At Asia Times today, I explain why the entire world (excepting Israel) has lined up against the Kurds:
Except for the State of Israel and the Kingdom of Jordan, there isn’t one state in Western Asia that is viable inside its present borders at a 20-year horizon. All the powers with interests in the region want to kick the problem down the road, and that is why the whole world (excepting Israel) wants to abort an independence referendum to be held by Iraq’s eight million Kurds on Sept. 25.
I just want to add that our foreign policy elite is a pack of hypocritical, yellow-bellied, two-faced, fork-tongued, lying polecats who wouldn’t acknowledge the truth if it were tattooed on their ophidian foreheads.
Since September 11, 2001, we’ve been told that America has to ally with moderate Muslims against “extremism.” There are in fact moderate Muslims in the world. The Kurds are “moderate Muslims.” The Kurds do not persecute nonbelievers. They don’t hate Jews and Christians. They don’t forbid women to leave the house without a male relative; in fact, their militias are the only effective fighting force in the world that includes women in front-line combat units. They protect Iraqi Christians against ISIS, and Iraq’s Christians in turn support Kurdish independence. They have excellent and long-standing relations with the state of Israel. Jewish life is flourishing in the Kurdish Autonomous Region in the north of Iraq.
Most of all, Kurdish fighters are the spearhead of American-backed ground forces fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq. They do not only act the way we say we want Muslims to act, protecting Christians and Jews and promoting the equality of women. They shed blood for what they believe in.
The Kurds are everything that George W. Bush and Barack Obama told us we should find in the Islamic world, and more. They want nothing but friendship with the United States of America. And we have thrown them under the bus. There isn’t an Appalachian outhouse that stinks worse than our foreign policy establishment.
Why have we thrown them under the bus? Because we’re afraid of unsettling “extremists,” that is, the radical jihadists who have been killing Americans for decades. Kurdish independence would below up the artificial state of Iraq, which turned into an Iranian satrapy under majority Shi’ite rule as arranged by George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, and the nation-builders of the Republican establishment. It would destabilize Turkey, where Kurds of military age will outnumber Turks a generation from now. Turkish President Erdogan wants to restore Ottoman glory and the prospect of losing the Kurdish-majority Southeast drives him crazy. Turkey, notionally the Southeast flank of NATO, has already turned its back on the West, and lined up with Russia and China.
Thanks in small part to our bungling and in large part to Iran’s predation, the whole of Western Asia is unstable. Syria and Iraq look like the kind of scene from a Quentin Tarantino film where everyone has a gun trained on everyone else. The one island of stability in the whole miserable landscape, Iraqi Kurdistan, becomes a threat to the momentary stability of the region.
There are 40 million Kurds living in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria, and the question of Kurdish statehood can’t be untangled from the regional mess by a referendum. There is good reason to counsel the Kurds to exercise patience and careful statecraft in clearing this minefield. But it is utterly disgusting to ignore their national aspirations. Washington has reasons of state to manage the regional crisis artfully, and to ask the Kurds to be patient. But why are we so beholden to the doomed and destructive regimes of Iran, Syria, Turkey and Iraq that we cannot extend a hand of friendship to the Kurds? Their path to statehood may be tortuous and prolonged, but America should offer our counsel and support. If we do not, the rest of the Muslim world will smile grimly and exploit our moral cowardice.