Kurdish president declares that “time is now” for going their own way

posted at 4:01 pm on June 23, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The trip to Baghdad turned out to be productive, but perhaps too little too late to prevent the disintegration of Iraq. John Kerry succeeded in getting the besieged Iraqis to start working on a better power-sharing arrangement, in hope of producing a unified government in the face of an onslaught by the ISIS terrorist army. All of the main political leaders have committed to seating the new Parliament by July 1 as required by their constitution, and to work together to rebuild sectarian support for the central government:

Kerry on Monday met with top officials from Iraq’s bitterly divided Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish political coalitions during a quick trip to Baghdad.

He said each of the Iraqi officials — including Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (NOO’-ree ahl-MAHL’-ih-kee) — committed to seat the new parliament by July 1 as the constitution requires.

Iraq’s leaders have in the past delayed decisions on how to divide power.

Scolding the fractious Iraqi politicians and military leaders was Kerry’s priority in his trip to Baghdad, but he also held out a potential carrot, too:

“Well, I’m here obviously to convey to you President Obama’s and the American people’s commitment to help Iraq,” Mr. Kerry said. “We have two tracks as you know: One is the security situation and the other is the political situation. And we need to work them in parallel.”

Mr. Kerry then added that the top priority was “for the Iraqi people, for the integrity of the country, its borders, for its sovereignty,” and he said that ISIS was a threat to “all of us.”

The insurgents, Mr. Nujaifi responded, were “a threat to the entire world, and we have to confront it through direct military operations and through political reforms so that we can inject new hope into our own people so that they can support the political process and the unity of Iraq.” …

President Obama is considering carrying out airstrikes against the militants, but the White House does not want to take sides in a sectarian clash in Iraq and, thus, is urging the Iraqis to pull together.

“The United States would like to see the Iraqi people find leadership that is prepared to represent all of the people of Iraq,” Mr. Kerry said during the Sunday stop in Cairo.

Is it too little, too late? It sounds like it is for Kurdish president Masoud Barzani. In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour earlier today, Barzani said that Kurds have spent the past ten years committed to a federal system of democratic government in a united Iraq. They have engaged in the political system, worked with Baghdad despite plenty of disputes over the status of Kirkuk and Mosul, and have defended the country with their Peshmerga — more ably, as it turns out, than the Iraqi military. Now, Barzani says in a thinly-veiled demand for independent nationhood, it’s time to let the Kurds go their own way:

“Iraq is obviously falling apart,” he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview. “And it’s obvious that the federal or central government has lost control over everything. Everything is collapsing – the army, the troops, the police.”

“We did not cause the collapse of Iraq. It is others who did. And we cannot remain hostages for the unknown,” he said through an interpreter.

“The time is here for the Kurdistan people to determine their future and the decision of the people is what we are going to uphold.” …

“After the recent events in Iraq, it has been proved that the Kurdish people should seize the opportunity now – the Kurdistan people should now determine their future.”

That would be very bad news indeed for Baghdad, and for the Iraqi military, and especially for American efforts to hold Iraq together as a multi-sectarian republic not completely under the thumb of Iran. If the Kurds hit the exits, then there isn’t much reason for the Sunnis to stick around either — and not much reason for Maliki to ask for American assistance, or to get it. The majority Shi’ite government will instead look to Iran for Shi’ite support and fight a sectarian war, with the Kurds on the sidelines fighting ISIS on their own. With Turkey now looking to the Kurds as their “best ally” in the region, independence may be more within their grasp than ever before.

Kerry will meet Barzani in Erbil tomorrow, and may not like what he’ll hear.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

John Kerry succeeded in getting the besieged Iraqis to start working on a better power-sharing arrangement,

WITH AL QAEDA!!!!111!!!!!1!11

What are you saying?

faraway on June 23, 2014 at 4:05 PM

Iraq as you’ve known it for 100 years is dead.

obama helped to kill it, like all else.

Schadenfreude on June 23, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Like Pat Turley trying to get the Kuomintang and the Commies* to join forces against Japan.

