In 2003, then Vice President Dick Cheney told Meet the Press that “Now, I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.” Despite the ceaseless sniper fire found in West Mosul, the miles of hellish urban combat surrounding Southern Baghdad, and the Iranian backed militias coming from the East – one group met V.P. Cheney’s expectation: The Kurds.
Held in a state of isolated purgatory since allying with the United States during the first Gulf War, the nearly 10 million-strong population of Iraqi Kurdistan greeted American troops with parades and cheers. In fact, most operations done in Northern Iraq are conducted from Erbil, Kurdistan’s capital city.
After the war, when Shiite and Sunni politicians drove Iraq into a sectarian crisis, the Kurds established the safest region in the Country.
Even after the fall of Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, the Kurds would remain stable and able to mount the only defense of cities like Kirkuk or Sinjar. Often and accurately called the most efficient ground forced in the war against ISIS, the Kurdish Regional Government has been responsible for the thwarting of countless murders.
ISIS now is gone from Mosul and much of Western Iraq, but the sectarian strife in the South continues.
Since the outbreak of war, Iran has unleashed bands of Shiite militias to annex Iraqi territory from Sunni Iraqis – regardless of connection to ISIS. With Baghdad planning to connect power grids with Iran within the next few months, is there any surprise Sunni Muslims are finding a home in radical ideology when their government has so clearly abandoned them to a foreign power?
Just this past week, over 90 Iraqis were killed or injured by Sunni jihadists in Southern Iraq. If recent months serve as a predictor for future violence, there will be no shortage of clashes between the two sects in upcoming months and years. No closer to establishing a unified front than in 2005, when the initial Iraqi Constitution was signed, Sunni and Shiite forces have thwarted any promise Iraq once held.
The Iraq War succeeded in liberating those in Iraq who desired liberation, those who fought alongside American forces for that freedom. To oppose Kurdish independence is like opposing a man amputating a gangrened appendage, knowing the spread of profound necrosis is imminent. The perpetual war burning beneath the Kurdish region’s stable border can no longer hold back the long overdue independence of our most loyal allies in the Gulf region.
With Republican such as Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul all claiming to support Kurdish independence during the 2016 presidential campaign, the recent demand from America to suspend the independence referendum ( scheduled for 9/25/2017) had shocked and disgusted Americans on both sides of the aisle. With nearly 100 years of investing time and money to the cause of keeping Iraq together, despite nearly everyone in Iraq’s choice, is 2017 the time the West comes to terms with their failed experiment?