US ABANDONS KURDISTAN: Independent Kurdish state would be “Significantly Destabilizing”

With the following statement the US has appeared to backtrack on their support for an independent Kurdish State in Northern Iraq.

“We think that under the Iraqi constitution, there’s an important process of dialogue that has to take place, and having a referendum on such a fast timeline, particularly in disputed areas, would be, we think, significantly destabilizing,” Mr. McGurk told reporters after a anti-ISIS coalition meeting at the State Department on Thursday.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend had already begun to dash the Kurdish hopes for US backing when he said the following at the Pentagon last Tuesday:

“You know, I think… the position of our government is that this is not helpful for the campaign, right now, certainly. It’s not helpful in the coalition’s fight, the world’s fight against ISIS.This effort by the KRG to have this independence referendum, whether it’s the right thing to do or not, is not my position to judge. But I do think it’ll have some kind of impact and — and apply additional friction to the campaign.”

What the US is nervous about is the regime in Bahgdad.  The Kurdish Peshmerga was the main party behing the liberation of Mosul.  A ground war that is fought between a seceding KRG and Bahgdad could see the Kurdish Peshmerga actually win, that is if the USA keeps Bahgdad from using fighter jets.

The Kurdish referendum has essentially exposed the USA as playing both sides in Iraq similar to the British strategy in the pre-1948 Palestinian Mandate. On one hand the British high command encouraged Jewish rights to the Land of Israel as well as even using them in World War 2, but when it came to independence the British not only backed the Arabs, they trained and equipped their armies.

The USA has utilized the Kurds to fight ISIS, which is essentially an American creation gone bad, while at the same time keeping back the Kurds from attaining their just independence and now insinuating that they would be blamed for a failure to wipe out ISIS for good. The  USA has picked the Western created state of Iraq instead of the indigenous people of Kurdistan.

A statement from the KRG Representation to the United States said the following:

“The holding of a referendum is the democratic right of the people of Kurdistan and will enable us, for the first time, to determine our future. The outcome of the referendum will lead to negotiations with Baghdad and we ask our friends in the United States to encourage that dialogue so that the settlement is a win-win for both sides.”

The United States appears to be fumbling a golden opportunity to reorder the Middle East along ethnic and indigenous lines, thus ensuring continued sectarian conflict for generations to come.

Kurdistan Rising from the Chaos of War

First the Background

The Kurds, who have been itching for a sovereign state of their own, now find themselves in the unenviable position of being the chief agitators to Erdogan’s Turkey.  In the beginning of the turmoil in the Middle East Erdogan made a deal with the devil, ISIS.  The thought there was that Erdogan would be able to create a fundamentalist Sunni caliphate as a stop gap measure against the growing Iranian hegemony in the region.  Furthermore, the new caliphate would keep his arch enemies the Kurds in check.

Erdogan went about doing this by being the main corridor for ISIS bound fighters as well as the middle man for ISIS oil.  Of course Erdogan sold Kurdish oil on top of that. The Kurdish oil kept the Kurdish leadership in Northern Iraq beholden to Ankara.  This strategy is still in play, however Russia’s increasing intervention and Syria’s new found might against its Western backed foes has put a serious wrinkle in Turkey’s strategy.

Two Autonomous Kurdish Regions Are Too Many for Erdogan

As long as the Kurds relegated themselves to an autonomous province in Northern Iraq, Erdogan and Turkey’s military felt they had strategic strength.  Russia’s arming of the Syrian Kurdish Militia otherwise known as the YPG has alarmed Turkey.  Although the Kurdish population in Syria amounts to a small 1.6 million, the territory it has gained among the chaos has been significant.

The border between the Syrian Kurdish region and Iraqi Kurdish region, which has 6.6 million Kurds  has melted away, effectively giving the Kurds one long autonomous area stretching along the Southern border of Turkey.  With Turkey’s 15 million strong Kurdish population just to the North, Turkey is rapidly heading for destabilization.

After the Kurdish bombing in Ankara, the Turkish Prime Minister Davutoğlu said:

“We collected intelligence all night,” Davutoğlu told reporters in Ankara. “The perpetrators have been fully identified. The attack was carried out by YPG member Salih Necer, who came in from Syria.”

Of course the YPG has denied involvement.  Truth matters not though to Ankara, who needs some reason to put a stop to the de facto creation of a Kurdish republic to the South and perhaps even within Turkey.  The fear is compounded even more by Russia’s backing for Kurdish military operations.

If Turkey uses the pretense to attack Syria in order to push back Kurdish expansion, the die will be cast for an intense explosion in war activity throughout the Middle East.  The Kurds are seen by even America as in the right in relation to Turkey.  Erdogan may feel he has no choice, but his decision may end up taking him down one way or the other.