WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan24) - Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ) shared with Kurdistan24 his deeply-felt empathy and regard for the Kurds. Franks explained he would support Kurdish independence “very strongly.” He believes if the Kurds were to establish an independent state, it would “bring more stability to the region.”
Franks added, “I know there are a lot of ancillary questions. I know it wouldn’t be easy. But I think it would be good, not only for the Kurds, but for the people in that region in general. I believe it would be good for the world.”
Franks concluded, “I hope for the greatest success in that regard.”
The 59-year-old representative from Arizona belongs to the conservative wing of the Republican Party. He has served as a Congressman for the past 15 years, and he now sits on the House Armed Services Committee, which plays a significant role in overseeing the US-led fight against the Islamic State (IS.)
Franks has a very strong criticism of Barack Obama’s handling of the IS threat.
When [IS] first entered Iraq, unfortunately, the president of the United States stood by with a golf club in his hand, and let it happen,” Franks said, describing Obama’s initial response to IS’ emergence.
Indeed, in Obama’s first public comments on IS, expressed in a January 2014 interview with The New Yorker, he derided the terrorist organization as “a jayvee [junior varsity] team.” Even after IS captured Mosul in June, Obama continued to discount the threat.
Obama strongly resisted reengagement in Iraq. To do so would be to acknowledge, at least implicitly, that he had made a serious mistake when he withdrew all US forces from the country in 2011.
However, in August 2014, as IS threatened Erbil, the urgency of the situation was made clear to him. Obama was pulled out of a private dinner with his wife at a Washington restaurant and told the US military was very worried that unless US airstrikes against IS began immediately, the entire region could be lost. So Obama reluctantly sent US forces back into Iraq.
In contrast, Franks expressed optimism about Donald Trump’s presidency. “I think the new administration understands that the Peshmerga, the Kurds, were the ones who stood up to ISIS when it wasn’t easy.”
“You have to support your friends who were there when the times were the most difficult.” The Kurds have demonstrated their commitment, Franks explained, and “I encourage this administration to hold them in partnership in this fight against the scourge of [IS] and jihadist terrorism in general.”
Editing by Delovan Barwari
(Rahim Rashidi conducted the interview in Washington DC.)