ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The US could support the Kurdistan Region if it is serious about countering Iranian influence in the region, a former Pentagon official suggested on Monday.
Writing for Fox News, Michael Makovsky, President, and CEO of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America who previously served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense warned that Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon were “failed” states vulnerable to the influence of Iran.
“The United States needs to recognize Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen for what they are: failed, artificial constructs now dominated by Iran,” Makovsky wrote.
Echoing concerns shared earlier this month by Gen. Michael Hayden, former head of the CIA and NSA (National Security Agency), Makovsky warned that Iran had been taking advantage of the collapse of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria to “consolidate control.”
“Maintaining Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen in their existing forms is unnatural and serves Iran’s interests.”
The former Pentagon official also posited current President Donald Trump’s administration could undertake some policy changes in the Middle East, including supporting the Kurdistan Region over the Iranian-aligned Iraqi government in Baghdad.
“We might cease supplying arms to Iraq and declare our support and strong military aid for an eventual Iraqi Kurdish state,” Makovsky wrote. “We could support a federation for the rest of Iraq.”
He also mentioned Syria could become a more “ethnically coherent loose confederation or separate states,” including the “Kurds in the northeast.”
“The burden is on the United States to adapt its policy to the dissolving of borders and responding to Iran’s aggression.”
Gen. Hayden had a similar view of Iranian influence being unhindered in its effort to spread across the entire region. “I’m not optimistic,” Hayden then said, “because I see the construction of an Iranian land bridge that stretches from Tehran through Iraq through Syria, all the way to Beirut.”
Kurdish officials, including former President Masoud Barzani, repeatedly pressed the US to develop a plan for post-IS political reforms in Iraq and lamented the lack of policy to contain Tehran’s pull on Baghdad which culminated in the Oct. 16 attack and takeover of Kirkuk and other disputed areas by Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militias and Iraqi forces.