Kurdish Vote Could Break The US Plan To Defeat ISIS


kurdisatanIraqi Kurds’ decision to hold an independence referendum Monday may foil the current U.S. strategy to defeat the Islamic State.

The Kurdish referendum met nearly universal international opposition and anger from the federal government in Baghdad. Kurdish supporters of the referendum, including Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani, say they are a distinct people undermined by their inclusion in the state of Iraq.

Iraqi Arab leaders say they understand the Kurds’ concerns, but believe any differences can be resolved through negotiations with the federal government. The Iraqi Supreme Court declared the referendum nullified before it even took place and some lawmakers have indicated military action against the KRG is possible after the expected yes vote.

The U.S. and its allies have adamantly opposed the referendum, saying it distracts from the broader goal of defeating ISIS. The U.S. backed anti-ISIS coalition in cooperation with Kurdish and Iraqi Security Forces have made significant progress against the terrorist group in Iraq. The gains against the terrorist group are tenuous however, and the U.S. fears violence in Iraq will just give ISIS the space to rise up once again.

Kurdish authorities are also holding the referendum in disputed areas of control which more than anything could trigger a military confrontation with Baghdad. The country’s parliament demanded Monday that Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi deploy troops to “all of the zones the autonomous region of Kurdistan has taken control of since 2003.”

“Already the referendum has negatively affected Defeat-ISIS coordination to dislodge ISIS from its remaining areas of control in Iraq. The decision to hold the referendum in disputed areas is especially de-stabilizing, raising tensions which ISIS and other extremist groups are now seeking to exploit,” the U.S. Department of State said Wednesday.

Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman U.S. Army Col. Ryan Dillon similarlytold reporters Thursday that “there is a distraction from the fight against ISIS” because of the referendum.

The referendum could also trigger conflict with Kurdistan’s neighbors, Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is holding military exercises on the Turkish-Kurdish border and even indicated his forces could slip into the country to restore order. “We could arrive suddenly one night,” he declared.




14 responses to “Kurdish Vote Could Break The US Plan To Defeat ISIS”

  1. Kurds in Iraq vote for independence.
    Iraq’s Prime Minister says no dialogue with Erbil until Kurdistan Referendum results are cancelled.

    How Erbil can have a dialogue with Bagdad if Erbil don’t have the Kurdish people’s approval for a dialogue?

    Is a new war looming in the Middle East? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1b4df098dec797b70c4641ce4576301b8922e2c1d9ac24eea43cdbb334c62375.jpg

    As if the whole madness of the Russian extermination war in Syria wasn’t enough. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a191a62138616c1770f1dcc9951ee359793bcd77861e2ae3674f8d4c3407a19c.jpg Germany and France donate hospitals – The Kremlin destroys them.

    A UN probe has found that Russian officials in Crimea committed serious rights abuses, including the deportation and torture of prisoners. Investigators also documented crackdowns on Ukrainian citizenship and culture.

    “Imposing citizenship on the inhabitants of an occupied territory can be equated to compelling them to swear allegiance to a power they may consider as hostile, which is forbidden under the Fourth Geneva Convention,” said UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein.
    Some 19,000 people, most of whom were civil servants wanting to keep their job under Moscow’s rule, were in effect forced to renounce their Ukrainian citizenship.

  2. Steve Harvey Avatar
    Steve Harvey

    One can’t help but worry about the future of the Counter-ISIL Coalition after this referendum. It raises serious questions about future Iraqi-KRG cooperation in the fight against ISIS. This ill-timed referendum will boost Kurdish militancy and will harm the KRG in the end. The KRG is struggling with refugees, massive debt to IOCs and civil servant salary delays. Military intervention from Turkey and Iran is very likely now, and will probably stoke more PKK/PJAK/KDPI violence in Turkey and Iran. Serok Barzani shot himself in the foot this time.

    1. One can’t help but worry about the future of Israel.

      After the 1967 war, Israel still occupies the so called West Bank.

      It raises serious questions about future Israeli-Palestinian cooperation in the peace process.

      Israel is struggling with refugees from Africa, and massive military costs.

      The Israeli government don’t care about the growing poverty among its own citizens.

      Military intervention from Hezbollah and Hamas is very likely now, when Iran is ‘practically’ on the Israeli border.
      Benjamin Netanyahu (Israel) is the one that shot himself in the foot.

