The United States announced last month that it intends to keep troops in Syria to support Kurdish-led fighters there until the Islamic State has been completely routed and the area stabilized. Although this long-term commitment is critical, real stability and security can be ensured only by providing political recognition and practical support to the Kurdish administration governing northeastern Syria.
The United States has been backing the Kurds in Syria but has insisted on keeping the relationship strictly military. Since the first American weapons drop to Kurdish fighters besieged by the Islamic State in the Syrian town of Kobani late in 2014, Washington has focused on defeating the Islamic State and avoided statements or actions that could imply support for Kurdish autonomy or the Kurdish-led federation in Syria.… Seguir leyendo »
More than a year after the so-called Islamic State overran Mosul and threatened Baghdad, the United States still can’t rely on the Iraqi Army to defeat the jihadist forces. If President Obama wants to break the Islamic State in Iraq and give that country a chance to survive, he needs to help organize and equip a true Kurdish army.
Until now, Mr. Obama has refused substantial aid to the Kurds because of the State Department’s “One Iraq” policy. Washington fears that a strong Kurdistan could end up fighting the Iraqi Army for disputed territory or declaring independence, upending United States policy and pitting Turkey against the new state.… Seguir leyendo »
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has forced America to return to the battlefield in Iraq. Earlier this month, President Barack Obama ordered airstrikes against ISIS fighters nearing Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdish region, while insisting that he wouldn’t allow the United States to be “dragged” back into Iraq. If Mr. Obama really wants to ensure no boots on the ground, he will have to rethink America’s policy toward Kurdish nationalism, and recognize the Kurds, and not only Iraqi ones, are his main ally against ISIS.
Mr. Obama, like previous presidents, has divided Kurdish interests by borders and subsumed Kurdish needs to the demands of states in the region.… Seguir leyendo »
The assassination of three Kurdish activists in Paris last week has raised fears that the true target was peace talks between Turkey and the rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or the P.K.K. But the so-called peace process was already in shambles before the killings, which have not been solved.
Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, claims that he wants a deal to end nearly 30 years of war between the state and the P.K.K. rebels. But he has yet to take the decisive action needed for a credible peace process. Until he understands that the Kurdish problem in Turkey is about politics and identity, and not just about getting the guerrillas to withdraw from Turkey and give up their weapons, there will be no hope for peace.… Seguir leyendo »
Turkey's political crisis has taken a turn for the worse. The chief prosecutor, who has accused the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of anti-secular statements and actions, has presented his argument to the Constitutional Court. The court is expected soon to bar Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan from politics and disband his party. The only result this struggle can produce is political instability in an important U.S. ally.
Yet the U.S. government has been curiously quiet about this assault on Turkey's democracy. While it once actively promoted Turkey as a democratic "model" for the Muslim world, U.S. officials now hesitate to publicly condemn this legal farce.… Seguir leyendo »