*As the Reds were already playing footsie with the Rising Sun against the Kuomintang, a fool’s errand.

formwiz on June 23, 2014 at 4:12 PM

Put up another Romney

Ted Cruz says, “In both law and politics, I think the essential battle is the meta-battle of framing the narrative.” From his reading of Sun Tzu he has learned that a battle is won by “choosing the terrain on which it will be fought.” Photograph by Pari Dukovic.

Ted Cruz, the Republican junior senator from Texas, has heard the line about how the Party needs to become more moderate to win Presidential elections. “It is amazing that the wisdom of the chattering class to the Republicans is always, always, always ‘Surrender your principles and agree with the Democrats,’ ” he told me. “That’s been true for my entire lifetime.

The chattering classes have consistently said, ‘You crazy Republicans have to give up on what you believe and become more like Democrats.’ And, I would note, every time Republicans do that we lose.” Cruz then offered a short history of recent Presidential politics. Richard Nixon ran as a conservative, twice a winner; Gerald Ford, moderate, loser; Ronald Reagan, also twice a winner. “President George Herbert Walker Bush ran as a strong conservative, ran to continue the third term of Ronald Reagan, continue the Ronald Reagan revolution,” Cruz went on. “Then he raised taxes and in ’92 ran as an establishment moderate—same candidate, two very different campaigns. First one won, second one lost. In 1996, you got Bob Dole; 2000 and 2004, you have George W. Bush; 2008, John McCain; 2012, Mitt Romney. And what does the entire D.C. Republican consulting class say? ‘In 2016, we need another establishment moderate!’ Hasn’t worked in four decades. ‘But next time will be the time!’ ”

Schadenfreude on June 23, 2014 at 4:13 PM

“The time is here for the Kurdistan people to determine their future and the decision of the people is what we are going to uphold.” …

Get air defenses and an air force fast. Neither Turkey, or Iran are going to be happy about this turn of events. Sooner or later there will be a showdown. The Kurdish minorities in those countries will grow restive and they will see an independent Kurdistan as a threat…which it is.

sharrukin on June 23, 2014 at 4:14 PM

…To the shock of no one. Except maybe the entire Obama Admin.

BigGator5 on June 23, 2014 at 4:16 PM

No one cares what Kerry/obama think.

They gave the bad ones lots of green lights…and they took each one.

Schadenfreude on June 23, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Has that idiot left Iraq yet? I don’t want to see him murdered by terrorists. That place is coming completely unglued and we shouldn’t send anybody else over there. It’s too late.

forest on June 23, 2014 at 4:17 PM

Get air defenses and an air force fast. Neither Turkey, or Iran are going to be happy about this turn of events. Sooner or later there will be a showdown. The Kurdish minorities in those countries will grow restive and they will see an independent Kurdistan as a threat…which it is.

sharrukin on June 23, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Oh, yes. Turkey’s going to lose its collective mind.

Abelard on June 23, 2014 at 4:19 PM

At this point, I don’t know what Kurdish independence would look like. But I am sure that it would be a measure above an ISIS Caliphate.

If I remember correctly, the Kurds have been the most loyal of the allies on the ground fighting against Saddam and his loyalists, Baathists and Shiites. I don’t recall any Kurds shooting Americans in the back.

BigAlSouth on June 23, 2014 at 4:20 PM

The Kurds are our only hope for continuing to exercise some influence in godforsaken Mesopotamia. Give them what they want. (Yes, yes, yes, I know they are a crime syndicate as much as a nation, but those are the cards that were dealt.)

Esaus Message on June 23, 2014 at 4:21 PM

Now that Turkey is on-board, a Kurdish nation sounds like a good deal for everyone except Maliki and Obama.

Immolate on June 23, 2014 at 4:22 PM

Oh, yes. Turkey’s going to lose its collective mind.

Abelard on June 23, 2014 at 4:19 PM

It may actually present a political threat to Erdogan because from reports he relies on Kurdish votes to win elections. Kurds are not popular in Turkey and an independent Kurdistan, particularly if followed by an upswing in Kurdish violence in Turkey, could threaten that political alliance.

Erdogan could be threatened by more radical parties, or he could be forced to turn on his Kurdish allies to retain domestic Turkish support.

sharrukin on June 23, 2014 at 4:23 PM

Hey.

