Kerry to Kurds: “United Iraq is a stronger Iraq”

posted at 10:11 am on June 24, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

As a bumper sticker, John Kerry’s quote works well. As an argument for the Kurds to stick with Nouri al-Maliki, it’s … not exactly a winner, for the reasons NBC’s anchor states. Masoud Barzani argued yesterday that they’ve given Maliki and Baghdad their support for ten years, and what have they got from it? They’ve been locked out of Kirkuk and its oil resources and marginalized politically, and now Maliki has all but blown up “the united Iraq” in favor of cronyism for his fellow Shi’ites. United Iraq’s army has fallen apart, and the Kurds are defending their territory all by themselves, and even the Turks have finally realized that it makes more sense to have a strong Kurdistan than a collapsed Iraq on their border.

Yes, a united Iraq would be better, but it’s looking more like a pipe dream to the Kurds, thanks to Maliki’s incompetence and the American indifference that allowed it to flourish:

The State Department knows that a Kurdish declaration of independence will be the death knell for American influence in Baghdad, too:

Kerry flew to the Kurdish region after a day in Baghdad on an emergency trip through the Middle East to rescue Iraq after a lightning advance by Sunni fighters led by an al Qaeda offshoot, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. U.S. officials believe that persuading the Kurds to stick with the political process in Baghdad is vital to keeping Iraq from splitting apart.

“If they decide to withdraw from the Baghdad political process it will accelerate a lot of the negative trends,” said a senior State Department official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

If the Kurds set up their own shop, then there will be no hope of convincing Sunni leaders to return to the fold. At that point, Maliki will simply align completely with Iran rather than deal with the US at all. The US will have to shift its focus to Kurdistan, Saudia Arabia, and Jordan to contain the conflagration to Syria and Iraq. There will be no effective way to fight ISIS; neither Jordan nor Saudi Arabia will fight them, and we’re not going to ally with Tehran and Bashar al-Assad against them, either.

ISIS continues to bear down on Baghdad, and the worry now is that they have infiltrated the capital well enough to conduct a suicide-bombing campaign to destroy infrastructure and morale ahead of a frontal assault:

With ISIS forces nearing Baghdad’s city limits, U.S. officials don’t believe the relatively small, ill-equipped army of Islamic militants will be able to take the city by a frontal assault. Instead, they fear that ISIS will terrorize Baghdad by launching a wave of suicide bombings and possibly cutting off water and electricity to the city of 7.5 million.

The strategy, according to the officials, appears aimed at demoralizing residents of the city and inciting a new wave of sectarian violence that could further undermine the ruling Shia-led Iraqi government.

Asked if the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a Sunni terrorist group, has a significant cadre of suicide bombers willing to carry out such attacks, a senior U.S. counterterrorism official said that recruitment is not a problem for the group.

“Dozens of bombers? Oh yeah, maybe more,” said the official, who spoke with NBC News on condition of anonymity. “It could be less, but (it’s) a significant number.”

Wherever possible, ISIS leaders will likely attempt to use suicide bombers drawn from the foreign fighters who have flocked to Iraq in recent months to aid their cause, said U.S. officials, explaining that their use gives ISIS the ability to portray itself as an international Islamic fighting force.

One way or another, ISIS is coming. On the plus side, Baghdad’s security forces are all too familiar with suicide bombings and won’t be easily demoralized by them. However, the collapse of the army in Nineveh and Anbar shows that morale is already in crisis, so it won’t take much more of a push from ISIS to send it to its nadir inside Baghdad.


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Not when it’s ran by the Iraqi Obama. Dude Iraq is gone. I’m waiting for the Sunni/Shia civil war to expand to Baghdad this weekend. Even before ISIS gets there.

Oil Can on June 24, 2014 at 10:16 AM

I wonder whose will John Fn Kerry Who Served In Vietnam is trying to impose on Iraq now. It’s obvious that 0b00ba is clueless so he can’t be there to discuss POTUS’s ideas and cajole the Iraqis into acceding to them.

Akzed on June 24, 2014 at 10:16 AM

If only America had a light footprint on the many states that are members we might have an argument for Iraq remaining a single nation with a couple states that offers both strength and freedom.

Unfortunately, we do not have that. Thus we are not able to show them something like a Constitutional Republic which would do both.

astonerii on June 24, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Will ISIS hit Baghdad with suicide-bombing wave?

