WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – Rep. Trent Franks introduced a resolution Monday evening in the US House of Representatives supporting an independent Kurdish state. Notably, the action followed the successful conclusion of the Kurdistan Independence Referendum.
“The people of the Kurdistan Region have the right to determine their status as a sovereign country,” the bill, House Resolution 534, affirms.
H.R. 534 explains, “The Kurdish people meet the objective requirements for the right of self-determination, which include a common language, religion, ethnic background, cultural heritage, and history.”
The Kurdistan Region “has proven” to be “America’s most effective partner” in fighting the Islamic State (IS), the bill continues.
It also notes the sacrifices of the Peshmerga in the fight against IS: nearly 2,000 dead, 9,000 wounded, and 60 missing.
Moreover, the Kurdistan Region has welcomed nearly two million refugees and internally displaced persons from the wars in Iraq and Syria, the resolution states.
Franks chairs the House International Religious Freedom Caucus. The bill notes the “commendable commitment” of the Kurdistan Region “to religious and ethnic pluralism,” as well as gender equality.
UN General Assembly Resolution 2625 affirms that “the right to self-determination of a people supersedes territorial integrity when a country has violated the ‘economic, social, and cultural development’ of a people, and when that people have a valid territorial claim to the area,” the resolution explains.
It concludes by calling on the US to recognize “the sacrifices, commitment to human rights, and the legal and moral case for self-determination of the residents of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq” and to recognize that they “have the freedom to decide” their future “without outside coercion.”
Franks, a Republican from Arizona, sits on the House Armed Services and Judiciary Committees.
The Congressman is a long-time supporter of the Kurdish people and has previously sought to have the US provide arms directly to the Peshmerga in order to fight IS most effectively.
Earlier on Monday, as people in the Kurdistan Region were still voting, Franks issued a statement in support of the referendum.
“Baghdad has failed to secure Kurdish rights” and “protect the Kurdish people” from IS and other violent forces, the statement affirmed.
Thus, the US “is obligated to support their bid for independence—if it is in our national interest,” which the Congressman clearly believes it is.
In July, Franks spoke with Kurdistan 24 and explained why he backed the Independence Referendum.
“I have supported the Kurds for so long because they have supported the cause of human freedom,” he said.
Religious tolerance is very important for Franks. He praised the “great courage” of the Kurds in “protecting Ezidis and Christians” and called on them to continue to so.
Franks noted that at times during the Obama administration, the Kurds had “stood alone,” but he was hopeful that they would have a closer relationship with the Trump administration.
Editing by G.H. Renaud