July 25, 2010

Obama’s administration less supportive of Kurdish rights – By Baqi Barzani

Foreign policies and relations can shift with the rise of new administrations to power.

What composes history and is referred to time and again, is the legacy of each administration.

As regards Iraq, President Gorge W Bush remained behind a legacy that will be extolled for generations to come. No US administration has ever received as much accolade and gratitude among the Kurds and Arabs alike as former US President George W. Bush’s. His unrelenting support for Kurdish rights in Iraq found him a very unrivalled and irreplaceable place in the hearts and minds of myriad Kurds all over the world.

Concisely alluding to just one of the hallmarks of his administration: President Bush devolved power to all Iraqi ethnic and religious groups equally and indoctrinated them the implication of true democracy. He encouraged Iraqis to establish an economic system that uses Iraq's oil resources for the good of all Iraqi people, not a single entity or political party. Steady destruction of terrorists and insurgents networks in Iraq, free and fair elections, drafting of a permanent constitution for Iraqis, overall economic propagation in Iraq, mainly in Kurdistan, and formation of national unity governments are some other milestones that Iraqi citizens permanently remain beholden to him for.

One of the most vocal voices of Kurdish self-rule in the current US administration is Mr. Joe Biden, the vice president. Although, influential figures in both democratic and republican parties constitute members of Kurdish lobby, advocacy groups, sympathizers of Kurdish cause, Obama’s administration seems to have swerved off Democratic Party’s main strategy for Iraq, and turned less supportive of Kurdish territorial, oil and autonomy rights in both in Washington and Bagdad.

After his nomination, President Obama was bequeathed with 2 first former and one recent major drawback in Iraq, which President Bush did not get to accomplish due of his tenure ending. They compromise of:

  • a determination on the status of Kirkuk and other disputed regions,
  • a final agreement on oil revenues between Kurdish Regional Government and central government,
  • Ceasing sovereignty and territorial aggressions by Iraqi neighboring states (Iranian artillery and Turkish hourly aerials bombings).

As of yet, none of these critical issues have been addressed by Obama’s administration. Obama’s strategy is merely centered on pulling US troops out of Iraq, at the earliest feasible, with no interest in the ensuing detrimental impacts and consequences. Ethnic divide and insurgency has already kicked off in Mousel and surrounding province of Nineveh which heralds the beginning of a long bloody war. The significance of afore-cited issues has been underestimated. The Kurds have lost their faith in Obama’s less pro-Kurdish stance.

Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) still remains at loggerhead with Baghdad over such pivotal rights, and if dialogue produces no positive outcome as it turns out to be the case, it will push the Kurds to consider taking unilateral actions.

Most Americans commiserate with the Kurdish national struggle. Most Kurds are grateful to their American friends for their dedications and commitments in Kurdistan. Among some staunch advocates of Kurdish rights in the United States, with whom Kurdish lobby groups should seek to cultivate more bonds, are the constituents of neoconservative party, republicans and leaders of Jewish and Zionist Christian communities.

While endeavoring to influence very US administrations should be the goal of KRG, it does not imply that Kurds should not be seeking patronage from other numerous major European and world powers in mediating issues that are pivotal in shaping their destiny.


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