Sometimes I start to wonder if Obama was put into office to blow up the Middle East all by his-awesome-self. Maybe with some help from Valerie Jarrett, the Iranian – but this stank isn’t turning out the way ole ValJar and her b*tch thought it would.

Or sumthin like that. Who knows.

/Kim Kardashian’s Butt and Torie Spelling and … you know the drill.

Key West Reader on June 23, 2014 at 4:23 PM

a smart president would pull the embassy and everything else out of iraq and recognize the kurds’ independence, and make a major alliance with them. the kurds love us still, even though they like everyone else are tired of obama’s stupidity. if the turks really are looking favorably at the iraqi kurds (for whatever reason) bring them in as well. a US-kurd-turkey alliance would counter iran and would be more stable and pro-israel than any US-arab alliance has been.

let the arabs slaughter each other until they’re sick of it.

deepelemblues on June 23, 2014 at 4:23 PM

There are also Kurds in Syria.

The Kurds shouldn’t do this until after the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Obama will figure out a way to screw them too.

It’s how he rolls.

MichaelGabriel on June 23, 2014 at 4:26 PM

Erdogan could be threatened by more radical parties, or he could be forced to turn on his Kurdish allies to retain domestic Turkish support.

sharrukin on June 23, 2014 at 4:23 PM

I’m thinking that Erdogan might want to NOT face ISIS / ISIL. His chickens are coming home to roost because he allied with political Islam.

I think we need to start looking at Pakistan – what is their position, if any? Any news on that?

Egypt is secure.

Key West Reader on June 23, 2014 at 4:27 PM

deepelemblues on June 23, 2014 at 4:23 PM

When you go down to Deep Elem, put your money in your socks.

John the Libertarian on June 23, 2014 at 4:29 PM

The Kurds shouldn’t do this until after the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Obama will figure out a way to screw them too.

It’s how he rolls.

MichaelGabriel on June 23, 2014 at 4:26 PM

So. Your home is under attack, your children and your wife may be killed along with your cattle, your ranch and everything you’ve worked for.

And So. You’re a Kurd. And you’re going to WAIT FOR OBAMA to make a decision?

/Dood.

Key West Reader on June 23, 2014 at 4:29 PM

So, is still going to send the 300 troops. Pull the plug one embassy.

Oil Can on June 23, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Iraq as you’ve known it for 100 years is dead.

obama helped to kill it, like all else.

Schadenfreude on June 23, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Yep, reverse Midas touch.

slickwillie2001 on June 23, 2014 at 4:33 PM

So, is still going to send the 300 troops. Pull the plug one embassy.

Oil Can on June 23, 2014 at 4:30 PM

If he orders our SEALS in there, that’s a two time strike and another offensive move against America.

This guy has got to go back to Chicago in a plane.

Key West Reader on June 23, 2014 at 4:33 PM

I’m thinking that Erdogan might want to NOT face ISIS / ISIL. His chickens are coming home to roost because he allied with political Islam.

He may have no choice as they have been building networks in Turkey along with other Muslim groups. They will activate and start using those networks sooner or later.

Erdogan will then be caught between the Kurds and the even more radical Jihadists. Some tough choices ahead for him if he survives.

I think we need to start looking at Pakistan – what is their position, if any? Any news on that?

Not sure beyond their usual perpetual instability.

Egypt is secure.

Key West Reader on June 23, 2014 at 4:27 PM

I think the next ISIS/ISIL move will be against Assad of Syria, or Jordan. The Palestinians inside Jordan are not terribly loyal to the Hashemites. If they rise in coordination with a ISIS attack Jordan could be in trouble. A lot will depend on ISIS fortunes within Iraq.

sharrukin on June 23, 2014 at 4:33 PM

A Kurdish state will be the only silver lining in this Democrat inflicted disaster.

ConstantineXI on June 23, 2014 at 4:34 PM

And So. You’re a Kurd. And you’re going to WAIT FOR OBAMA to make a decision?

/Dood.

