If you believe the Arabs living in Israel need a state but the Kurds should cede their state to the Islamic governments of Turkey, Baghdad, and Iran, you might be part of the Swamp.
We have spent several trillion dollars, lost thousands of dead, and ruined lives of our military fighting for our enemies in the Middle East or refereeing Islamic civil wars with no good outcome for America. Yet our government is now spitting on the one semi-stable, pro-Western, non-Islamic ally that could serve as a hedge against all our Middle Eastern enemies. We are dumping on the Kurds for taking a democratic vote for sovereignty — all for the purpose of allying with the Iranian-backed government in Baghdad and cozying up to Erdogan.
Iraq doesn’t exist any more and only existed for a few generations, drawn together randomly after WWI by immoral, arbitrary lines. Once we overthrew Saddam Hussein and handed Baghdad to Iran, there was no more Iraq. We’ve spent over a decade refereeing the Islamic civil war between Iranian-backed Shia militants and Sunni jihadists. Now, in order to “defeat ISIS,” we have essentially allied with Iran, handing them a Hezbollah terror corridor from Iran to the Mediterranean Sea.
Even worse, when Iran’s domination over Sunni areas reaches another boiling point and triggers the next round of the Sunni insurgency, our genius civilian and military leadership will feel obligated to “fix Iraq” again and bail out Iran, which is much more of a strategic threat than any Sunni group.
Enter the Kurds, who are the only successful fighting force against the Sunni insurgency but are also pro-American and can actually hold a growing area of northern Iraq in a stable way that serves every one of our interests. They voted overwhelmingly to become independent. And all the Kurds need are national recognition, a fraction of the military aid we give the corrupt Afghani and Baghdad governments, and the simple, helpful tools of statecraft we’d give to any allies. Rather than a bloody choice between helping Iran and helping Sunni jihadists, with the loss of tremendous blood and treasure, we can help a stable ally almost for free.
Yet not only are we not helping, we are rebuking the Kurds for taking up their sovereignty. The State Department said it was “deeply disappointed” by the democratic affirmation of sovereignty. Sen. Bob Corker, the king of the Iran deal, complained that the Kurdish vote was not in our national interests because it would weaken the Iranian-backed government. War is peace and peace is war!
This has emboldened the Baghdad government (aka Iran) to cut off all flights to Erbil airport, the Kurdish capital. Erdogan has threatened to attack the Kurds. Isn’t it amazing that while we pressured the Arab nations to back off Qatar, we are sitting idly by while they threaten the Kurds?
The Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) declared victory earlier this week when the population voted 93 percent in favor of Kurdish independence. The Kurds are also on the cusp of winning back even more territory than they originally lost to Sunni jihadists. After we spent tens of billions training the “Iraqi army,” it fled the minute ISIS attacked. Now that the Kurds are winning back their original land, which had been stolen by Arab Baathists for the past half-century, we are siding with Baghdad to pressure them to pull back. Our government is literally siding with Iran and Shiite militias, some of which are designated as terrorist groups, in their dispute with the Kurds over Kirkuk. We are also allowing Baghdad to hold up foreign aid for them while we refuse to cut off aid to the Lebanese Army at a time when Hezbollah is more empowered than ever before.
The Kurds are the biggest buffer against Iranian hegemony. NSC director H.R. McMaster won’t say what the administration’s strategy is to stop Iranian and Hezbollah expansion in the region, which was accelerated by our own military intervention on their behalf. Now the Kurds have the ability to undermine the Iranians. Iranian Kurds are already celebrating the move toward independence and rattling the Islamic republic.
It’s amazing to ponder the breathtaking insanity of our government’s policies in the Middle East. We will invest trillions in tying a noose around our own necks, yet we won’t invest pennies and moral support to allies who will help our interests for free. Just consider how the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) just reported that we’ve flushed $70 billion down the tubes propping up the failed Afghani military in order to sustain their Sharia government, yet we won’t simply give the green light to those who have demonstrated they can secure their country and remain pro-West.
Finally, as we explained already this month, creating an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq would kill two birds with one stone by serving as that regional resettlement home Trump has promised for refugees rather than resettling them in America.
It’s tragically ironic that at a time when we are struggling to defend our own sovereignty, we would disrespect the sovereignty of the Kurds. Yet, much like the backward domestic policy priorities of our political class, when it comes to foreign policy, friend is enemy and enemy is friend. The first 10 names in any telephone book would do a better job identifying the right investments, alliances, and strategic interests abroad than the current political and military leaders.
The question nobody in government is willing to ask is: How much longer are we going to continue throwing good money and lives after 16 years of failure in Iraq and Afghanistan? How many opportunities will we ignore while fighting for foreign Islamic countries that no longer exist?
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.