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Kurds, Dulaim and US Airpower

Published: August 16, 2014, Author: Rÿser Rudolph C.

We are witnessing the breakup of Iraq and the emergence of Kurdistan in northern Iraq (and in Turkey, and Syria) and possibly autonomous Dulaim with their 5 million people in western Iraq’s Anbar province.  The United States and other European capitals as well as Arab states readily see that the Kurdish Peshmerga are (when well armed, given additional training, provided air cover and supplied otherwise) the only force able to take on the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) from the East and North of Iraq as well as inside Syria. It was the Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan (PKK or Kurdistan Workers Party) that stepped in to rescue many of the Yazidii from Sinjar mountains; and this wing of Kurds in Turkey is still on the US and other countries’ “terrorist lists.” That will have to change. The PKK and the regular Kurdish forces are now discussing the formation of a central command.  Turkey doesn’t like the idea (they are now negotiating with the PKK after a long war and 40,00 deaths), but they, like the US and Baghdad government, have to admit the reality: The only serious boots on the ground are Kurdish and very likely Duliam.

Now the Dulaim in western Iraq (Anbar Province) demand a similar deal as Kurdistan. You will remember the Duliam essentially pulled the Americans’ ass out of a deep hole several years ago when their forces agreed to take on the Baathists, other Sunnis and more. Magic man David Patraeus decided in the end it would cost hundreds of millions in US cash and weapons to pay the Duliam to get them to engage. He paid and the Duiam fought successfully. This was the TRUE American Surge.  They are essentially saying the same thing now, only this time they are saying, “we want more autonomy” from Baghdad.

Dulaim fighters and Kurdish fighters well armed, supported with US and French air power, provided money and having their sovereignty recognized will clearly crush the American armed SISL.  Hmmmm shades of Afghanistan, but with a difference.

The irony is that these Fourth World nations have long been pushed to the sidelines in favor of states battling for control of Fourth World territories. US policies as well as those of Europe, Japan, China and even Russia have been staunchly committed to maintaining the creaking state system even as states collapse from corruption, government institutions run by criminal groups and leaders, and their unwillingness to recognize and negotiate acceptable political agreements with Fourth World nations.  The US government and her friends said as much when the US warred in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Mali. There is the further irony that Fourth World nations have long served as the stabilizing element in most of the world’s states when they have been fairly treated and fairly shared political power. The US government along with the UK government pronounced the unified Iraqi government as the “only way to take on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).” What they are essentially admitting as they reaffirm their commitment holding states together even as they fall apart and they send arms to the Kurds and now to the Dulaim…a unified Iraq is not going to happen.

International observers are beginning to recognize that the break-up of Iraq is very likely inevitable either completely or it may be reformed into a very loose confederation. Recognition of Kurdistan and possibly the Dulaim people as distinct sovereigns will be the price for stopping the ISIL juggernaut. Turkey will not like it, but the Iranians, Syrians, Lebanese, Jordanese and Baghdadis will.  They will be joined by a frightened Europe, US and Canada, Australia, New Zealand and others fearing that the ISIL is attracting–and by virtue of their war training–jihadists (some of whom have already returned to their home country) who may set off body-bombs in these countries. The jihad cells appear to be forming in those countries and the political elite is unprepared. They may justify further militarizing local town police departments as a defense against what they believe will be the rising domestic threat of “home town jihadis.”

Meanwhile, it will be the Fourth World nations of Kurdistan and Dulaim who will step forward to protect states from the murderous Islamic State of Iraq and Levant. Now that is irony.

{Update: Corrected Dulaim spelling, and inserted bold emphasis.}

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