Key West Reader on June 23, 2014 at 4:29 PM

I’m saying Obama injecting his incompetent self into the situation is the certain kiss of death for any freedom loving people.

If Obama has any say at all, it will not turn out well for the Kurds.

MichaelGabriel on June 23, 2014 at 4:34 PM

Iraq as you’ve known it for 100 years is dead.

obama helped to kill it, like all else.

Schadenfreude on June 23, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Obama helped, but Iraq was coming apart as soon as we took away the dictator holding it all together. It was only a matter of time. The only other option was to actually run the place for several decades as they learned to be grown-ups and get rid of tribalism and their death cult. And the American people were not going to let that sort of thing happen.

GWB on June 23, 2014 at 4:37 PM

And So. You’re a Kurd. And you’re going to WAIT FOR OBAMA to make a decision?
/Dood.
Key West Reader on June 23, 2014 at 4:29 PM

Obama dithers until everyone is dead. Unless it’s the muzzie bros, in which case he goes to war and tells congress to Fluke itself.

ConstantineXI on June 23, 2014 at 4:37 PM

If he orders our SEALS in there, that’s a two time strike and another offensive move against America.

This guy has got to go back to Chicago in a plane.

Key West Reader on June 23, 2014 at 4:33 PM

Are you kidding!? He’s gotta make sure they are so riled up they will indeed hit us here in the USA again.

hawkeye54 on June 23, 2014 at 4:38 PM

More power to the Kurds if they want an independent country, and are ready to defend the oil-rich parts of northeastern Iraq. They are probably making nice with Turkey because, if they are cut off from the Persian Gulf, the only way to sell their oil is through Turkey and its numerous ports on the Mediterranean.

The Kurds have always been the friendliest to the United States of all the people living in Iraq. They may not want to intervene in preventing ISIS from reaching Baghdad, but they will defend their own territory. If ISIS does take over Baghdad, they will find themselves isolated from everyone, harassed by the Kurds to the east and the Shiites the south, with no access to the Persian Gulf, and the only possible trade route across the desert in Syria.

Steve Z on June 23, 2014 at 4:38 PM

I think the next ISIS/ISIL move will be against Assad of Syria, or Jordan. The Palestinians inside Jordan are not terribly loyal to the Hashemites. If they rise in coordination with a ISIS attack Jordan could be in trouble. A lot will depend on ISIS fortunes within Iraq.

sharrukin on June 23, 2014 at 4:33 PM

I think the ISIS/ISIL fortunes continue apace.

I also think the House of Saud is shiiting its collective shirts and head-dresses for aligning itself with Obama.

Let the Kurds fight it out – Ashamed to say it but at this point the Kurds appear to be better equipped than our American Military – not because they are incapable – but because they are “ruled” by this shuck jiving farce of a CnC.

Key West Reader on June 23, 2014 at 4:42 PM

The Kurds are one of the very few groups who were totally disenfranchised after WWI and WWII, never given a chance for self-governance.

The Turks have adopted a new program of rapprochement with the Kurds in recent years – after decades of oppression – and now allow Kurdish language signs on businesses, for example, which were prohibited before. But this falls short of true separation – they will oppose a true Kurdistan because it involves territory and resource.

The Kurds’ traditional territory spans from northern Iran and Iraq into Turkey and Syria. And they have been fiercely oppressed by all those governments for most of the last century.

Adjoran on June 23, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Are you kidding!? He’s gotta make sure they are so riled up they will indeed hit us here in the USA again.

hawkeye54 on June 23, 2014 at 4:38 PM

NYC, Chicago, LA, Houston…

Remember we are post-9/11. It’s a whole different ballgame out here in the hinterland.

Key West Reader on June 23, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Good luck, Kurds.

You’re not just fighting Al-Q, ISIS, ISIL, et al… You’re also fighting Barack Hussein Obama.

That’s a scary thought. This man needs to be removed from office.

Lesson: Don’t elect and then re-elect homey the klown from Chick-a-go, k?

