Kurdistan US supports negotiations on areas liberated from IS

US supports negotiations on areas liberated from IS
Peshmerga soldiers with military vehicles in one of the front lines in southern Kurdistan Region border. (Photo: Reuters)

WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan24) – State Department spokesman John Kirby affirmed on Monday that the US supported discussions between the government of the Kurdistan Region and the Iraqi government over the future of those areas that the Peshmerga and Iraqi Army are now liberating from Islamic State (IS) control.

In response to questions from Kurdistan24, Kirby explained that the US priority was defeating IS, and it did not have a view of the future of those areas independent of Baghdad’s. “Our focus is on supporting the Government of Iraq as [it] continues to prosecute the war against Daesh,” he stated.

However, Kirby also noted that there were ongoing discussions between the Baghdad and Erbil and the talks included the governor of Nineveh Province.

“Even as the fighting continues in Mosul,” Kirby said, “they’re thinking beyond” the current conflict. We think that’s smart, and we support that kind of dialogue.”

John Brennan, head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has suggested that once IS is defeated, Iraq will look rather different than it did before. “There’s been so much bloodletting, so much destruction,” he explained. He raised the possibility that “some type of federal structure” with “autonomous regions” might emerge in Iraq’s north to replace centralized rule from Baghdad.

The view in the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is not different. The head of that agency, Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, earlier suggested that Iraq, as well as Syria, may have been forever riven apart by IS’ brutality and all the bloodshed that has followed. "I'm having a tough time seeing it come back together,” he said.

As IS forces are driven back, local figures are, indeed, emerging in the liberated areas to affirm that they do not want to return to the earlier political system.

Arab tribes living in areas that had been under Baghdad’s control before IS, but which the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) also claimed—i.e. the disputed territories—have recently said that they want now to become part of the Kurdistan Region. To support their demand, they have circulated a petition and collected 100,000 signatures.

The leader of the Tai tribe, Sheikh Saud Muhammed al-Faris, explained, “During the past decades, we have never been in a better situation than what we are now under the protection of Kurds. We do enjoy the respect, safety and equality that they have granted us.”

In newly-liberated Bashiqa, the priest of the Chaldean Mar Gorgis church expressed a similar view, “We would prefer to be part of the Kurdistan Region, because of our proximity to the area.” He added, “For the past 13 years,” we have been under Iraqi authority, but we were neglected. "Nobody from Baghdad came here to say hello, at all.”

Speaking last June at Washington’s Bipartisan Policy Center, Amb. Eric Edelman, former ambassador to Turkey and senior aide to Vice-President Dick Cheney, complained that the Obama administration was failing to plan for the political future in Iraq, as well as Syria. But whatever happened, Edelman suggested, Kurds would play a more prominent role than in the past.

That seems to be pretty much what is occurring—and the US is now acquiescing in these developments.  

 

Editing by Delovan Barwari