WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – “I am strongly supportive of a free and independent Kurdistan,” Sen. Ted Cruz told Kurdistan 24.
“The Kurds have been our friends,” the Texas Republican explained. They “have stood by America in times of need. They’ve stood by American at real cost, at real sacrifice.”
Cruz, himself, has long been a friend to the Kurds in the US Congress.
“I have attempted in my entire tenure in the Senate to speak out loudly for the Kurds,” he said. “And, I will continue speaking out.”
Indeed, just three days after the Oct. 16 attack on Kirkuk by Iraq and Iranian-backed Shia militias in a military operation engineered by Qassim Soleimani, head of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Cruz issued a statement calling on Baghdad to “halt all efforts that contribute to a regional escalation against the Kurdish people.”
“Such hostile actions pose a grave threat to the safety of our allies and the stability of the counter-[Islamic State (IS)] mission at large,” Cruz’ statement read.
“We must not permit our support or our military equipment to be used by Iranian-backed militias toward a new, ill-conceived operation that is counter to US interests,” it continued.
At the time, the Trump administration seemed confused and uncertain about Tehran’s role in the attack. Administration spokespersons repeatedly denied any knowledge, claiming they had no such information—although telling pictures circulated widely on social media.
Those images included a photo of Soleimani himself, in Kirkuk, conferring with the leaders of the Shia militias, as well as US tanks, flying their banners.
Whereas the Trump administration opposed the Kurdistan independence referendum and even blamed it—rather than Baghdad’s ambitions, or Tehran’s—for the attack, Cruz hailed the referendum as democracy in action.
“The Iraqi Kurds, who have been instrumental in deterring [IS], have expressed their clear desire for independence,” his statement read.
“Democracies across the globe should recognize the efforts made by the Kurdistan Regional Government to achieve self-determination, in the face of regional actors threatening their very livelihood.”
Some two weeks ago, at a Republican Party fundraiser in Dallas, Texas, a small group of Kurdish Americans had the opportunity to speak with the Senator.
They were extremely satisfied, when he told them, “There should be an independent Kurdistan in the Middle East,” as Bakhtiar Dargali, one of the eight Kurdish-Americans who spoke with Cruz, related to Kurdistan 24.
“The Kurds have been a great ally. We should help them more to establish a state,” the Texas Senator added.
“Masoud Barzani still speaks for Kurds and represents their aspirations,” Dargali said to Cruz, who replied that he had met the former Kurdish president, “and I like him.”
Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council Masrour Barzani is in Washington, and Cruz was among three members of the Senate Armed Services Committee who met with him on Tuesday.
“I believe one day, and, perhaps, sooner than many people think,” the Senator said, as he concluded his interview with Kurdistan 24 later that day, “we will see a free and independent Kurdistan.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany