WASHINGTON, September 25, 2014 — The main story of the emergence of the Islamic State, though it has gained only sporadic attention in the corporate mass media, is the propagation of ISIS by the function of U.S. Foreign policy and the cooperation of our ‘allies’ among the Gulf states.
A compelling companion story to that,is the concurrent development of a firewall against the further spread of Salafist militants in the form of a fledgling quasi state, the autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq. Its story reveals that the U.S. and other actors in the Middle East, have done nothing to empower the Kurds to resist the bloodthirsty hordes of Islamic State terrorists, and in fact, until quite recently, acted as an impediment.
Adversity has honed the survival skills of the Kurds to a razor edge, much in the same way it has the Jews and the Armenians. And like the Jews until the establishment of Israel, and the Armenians prior to their establishment of the Republic of Armenia, the Kurds have been a people without a nation of their own. This was accountable to the territorial disputes between the Ottoman Empire, the Colonial powers (Britain and France), Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria.
The main adversary of the Kurds, has been the modern Turkish state, another common thread between the Kurds and the Armenians. Kurds have organized themselves into areas within Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran, existing in various degrees of semi-autonomy. Collectively the Kurds aim to create a state of their own, comprised from the territory within Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria that they occupy currently as a large ethnic minority.
This map shows the boundaries of the regions in which the Kurds live at present and approximately what a Greater Kurdistan in its entirety, would look like:
The Kurds in Iraq have proven to be the only successful adversary of the Islamic State and its bid for more territory with which to build a caliphate. As Dexter Filkins of the New Yorker, notes, “The Kurdish army is known throughout the region for its ferocity—its fighters are called Peshmerga, or “those who face death”
The Peshmerga were almost as caught off guard by the aggressive and fast moving bid for territory launched by ISIS, as was the Iraqi Army. The difference was the fierce and unwavering determination of the Kurds to launch a punishing counter-offensive that in the span of approximately a month (August), saw the retaking of all territory ISIS had occupied.
Whatever political consideration the Kurdish region of Iraq has earned, has been a matter of seizing opportunity against the varying interests in the region – Iran, Iraq, Turkey and NATO. Each of these players resist the bid for independence based on the reality that within the footprint of a conceivable Kurdish state exist an abundance of natural resources, not the least of which is a considerable amount of oil. The Kurdish area in Iraq includes Kirkuk, for example, which hosts major oil fields.
While the vision of a ‘Greater Kurdistan’ seems somewhat blurry in the indefinite future, the official independence of the Kurds within Iraq appears inevitable. This is partially an unintended consequence of America’s failed chessboard tactics in the region.
Ironically, it was Joe Biden back in 2007, acting as the mouthpiece of the Council On Foreign Relations, who brought the concept of partition of Iraq into the mainstream oncerning solutions for that areas problems. The Council On Foreign Relations (CFR), is, by the way, the de-facto architect of U.S. foreign policy worldwide. But Biden maintains he and Leslie Gelb, an erstwhile Kissinger protege, did not advocate a partition, only the establishment of autonomous regions.
This is true, but what Biden said from the floor of the Senate on April 24, 2007, included this:
“The most basic premise of President Bush’s approach, that the Iraqi people will rally behind a strong central government headed by Maliki, in fact, will look out for their interests equitably, is fundamentally and fatally flawed. It will not happen in anybody’s lifetime here, including the pages.”
Even ‘Crazy Joe’ could see the obvious signs of futility and failure of the central Iraqi government we so proudly hailed with the irrational exuberance of the ‘Purple Revolution’, which was a kind of absurd bookend to the “Mission Accomplished” banners.We have now seen Biden’s prediction bear fruit. Perhaps Biden, even as scatterbrained as he portrays himself to be, realizes that stability and order in the footprint of the former Empire of Babylon is not the intention of the global regime of banks and the warfare state.
Saddam Hussein, our puppet functioning in a proxy role against Iran until 1990, was the strong man necessary to hold a state like Iraq together, albeit by dint of violence and episodes such as the gassing of 180,000 Kurds, as a reminder of his dominance. It wasn’t feasible to expect anything less to come behind his regime and provide similar adhesion to the diverse tribal, religious and political elements, yet we did.
The Iraq that has evolved since the ill-conceived national elections is a fully manifest catastrophe, which keeping American troops in the region would likely only have forestalled. At the root of the state of affairs leading up to the present establishment of ISIS was not only the covert support of the militant groups that compose it, but de-Baathification, which made fertile ground for jihadist insurgencies among the Sunni population.
But the Kurds are a singular success story, one that neither the Bush or Obama administrations can take credit for. As Filkins further outlines:
When American forces departed, in 2011, not a single U.S. soldier had lost his life in Kurdish territory. As the rest of Iraq imploded, only the Kurdish region realized the dream that President George W. Bush had set forth when he ordered the attack: it is pro-Western, largely democratic, largely secular, and economically prosperous.
Whether George Bush intended symmetry in the Kurdish region is debatable, because such a model for stability didn’t suit the stratagem of policy makers in Washington or shadow government interests. This leaves us to speculate why endless sectarian violence and upheaval, ethnic cleansing and genocide are preferable to conciliation, neutrality and order. Traditionally, globalists have resisted independence movements and the formation of sovereign states. Such fracturing of an emerging global order is inimical to their objectives.
As matters stand now, the Obama administration has no choice but to provide material support and military assets to the Kurds. Its absence would be conspicuous and serve to reveal its prior policy agenda. And Kurdish independence is a foregone conclusion. The President of the Kurdistan region told the BBC that Iraq’s Kurdish people would hold a referendum on independence within months.
“Iraq is effectively partitioned now,” Massoud Barzani said. “Are we supposed to stay in this tragic situation the country’s living? It’s not me who will decide on independence. It’s the people. We’ll hold a referendum and it’s a matter of months.”
“Iraq exists only in the minds of people in the White House,” said Masrour Barzani, the Kurdish intelligence chief and Masoud’s son, “We need our own laws, our own rules, our own country, and we are going to get them.”
We wish them success. It is in our best interests, and in theirs.
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