A significant shift in power has occurred in the Mid-East region, with Shiite forces expanding into the oil-rich territory of Kirkuk, Iraq. With weapons supplied by America to combat ISIS, the Iraqi government and Iranian-backed paramilitary units have turned the weapons around on their once allies and compatriots.
In addition to taking Kirkuk, the Shiite forces have gained control over Diyala and Ninevah. According to Rudaw, the Iranian-backed militias have committed various crimes against civilian Kurds since their military aggression in Kirkuk, with reports of sexual assault on women, said a Kurdish official.
“In Kirkuk, the Hashd al-Shaabi militias have not only killed civilians but also disrespected their bodies and insulted the national symbols of the people of Kurdistan, all of which were document and forwarded to the United Nations,” Dindar Zebari, head of KRG’s Committee for Monitoring and Responding to International Reports, said at a press conference on Monday.
The destruction of America’s most loyal ally in Iraq has become a cause for celebration throughout the Shiite world. A senior member of Lebanon’s Hezbollah has hailed Iraqi and Iranian-backed forces taking Kirkuk as a victory over Israel and the United States.
“Our victory in Kirkuk is a victory over the US and Israel and an answer to Trump’s threats to Iran,” said Sheikh Nabil Qaouk, deputy head of Hezbollah’s executive council, speaking during a religious ceremony in Lebanon. He said the region had entered a new phase at the expense of Saudi, American, and Israeli interests.
While President Trump has been surprisingly quiet regarding this topic, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has counseled Iran to end their Iranian assisted conquering of Northern Iraq. Speaking after a meeting on Sunday with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Tillerson said it was time for the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation forces and their Iranian advisers to “go home.”
However Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi showed an unwillingness to meet Tillerson’s demand.
“No party has the right to interfere in Iraqi matters,” a statement from the P.M’s office read.
With Iraq all but absorbed by the hostile Iran, America has lost one of its critical relationships in the region. According to Brookings, America was given prior notice of the offensive. If Iranian backed troops using American tanks and weaponry against American allies doesn’t make you think we need to reconsider our foreign policy, it’s entirely possible nothing ever will.
At a time when every hiccup is picked apart by the 24/7 news cycle, the most surprising aspect regarding this crisis is the deafening silence from all parties. While presidents come and go, unclear, conflicting, sociopathic foreign policies seem to be one tradition on which both sides of the aisle can agree. And as the old Deep Blue Something song goes, “Well, that’s the one thing we’ve got”