I see nothing stopping this behavior. So, yes.

Bmore on June 24, 2014 at 10:16 AM

If the reports I have seen regarding ISIS having missiles is accurate (ordinance we gave the Iraqi’s they abandoned in their flight) then ISIS will probably start with those if they can figure out how to launch them without blowing themselves up.

I am willing to wager they will have help with that.

dogsoldier on June 24, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Don’t they know Kerry served in Vietnam? I’m surprised ISIS hasn’t surrendered due to his mere presence in the region.

SLMeyer on June 24, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Thus we are not able to show them something like a Constitutional Republic which would do both.

astonerii on June 24, 2014 at 10:16 AM

It would be nicer if we still had one here.

katy the mean old lady on June 24, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Kerry to Kurds: “United Iraq is a stronger Iraq”

And a united Vietnam is a stronger Vietnam. And a united Korea is a stronger Korea. And a united Ukraine is a stronger Ukraine. And a united Israel is a stronger Israel………

Seriously, Iraq is imploding and Kerry is quoting a United Colors of Benetton ad.

Happy Nomad on June 24, 2014 at 10:26 AM

This from the man who suggested that Iraq be partitioned. (But, to be fair, he was for that before he was against it.)

ExZek on June 24, 2014 at 10:29 AM

wonder whose will John Fn Kerry Who Served In Vietnam is trying to impose on Iraq now. It’s obvious that 0b00ba is clueless so he can’t be there to discuss POTUS’s ideas and cajole the Iraqis into acceding to them.

Akzed on June 24, 2014 at 10:16 AM

MoBro fanboi Brennan? Kerry’s a pawn, way too lame to be a player.

bofh on June 24, 2014 at 10:34 AM

Lurch’s new slogan sounds like Jerry Ford’s WIN button

formwiz on June 24, 2014 at 10:34 AM

The problem with Kerry is he actually believes what comes out of his mouth. He is seriously flawed.

FireBlogger on June 24, 2014 at 10:35 AM

ExZek on June 24, 2014 at 10:29 AM

No wait, that was Biden. (They all start to agglomerate.)

ExZek on June 24, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Shutup Kerry

Pegcity on June 24, 2014 at 10:39 AM

Shutup Kerry

Pegcity on June 24, 2014 at 10:39 AM

At first glance I read “ketchup” instead of “shutup”.

VegasRick on June 24, 2014 at 10:42 AM

The men in Baghdad will bend over and let the real men take it.

docflash on June 24, 2014 at 10:44 AM

If we are not going to do anything of great significance in Iraq then we should evacuate every American from that country starting this very minute or else we are going to have hundreds if not thousands of American hostages not only taken by ISIS terrorists and Sunni tribes/Ex-Saddam army but also by taken Shiites militias…

mnjg on June 24, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Why doesn’t Kerry tell that to al-Maliki?

The Kurds have little to gain from a united Iraq–as long as they can control the oilfields of Kirkuk, they can get by.

But, never fear: Lieutenant JG John Fitzgerald Kerry will sail his Swift Boat up the Euphrates and save Baghdad.

Steve Z on June 24, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Why doesn’t Kerry tell that to al-Maliki?

The Kurds have little to gain from a united Iraq–as long as they can control the oilfields of Kirkuk, they can get by.

But, never fear: Lieutenant JG John Fitzgerald Kerry will sail his Swift Boat up the Euphrates and save Baghdad.

Steve Z on June 24, 2014 at 10:45 AM

The Kurds ain’t going back. And jerkoff kerry won’t change their mind. Maybe if he tells them that global warming is their biggest threat they will change their mind…………The world laughs in our face and we deserve it. We are the laughing stock of the world. Thanks libtards!

VegasRick on June 24, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Iraq is done as a nation.

I also suspect that the United States isn’t going to have all 50 states before long as well. Same reason: Irreconcilable Differences.

ConstantineXI on June 24, 2014 at 10:51 AM

“United Iraq is a stronger Iraq”

Iraq? Iraq? What’s “Iraq”?

Nomennovum on June 24, 2014 at 10:54 AM

…these people are destroying the world!

JugEarsButtHurt on June 24, 2014 at 10:55 AM

So the US won’t support Kurdish independence because we’re worried it will encourage infighting and push our friend Nouri towards Iran? That ship has sailed. If we can bring the Iraqi Arabs back together it will be for reasons unrelated to Kurdish independence.