    2. MekensehParty Avatar

      It is well known that all who gathered to fight Isis are just waiting for that fight to be over to start killing each others. So it’s not surprising at all to see this “Coalition” fall apart now that the Caliphate is entering its last and final decline. Sure Kurdistan is in a bad shape financially and surrounded from all sides by the 4 countries that treated Kurds like second class citizens at best, or WMD lab rats at worse, nonetheless if you look closer none of these 4 countries can do much besides barking. Iraq and Syria are incapable of fighting the Kurds who are now well entrenched in well defended territories. Erdogas is barking as usual but if he dares attacking Kurdistan he looses a lot of oil/pipelines revenues and he knows very well that not one Turkish city will be safe from Kurdish terrorist attacks, and that’s not counting a costly military campaign without guarantees of success, quite the contrary what is sure is that it will be a quagmire. Iran can send its Iraqi militias for the same results as Turkey, its army or RGC constantly harassed by Iranian Kurds.
      Worth mentioning that the USA, while busy worrying about more important challenges in the region, will not stand idly by and certainly won’t allow any attack on its only true ally in the region.
      In my humble opinion if Barzani continues to play the friendly and peaceful divorce card, he just might be able to carve out an independent nation extremely rich in resources. The haters can bark, but soon, very soon they will be biting one another…

      1. The Kurds deserve a state, ISIS or no ISIS. And speaking of ISIS, it’s the Kurds who were actually stemming the Islamists’ onslaught when the Iraqi “army” was fleeing in all directions.

        1. The Kurd’s seem very passionate and appear to have enough Nationalism to support a country. They will be looking for regional allies. Until I have seen otherwise, I feel they have sane, determined leadership that supports democracy and could be a very good friend or a potent enemy if you try to attack them.
          Do you think a Kurdistan could exist as an independent country from Iraq, but united as Greater Iraq union? The Shiite government in Baghdad would have to work with Kurdistan and not try to undermine or create little Hezbullah terrorist units (AKA Iran) within Kurdistan.
          Iran and Turkey are “chomping at the bit”, but are clearly thinking twice before making any moves.

      2. A well balanced and coherent analysis. This will not sit easy with the delusional reactionaries and and drama queens.

    3. Another Westerner convincingly showing a persecuted indigenous people that it’s not fit to decide its own destiny. I bet the eminent “anti-Orientalist” Edward Said would agree with you! 🙂

      1. Steve Harvey Avatar
        Steve Harvey

        The KRG could have decided their future status after the War on ISIS is over, instead of destabilizing/distracting the region with this ill-timed vote. I’m all for Iraqi/Kurdish democracy (that’s what 4500 US troops died for). America and NATO gave a lot (including the lives of its troops) to help the KRG fight ISIS. is it asking too much form Barzani to show some restraint during the final phase of the War on ISIS in Iraq?

        1. MekensehParty Avatar

          It’s actually the best time to do it. Isis is still in Iraq and the 4 surrounding countries can’t afford a new front in Kurdistan, especially that the Greater Kurdistan extends deep into their own territories. In fact they all need the organized Peshmerga troops to hold ground taken from Isis. Furthermore, the argument of waiting for all other countries (especially the ones bound to loose the most) agreeing to allow an independence vote is bs (pardon my french). Should we have asked the founding fathers to delay the Declaration of Independence for a few years or decades just because the timing was inopportune? No, they actually waited for the moment to be inadequate for the Brits, with a weak and almost bankrupt king, to say: See that large continent, it’s now ours. Good luck stopping us.
          I think the Kurds should be encouraged and protected, and they will be regardless of the “official” condemnation of the US and other Western countries. Looking at the leaders of the 4 other countries (a fake nato-ally, a falling dictator, a weak PM and THE archenemy) Kurdistan and Barzani are the kind of true allies we need in the region.
          Whether they will gain true independence is yet to be seen. For now the Kurds have scored several points and are sure to get complete autonomy at the very least. There will be some skirmishes eventually, but an all out war by any and all neighbors on Kurdistan is simply suicidal.

        2. john zamer Avatar
          john zamer

          the israeli plot is to divide and conquer, it ‘s been the same plot since sikes picot, after ottoman empire fell this was all planned, get with the program, the people of the middle east are wise to it i assure you.
          You are cheering for people dying who fight isis, you are cheering for isis.

        3. john zamer Avatar
          john zamer

          sykes picot.

          “It also collided with the vision of the US President Woodrow Wilson, who preached self-determination for the peoples subjugated by the Ottoman Empire.
          His foreign policy adviser Edward House was later informed of the agreement by UK Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, who 18 months on was to put his name to a declaration which was to have an even more fateful impact on the region.
          House wrote: “It is all bad and I told Balfour so. They are making it a breeding place for future war.”

          surely you realize this is direct evidence that the people behind israel are behind sykes picot, it is literally historical fact.

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