Free Kur­dis­tan!

The Kurds are a loyal ally of the U.S. and an ex­em­plary force in the re­gion

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Robert Zubrin

ness to­ward the United States, Is­rael, and the West in gen­eral that is ex­em­plary in the re­gion.

Ques­tion: Which of th­ese three gov­ern­ments should Amer­ica sup­port?

The fact that this ques­tion even needs to be asked is in­dica­tive of the to­tal se­nil­ity of cur­rent U.S. for­eign pol­icy. But it’s worse than that, be­cause if your an­swer was “the Kurds,” your ca­reer prospects in the Obama State Depart­ment would be quite dim.

In fact, not only do the Kurds yield pri­or­ity of State Depart­ment pref­er­ence to the Iran-al­lied Bagh­dad regime, whose con­tin­ued economic and po­lit­i­cal dom­i­na­tion over the Kurds the ad­min­is­tra­tion in­sists upon, but — in terms of real ac­tion, rather than rhetoric — the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has ar­guably done more to fa­vor the Is­lamic State as well.

Th­ese ap­palling re­al­i­ties are il­lus­trated most starkly if one con­sid­ers the key ques­tion of the fi­nan­cial foun­da­tion of each of the three gov­ern­ments. A key ex­portable prod­uct of Kur­dis­tan is oil. On the ba­sis of the Bagh­dad regime’s sup­posed right to rule all Iraq, it de­mands that the oil the Kurds pro­duce be handed over to it, for it to sell, af­ter which it will com­pen­sate the Kurds with such part of the cash re­ceived as it deems ap­pro­pri­ate. As a re­sult, the Kurds have been get­ting very lit­tle for their oil. So, rather than re­main sub­ject to such theft, the Kurds re­cently elected to lease some tankers, fill them with their oil, and send it abroad to sell it them­selves. How­ever, rather than sup­port such com­mend­able en­ter­prise, or even merely ig­nore it, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has vig­or­ously tried to sup­press it, go­ing so far as to threaten sanc­tions or other le­gal ac­tion against the gov­ern­ment of any coun­try that chooses to ac­cept Kur­dish oil for sale at its ports.

This has se­verely im­paired the Kurds’ abil­ity to ex­er­cise their right to sell the prod­ucts of their own ef­forts, thereby leav­ing them with in­suf­fi­cient funds to buy arms (which have also been de­nied them by the Bagh­dad regime). In the face of an on­slaught of dan­ger­ous Is­lamic State vic­to­ries, the ad­min­is­tra­tion has pro­vided a trickle of arms and a mod­est level of air sup­port (about ten strikes per day over the past week) to en­able the Kurds to hold the line. But, with­out ad­min­is­tra­tion in­ter­fer­ence, the Is­lamic State is be­ing mas­sively funded by Qatar and, with the fur­ther de facto sup­port pro­vided by Obama’s re­fusal to fund, arm, or pro­vide air sup­port to the ri­val Free Syr­ian Army, al­lowed to be­come the prin­ci­pal Sunni anti-As­sad re­sis­tance group in Syria. Fur­ther­more, the lead­ing Kur­dish mili­tia in Syria fight­ing the Is­lamic State has been des­ig­nated by the ad­min­is­tra­tion as a ter­ror­ist group and blocked from re­ceiv­ing any help — de­spite its prom­i­nent role in de­fend­ing the mi­nor­ity Yazidi peo­ple from geno­cide.

This in­san­ity needs to stop. The Kurds should get Amer­ica’s full sup­port, with the in­ter­ests of the Shi­ite Bagh­dad regime con­sid­ered only in­so­far as it acts as a use­ful ally to the Kurds, rather than the re­verse. There are many rea­sons we should give the Kurds our sup­port, but the cen­tral one is very sim­ple: They’ve earned it.

There is a moral ques­tion here, but also a prac­ti­cal one. It is a cen­tral prin­ci­ple of for­eign pol­icy that one should re­ward one’s loyal friends, set aside the in­ter­ests of the am­biva­lent, and pun­ish one’s en­e­mies. The Is­lamic State is clearly our en­emy. The Bagh­dad regime, in bed as it is with our Ira­nian foes, is at best am­biva­lent. What about the Kurds?

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