iraq, then how can the White House be believed on the rest of its commitments in the region.
How Does this Affect Israel?
Israel is dealing with the realization that it is fast becoming surrounded by a Russian protected Shiite alliance made up of Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah. Kurdistan’s stability and friendliness to Israel has been known both behind scenes and in recent years out in the open.
The lack of responce by the administration as well as nuanced statements backing the false notion of Federalism within an already divided Iraq essentially provides Iran with the motivation to continue to move to control the region and ultimately threaten Israel, without fear of US response.
President Trump is now seen as weak by the Shiites who are taking advantage of an administration that is more worried about its bark than its bite.
Israel now knows it cannot rely on comments alone from the administration when it comes to stopping Iran, but must demand concrete actions. By allowing the lightening quick occupation of Kirkuk by Iran-Iraq, Trump unknowlingly has set the stage for the very unravelling of his new Iran policy.
The President and his team can still rectify the situation by demanding the Iraqi army hand over all American equipment it is using in breach of its agreement with the US military. If Baghdad resists, the US military would be justified in bombing the tanks and humvees in the assaults on the Kurds. Furthermore, the US can still now provide air support to enable the Kurdish Peshmerga to even the odds against the Iran-Iraq army.
The longer the President and the Administration in Washington ignores the situation, the faster Iran will move to create an irreversible control over the entire region, which will ultimately isolate Israel.