Key West Reader on June 23, 2014 at 4:47 PM

The Sunni insurgency in Iraq is much bigger than ISIS terrorists… There is no way that 10,000 ISIS terrorists are able on their own to control such large parts of Iraq and defeat an Iraqi army numbering in the 100′s of thousands and has an infinitely superior fire power over ISIS… 80% of the insurgency is made up of local Sunni tribes and ex-Saddam forces… ISIS terrorists are excellent at propaganda and they make it look that they are the one winning these large areas of Iraq but in reality then are only a small portion of the total Sunni insurgency…

mnjg on June 23, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Ditch the head gear and get a rack of Armani suits, best of luck to you sir.

ThePrez on June 23, 2014 at 4:51 PM

I also think the House of Saud is shiiting its collective shirts and head-dresses for aligning itself with Obama.

Key West Reader on June 23, 2014 at 4:42 PM

I am not sure about that. Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the Gulf States play this game of backing radicals as non-state actors in their power plays. They are good at it, but it can get out of control. Saudi Arabia does this with the Wahhabists in the Kingdom as well.

Perhaps they should be worried but I suspect they are somewhat pleased with has been accomplished. I simply do not believe that they didn’t know what was coming as far as the ISIS offensive goes. They knew and they trained, funded, and supplied this group.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Their name doesn’t strike me as all that confusing and yet the Sunni Saudi’s and Gulf States opened the support faucets for years.

They knew this was coming and wanted it. Now the Shia government in Baghdad is on the ropes. Iran may move in, or establish a Shia client state, but they are only getting a small slice of Iraq rather than the whole country. Jordan also helped train ISIS in two camps inside the country. They have booted them out recently but they were backing ISIS previously.

sharrukin on June 23, 2014 at 4:54 PM

sharrukin on June 23, 2014 at 4:54 PM

You are using the word ISIS very loosely… Jordan trained ISIS terrorists? Where the f*** did you get this information from? Are you confusing Syrian rebels with ISIS? ISIS has been allied directly or indirectly with Assad since January 2014 only killing the rebels and doing very little to Assad and Assad doing very little to ISIS… However both are fighting and killing the rebels…

mnjg on June 23, 2014 at 4:58 PM

mnjg on June 23, 2014 at 4:58 PM

Several people have already posted several videos of ISIS murdering Syrian army personnel which you ignore because it conflicts with what you want to believe.

sharrukin on June 23, 2014 at 5:09 PM

Iraq is just separating back to where it was in the Turkish Empire prior to WWI. The British cobbled it together with Iraq. Or so it seems if you look at a pre-WWI map of Kurdistan.

CW20 on June 23, 2014 at 5:14 PM

I have a question – how’s come the Kurds (Sunnis) fight against ISIS(Sunni), yet Turkey (Sunni) do not? Turkey borders Iraq just as Kurdistan does. Seems to me that we’re fighting Turkey’s battles for them. F that.

8 weight on June 23, 2014 at 5:15 PM

With Turkey now looking to the Kurds as their “best ally” in the region, independence may be more within their grasp than ever before.

So, it is moderately weird that it was secular nationalism that caused the strife between Turkey and the Kurds, while it is the new-ish sectarian Islamist government of Turkey that is the Kurd’s “best ally”.

Count to 10 on June 23, 2014 at 5:18 PM

Maybe Uncle Joe will get his premise fulfilled after all. If these ‘folks’ can’t get along, then just maybe the Brits got it wrong 90 years ago. We lost so many sons and daughters trying to make that sandbox stick together is the worst part of this whole deal.

Kissmygrits on June 23, 2014 at 5:19 PM

I have a question – how’s come the Kurds (Sunnis) fight against ISIS(Sunni), yet Turkey (Sunni) do not? Turkey borders Iraq just as Kurdistan does. Seems to me that we’re fighting Turkey’s battles for them. F that.

8 weight on June 23, 2014 at 5:15 PM

The Kurds aren’t Sunni — they have their own religion, or so I have heard.

