WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – “I think the US should call [Iraqi Prime Minister] Abadi and say that if he moves against the Kurds, we will withdraw our support and that he will lose his position of authority,” Rep. Trent Franks (R, Arizona) told Kurdistan24 on Wednesday following a new ultimatum to the Kurdistan Regional Government issued by Baghdad.
Franks had just spoken at a Capitol Hill press conference, sponsored by Rep. Ron DeSantis (R, Florida), calling on Congress and the administration to support the Kurds.
The State Department does not want to express any criticism of the Abadi government, it seems. On Tuesday, Kurdistan 24 asked the spokesperson for comments on several recent Iraqi actions, including the parliament’s decision to criminalize the display of the Israeli flag and other “Zionist symbols.” Nothing, including that, evoked criticism from the State Department.
When asked about the Department’s unwillingness to criticize Baghdad, Franks replied, “I think it is a very dangerous position to take.”
“The State Department thinks that there are just one of two ways to do this,” he added. “Doing either want Iran wants or putting all their eggs in Mr. Abadi’s basket, and this is not the case.”
“The State Department should make it very clear that the Kurds have shown tremendous courage and that they are still our ally,” Franks continued.
“Moving against them—whoever does it—is going against the interests and will of the United States of America,” he said.
We need to be “extremely clear” that we “continue to be committed to peace in Iraq, but that doesn’t mean we turn our back on the Kurds.”
For Franks, and other speakers at the press conference, Iran is emerging as a very considerable threat as the Islamic State is defeated in the region.
We need to “do everything that we can to align ourselves” with those parties who are against Iran, he told Kurdistan 24.
In the press conference, Franks cited “the pictures of Hezbollah flags on M-1 tanks,” which are readily found on social media, and called for the US “to reassess what is going on in Iraq.”
“Abadi promised that he would not attack the Kurds. He made that promise weeks ago,” Franks said. “For him to break his word before the whole world does not speak well of his leadership.”
Asked by Kurdistan 24 about his view of President Barzani, Franks replied, “Tragically, the only mistake Barzani has really made is, unfortunately, overestimating American commitment to the Kurds, and that’s our fault, not his.”
Editing by Nadia Riva