Inrecent days, Iraqi Kurds deeply frustrated with American foreign policy made an unprecedented display toward their longstanding ally: banners featuring anti-American slogans began to dot our capital city. This would be normal in Baghdad or Tehran, but not here.
The signs were quickly removed, yet the raw feelings remain over America’s “betrayal” following our independence referendum. Despite our strained relations, the US is still our best friend in the past, present and future.
If you asked any Kurd who their best ally was prior to the referendum, for decades the enthusiastic answer would always be “America!” Comedian Samantha Bee recently aired a segment featuring the Kurdistan Region as one of the only places abroad where President Donald J. Trump is overwhelmingly popular — and even showed a family whose newborn bears the name “Trump.”
Kurdish diplomacy and support was put to the test by America’s opposition to their independence from Iraq. This time is not a win for the Kurds, but a win can be achieved if the Kurds adapt diplomatic techniques,something the Americans are more comfortable with.
Many might say that there isn’t a much of mutual interests between America and the Kurds, but the interests between the US and the Kurds is equal to the interests of US with many other countries in Middle East.
The historic relations between America and the Kurds goes far back. In 1970 the US supported the Kurdish political parties in northern Iraq in an attempt to overthrow Saddam Hussein’s ruling Ba’ath Party, in 1975 one of the Kurds great leader “Mulla” Mustafa Barzani was granted to pursue his political ambitions in America. In 1991, in the wake of the Gulf-War which drove Iraqi troops out of Kuwait,the Kurds launched a revolt,under the protection of America through the establishment of “Iraqi no-fly zones” and in 1998 the US helped the Kurds to bring an end to the Kurdish civil war between two major Kurdish political parties in Iraqi Kurdistan (KDP/PUK).
In 2003 the Kurds returned the favor, and fought alongside American forces to overthrow the Iraqi regime and in 2014 Kurds led the fight to destroy the Islamic State, accomplishing America’s mission to defeat terror without deploying “boots on the ground.”
So, the relationship is not new, of course there has been ups and downs in both sides relationships and this is healthy, it happens even between a family members. So a new chapter can be opened between the Kurds and the America based on mutual understanding and long lasting partnerships. It’s on America’s long-term interests to help and support the Kurds,as the threats of Iran is getting greater in the region and there will be a greater influence on Iraq for a long term: few countries in the middle-east such as Lebanon is getting weak and most possibly become another Syria in the near future,Turkey is in turmoil and chaos, since the failed coup in Turkey.
Above all, no matter what the US policy is for the Kurds in the short/medium and long term, the Kurds will continue believe in America and support the US ambitions for democracy, peace and security in the world.