Count to 10 on June 23, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Several people have already posted several videos of ISIS murdering Syrian army personnel which you ignore because it conflicts with what you want to believe.

sharrukin on June 23, 2014 at 5:09 PM

Sure they have killed Syrian army personnel but they have killed 20 times more rebels… So if ISIS terrorists are dedicating 99% of their effort to fight the rebels and 1% to fight Assad and also Assad is dedicating 99% of his effort to fight the rebels and 1% to fight ISIS so it is very clear to me that ISIS/Assad are directly or indirectly allied against the rebels in Syria and they have token fights against each others but almost their entire war efforts is against the rebels…

mnjg on June 23, 2014 at 5:22 PM

What would happen if Russia was the first to recognize Kurdishstan, that would really burn Obama.

Patricksp on June 23, 2014 at 7:28 PM

Turkey will be a majority Kurdish State by 2050.

The Kurds have strong ethnic ties in regions bordering northern Iraq, including Iran.

If the Kurds break away, they will take eastern Syria with them. That will be Lesser Kurdistan. They will fight and kill ISIS for Mosul and Kirkuk, and then seek to push through to the Med, possibly with the help of Assad.

The Turks will seek to make a deal with the Kurds and the Kurds will seek to get the large section of southern Turkey that is ethnically Kurdish.

With a way to the Med and a section of Turkey, you will have Greater Kurdistan. And that will then seek to absorb the part of Northern Iran that is Kurdish and other ethnic minorities will help them.

Iran may want to deal with ISIS via what is left of Iraq. It either brokers a deal with the Kurds or faces a multi-front war. I would not be surprised to see the Kurds offer help to the Baluchs who are a potent ethnic minority in eastern Iran.

Iran may get what it wished for in trying to control Iraq, but it may very well find itself in a massive ethnic civil war that it will lose because they do not have any decent military while the Kurds are the best fighters in the region and the Baluchs the most cohesive ethnic group in their eastern region.

The Baluchs would love to carve out a part of Iran for Lesser Baluchistan. They will look for help to do this, and then to start shifting resources towards freeing their brothers in Pakistan.

The map of the Middle East might look extremely different in just a few years.

The Kurds have waited since the end of WWI to get what was promised them: Kurdistan.

And it looks like they are about to get it.

First oil.

Then sea access.

Then deal with Iran.

Oh, and wipe out terrorists wherever they pop up from the Arab Sunnis. They hate al Qaeda in the Kurdish regions. AQ terrorists don’t know how to aim a rifle. Kurds do. That makes all the difference in the world.

ajacksonian on June 23, 2014 at 8:14 PM

The Kurds aren’t Sunni — they have their own religion, or so I have heard.

Count to 10 on June 23, 2014 at 5:20 PM

You might be thinking of the Yezidi. They are a Kurdish group that practices an old Zoroastrian religion. But they’re a pretty small minority.

Kurd is an ethnic group. They have several different Kurdish languages, similar to Farsi.

Most of the Kurds are Sunni, but they also have a Shia group called the Failis. Also, the Kurdish Sunni tend to interpret Islamic law differently from the Sunni Arabs. They’re generally less strict and have a lot of mysticism mixed in.

Mahna Mahna on June 24, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Get air defenses and an air force fast. Neither Turkey, or Iran are going to be happy about this turn of events. Sooner or later there will be a showdown. The Kurdish minorities in those countries will grow restive and they will see an independent Kurdistan as a threat…which it is.

sharrukin on June 23, 2014 at 4:14 PM

When people ask “Whatever shall we do?”, my first item is to give the Kurds anything they want, short of nukes. When Turkey gets upset, ask them if they’d rather have ISIS at their back door, or the Kurds? Heck, they may give the Kurds more territory, if only to obtain defense in depth!

I also would give Jordan, and Lebanon, assistance. Surely they are both on ISIS’s List of Things to Do. And of course, Israel: I’d tell them that those bombs they don’t have… if they need to use them, we’re cool with that.

And not the least, I’d use gunboat diplomacy to spring that Christian, American family held captive in Somalia. And I’d shoot a few rounds, before announcing my demands. It’s one thing when your adversary can tell themselves, “Oh, the US would never do that.” It’s quite another for them to realize that the US just did that.
And as brutality and bloodshed are considered credentials over there, we need to slaughter some people to have any hope of using diplomacy. Otherwise, they just laugh at the paper tiger.

ReggieA on June 24, 2014 at 11:16 PM