Wash­ing­ton and Er­bil

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Gazi Has­san

Last week, two im­por­tant is­sues went vi­ral in the me­dia, one of them was re­lated to the draft bill of help­ing Kurds and Sun­nis di­rectly by Amer­ica, the other one was the visit that Pres­i­dent Barzani is due to pay to Wash­ing­ton. Both is­sues have di­rect re­la­tions with Wash­ing­ton and Er­bil of course.

The bill has great sig­nif­i­cance for Kurds and Sun­nis, but has caused Bagh­dad and Shi­ias great con­cerns and dis­com­fort. They think that this will help and sup­port the di­vi­sion of Iraq. They want ev­ery move and sup­port of the Pesh­merge to be un­der their su­per­vi­sion and con­trol of the Shia-dom­i­nant gov­ern­ment in Bagh­dad. This gov­ern­ment owes Pesh­merge sev­eral bil­lions of dol­lars and doesn’t want to pro­vide fi­nan­cial and mil­i­tary sup­port and arms to the force that has prac­ti­cally de­feated the IS.

The step the Con­gress­man (Thorn­berry) took is con­sid­ered as a sig­nif­i­cant project to the Kurds be­cause it does not only pro­vide the fi­nan­cial and mil­i­tary aid, but it is also an im­por­tant strat­egy: that no to­tal­i­tar­ian and self-im­pos­ing, or a sec­tar­ian and a racist author­ity will be able to op­pose the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion un­der un­due for­eign in­flu­ences, or to keep Sun­nis op­pressed and marginal­ized in Iraq. Though the spokesman of the US em­bassy in Iraq as­sured their com­mit­ment to the (unity of Iraq) and cen­tral­iz­ing their sup­port to Kurds and Sun­nis, but Bagh­dad is rapidly mov­ing back­ward against the will of ev­ery­one.

The other mat­ter is the visit of Pres­i­dent Ma­soud Barzani to Wash­ing­ton. The im­por­tant visit comes while dra­matic and rapid de­vel­op­ments are un­der­way in the Mid­dle East: the fate and the fu­ture map of the area, the de­vel­op­ments that have drowned Iraq un­der var­i­ous crises, and the fierce fight­ing that is go­ing on to de­stroy the IS. Con­trol­ling the city of Mo­sul and the role and goals of Pesh­merge’s par­tic­i­pa­tion could be the most im­por­tant is­sues of the visit. The bi­lat­eral re­la­tions of Er­bil and Wash­ing­ton, dis­cussing the post-ISIS era and the un­solved prob­lems be­tween Er­bil and Bagh­dad, the fu­ture of the re­li­gious and eth­nic com­po­nents whose lives and fu­ture are be­ing pro­tected by the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion could be other im­por­tant is­sues to be dis­cussed.

As the po­lit­i­cal and me­dia cen­ters men­tion, this visit of Kur­dish Pres­i­dent and his of­fi­cial meet­ing with Pres­i­dent Obama are not rou­tine meet­ings be­tween two pres­i­dents. But Pres­i­dent Barzani is ex­pected to pro­vide Wash­ing­ton with im­por­tant and vi­tal in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing Kur­dis­tan and the fu­ture of Iraq. We re­mem­ber that just some time ago, Pres­i­dent Barzani can­celled an of­fi­cial visit to Wash­ing­ton for the sake of some amend­ments of some of Wash­ing­ton’s de­ci­sion con­cern­ing Kurds and the po­lit­i­cal par­ties. This visit comes si­mul­ta­ne­ously with the draft bill of di­rectly help­ing Er­bil by Wash­ing­ton, the vic­to­ries of Pesh­merge against the IS. More­over, with the air strikes of the Saudi-led Ara­bic coali­tion against Houthis, Turkey’s re­turn to the new Ara­bic coali­tion in the Mid­dle East and with the diplo­matic res­o­lu­tion of Ira­nian nu­clear cri­sis.

The Kur­dis­tan Re­gion Pres­i­dent’s visit this time has more sig­nif­i­cance than for­mer ones. Barzani is wel­comed as a pres­i­dent of a state. The Wash­ing­ton-Er­bil re­la­tions are now reached the high­est di­rect level. Er­bil is a strate­gic cen­ter of coun­ter­ing ter­ror­ism. The po­si­tion, sup­port and the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Wash­ing­ton to strike the IS em­anates from Er­bil. The Kurds also take fur­ther in­ter­est, more than ever, to the role and sup­ports of Wash­ing­ton. The re­al­iza­tion of their his­tor­i­cal dream of es­tab­lish­ing an in­de­pen­dent, demo­cratic state is ap­proach­ing fur­ther.

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