Elite Iraqi military units backed by Iranian militias have routed the Kurds from Kirkuk and its oil-rich surrounding area. Up to now the Kurds have been the key U.S. allies in the fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
The Trump administration refused to intervene on behalf on behalf of the Kurds, declaring neutrality in the dispute between the now strongly Iran-allied Iraqi state and the Kurds.
Congress is not at all happy with the administration’s betrayal, and the anger is bipartisan. Nor is this publication nor former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton. But from the Kurdish standpoint, Congressional support may be coming too little and too late.
“Peshmerga fighters, who fought to drive Islamic State from that territory, described feelings of betrayal after being asked to withdraw,” today’s Wall Street Journal reports (paywall). “Baghdad has said it would only push the Kurds back as far as the positions they held prior to the Islamic State onslaught in 2014, when the Iraqi army’s northern defenses disintegrated. Peshmerga forces filled the vacuum and drove the militants back, expanding the territory under their control as much as 40%.”
If it hadn’t been for the Kurdish defeat of ISIS in northern Iraq after the Iraqi army abandoned its weapons and fled, ISIS would have been able to march on Baghdad and likely seize all of Iraq.
The lead editorial in today’s Journal (paywall) notes that “Defeat for the U.S. allies in northern Iraq is a victory for Iran,” that “Across the length of America’s recent history with Iraq, we have had no more reliable ally than Iraq’s Kurds and their fighting force, the Peshmerga,” and that “if the U.S. allows one of its most visible allies to be defeated in the Middle East, make no mistake: Other allies in the region will notice and start to recalculate their relationship with the Trump Administration.”
The Trump administration betrayal of the Kurds mirrors the ignoble betrayal of the Marsh Shiites and Kurds when they rose up against Saddam Hussein after being urged to do so by the first President Bush at the end of the 1991 Gulf War.
The shame of the latest U.S. abandonment of allies was highlighted further today with news that U.S.-backed Kurdish Peshmerga troops in Syria have taken ISIS’ capital city, Raqqa, one of its last strongholds.
In truth it was the Obama administration that specialized in systematically embracing the nation’s enemies (Iran, Russia, Syria, Cuba), repudiating its allies (Israel, Egypt, Poland, Czechoslovakia, the U.K.), and shackling the U.S. economy with regulations. Iran’s now dominant position in Syria and Iraq would not have been possible were it not for Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, the JCPOA. Up to then, the Iranian economy had been brought to its knees by a U.S.-led boycott. Obama reversed that, providing Iran a billion dollars in U.S. cash and many billions more in investments from other countries. Obama similarly bailed out bankrupt Cuba, making possible Cuba’s continued backing of the socialist dictatorship of Venezuela’s Maduro.
The Trump administration has been reversing many aspects of the Obama legacy.
- Army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl pleaded guilty yesterday to court martial charges brought against him. President Obama lionized the disgraced soldier.
- Obama wasted billions on now-bankrupt green energy boondoggles and thwarted a pipeline that U.S. ally Canada sought. President Trump has just approved the “Alberta Clipper” pipeline from Canada to the U.S.
- To curry favor with Russia, Obama humiliated two Central European allies by removing ABM defenses previously promised, and with Hillary Clinton’s assistance, green-lighted Russian takeover of U.S. uranium supplies. The FBI is now investigating Russian bribery in the latter case.
Predictably, the mainstream media are rushing to defend the Obama legacy. But much of that legacy rests on executive orders, many of dubious constitutionality. This makes them easy prey to President Trump’s own executive orders reversing them.
Media credibility suffered another blow today from Project Veritas.