Clarion: How Trump Failing Iraq’s Kurds Is His Biggest Strategic Blunder

Iraqi Kurds fly Kurdish flags as they urge people to vote in a September 25 independence referendum in Arbil, capital of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq

The U.S. is still poking the eyes of the Kurds in Iraq for their referendum on independence, with the State Department declaring that the Kurds’ vote is “illegitimate” and that America opposes an independent state for the Kurds.

“The vote and the results lack legitimacy and we continue to support a united, federal, democratic and prosperous Iraq,” said U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders defended the Trump Administration’s position using the absurd defense that a unified Iraq can “push back on Iran.”

Question: How has that worked since out since 2003?

The U.S. already took a position closer to that of Iran, Turkey, Qatar and various Islamists by expressing its staunch opposition to the Kurdish referendum, which was merely an expression of the desire for independence and not even a formal declaration of statehood.

Then, as the pro-American Kurds celebrated in the streets and enjoyed casting ballots in a region where many cannot, the U.S. State Department rubbed salt in the wound by expressing its “great disappointment” when it could have said nothing or moved on. Iran’s propaganda outlets were happy to broadcast the U.S.’ comments.

And now—even after the referendum has already happened with 93% of Iraqi Kurds voting in favor of independence—we’re telling three million Kurds who cast ballots that their emotional and historical actions are “illegitimate.”

This doesn’t make any sense. In fact, it’s stupid.

Read the full story at the Clarion Project.

Ryan Mauro is’s Shillman Fellow and national security analyst and an adjunct professor of counter-terrorism. He is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio.


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