The question here is if we let Barzani create a state allied with Turkey or Iran, or do we let him create a state allied with the US.

Mahna Mahna on June 24, 2014 at 11:09 AM

This is a civil war and none of our business. The US should not be “nation building”, and the tribal islamo-fascist troglodytes in the Middle East are not culturally able to handle democracy or modern civilization. As long as they are muslim goat-fuqers, they never will be civilized.

earlgrey on June 24, 2014 at 11:47 AM

Iraq is and was a construct of European power; it has no organic integrity in view of its current dominant 7th century culture. Absent a colonial power or another Saddam prepared to execute all opposition, it is destined to fall apart into tribalist factions.

Dolce Far Niente on June 24, 2014 at 12:04 PM

U.S. officials don’t believe the relatively small, ill-equipped army of Islamic militants will be able to take the city by a frontal assault.

I don’t have to think about this at all. Clearly ISIS WILL take Baghdad by frontal assault. The “experts” are universally a reverse barometer.

My happy ending will be if Kerry is captured and dealt with by ISIS.

OAN, Jay Leno called Kerry and he wants his chin back.

jukin3 on June 24, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Will ISIS hit Baghdad with suicide-bombing wave?

Is Kerry a traitor?

Ward Cleaver on June 24, 2014 at 12:38 PM

How will the special forces troops sent to Iraq on a futile mission, seeing as how Iraq has already pretty much imploded, be evacuated once Baghdad falls and the rest of the Iraqi army completely disintegrates? It is not just ISIS that is a threat to them, and expectations of them avoiding combat is wishful thinking.
American troops are going to die in vain there, and it is going to get very ugly if any of them are captured.

bobthm3 on June 24, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Isn’t a Caliphate united?

davidk on June 24, 2014 at 1:34 PM

From J.E. Dyer’s most excellent column over at liberty unyielding:

Baghdad’s population is about 3.8 million. And its geo-ethnic conditions are particularly challenging, with the city’s big majority of Shias, and the Shias’ stronghold to the south, which will be – in my estimate – too tough a nut for ISIS to crack simultaneously with a campaign in Baghdad itself.

ISIS has no intention of “marching on” Baghdad. The Sunni affiliates of ISIS are going to disrupt life in the city – government security, police, public services – so that Baghdad will be pinned down and tortured, unable to restore order or impose a unified political will. This will take some time; the point is that the campaign will be underway, even though the ISIS shock troops we saw in Mosul are not careering through the city in a visible and identifiable manner.

Read more at http://libertyunyielding.com/2014/06/16/isis-iraq-pause-assault-baghdad/#fR7XBvR9lw3bVQG2.99

She breaks it down better than anything I’ve come across so far.

can_con on June 24, 2014 at 1:36 PM

I’m assuming that the reason we are not flooding the Kurds with military and humanitarian support is so they will continue on the disastrous course of supporting a unified Shia dominated Iraq, (how that might work I don’t know). The reason couldn’t be that we want to screw our only real ally in the whole middle east (other than Israel who we also seem to want to screw).

Rancher on June 24, 2014 at 1:51 PM

The Kurds look at a central government and say “Why should we continue supporting this unresponsive and often oppressive governing entity with the lives of our young people and our wealth, when it is collapsing in on itself due to years of corruption and mismanagement?”

Obama and Kerry are concerned, not just about Iraq. How long until the average American begins asking the same question about Washington D.C.?

s1im on June 24, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Yes, a united Iraq would be better, but it’s looking more like a pipe dream to the Kurds

More like a pipe bomb.

Marcola on June 24, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Isn’t a Caliphate united?

davidk on June 24, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Um, well…
The Sunni ISIS want a Sunni caliphate. The Persians (in “Iran”) want a Shia caliphate. And it’s not a question of, whoever gets one first, wins.

In fact, it’s likely that there will two caliphates, one Sunni-led and one Shia-led. The war between them is already starting…

Got popcorn?

ReggieA on June 24, 2014 at 10:03 PM

How does Sec. of State Kerry define a United Irag? Is he going to mandate that United establish a factory in Iraq. WOW!!! What a terror it would be flying United aircraft made in Iraq.

MSGTAS on June 25, 2014 at 9:28 AM