Washington and Erbil
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.