Skip to comments.Iraqi Kurdistan leader threatens to intervene in Syria to defend Kurds from al-Qaida fighters
Posted on 08/12/2013 7:58:43 AM PDT by JerseyanExile
The president of Iraqi Kurdistan vowed Saturday to defend the large Kurdish population across the border in neighboring Syria from al-Qaida-linked fighters.
The comments from Massoud Barzani follow weeks of clashes in predominantly Kurdish parts of northeastern Syrian near the Iraqi border between Kurdish militias and Islamic extremist rebel factions that have killed dozens on both sides. The fighting in the oil-rich region has emerged as yet another layer in Syria's increasingly complex and bloody civil war.
In a statement posted on the Kurdistan Regional Government's official website, Barzani called for a delegation to visit Kurdish areas in Syria to verify the reports of fighting. If confirmed, then Iraqi Kurdistan "will make use of all its capabilities to defend the Kurdish women, children and citizens in western Kurdistan," he said.
Barzani offered no other details about how he would protect Syria's Kurds. Iraqi Kurdistan boasts a powerful militia known the peshmerga, which includes experienced and equipped fighters hardened by years of guerrilla warfare.
But Barzani seems unlikely to risk a direct military intervention. Such a move would likely trigger a furious reaction from Iraq's central government as well as neighboring Turkey, which has been wrestling with its own Kurdish insurgency for decades.
Iraqi Kurds control three provinces in the country's north. The largely autonomous region has all the trappings of an independent state, but still heavily relies on Iraq's central government to help meet its budget needs.
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The Kurds, unfortunately for them, are spread across Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. They are an ethnic group, not a religious group, and have various communities that are Sunni, Shia and quite a large number of odd offshoots of Islam. There are even Kurdish Yazidis (devil-worshippers, at least according to their opponents) and Jews!
The Kurds are not always nice guys. They were major participants in the Armenian massacres of WWI and before, and they treat their women about as harshly as anyone in the Middle East. Honor killings, genital mutilation and all that.
Iraq is no longer the country BUSH left. It is now Kurdistan and the Sunni's and Shia fighting over the rest.
Good summary! I read a contemporary account of the massacre of the Armenians.
Bush left Iraq just as screwed up. The only thing holding Iraq together when Bush left office was the presence of our Marines and soldiers. It took the surge to bring some semblence of order to the country. Had we gone in with the numbers Gen Shinseki asked for things may have been different. Bush and Rumsfeld ae just as much to blame for what is happening in Iraq as the current idiot residing in the Whitehouse is.
Par for the course in that part of the world.
Interesting point. However, I am not sure overwhelming numbers would have ultimately meant a United Iraq. But you are correct that the moment we left things went south. The day we left Maliki (Shia) arrested the VP (Sunni) with no US reaction. So is Obama’s policy to have a Pan-Kurdish and Pan Sunni state in what was Iraq and Syria? To be noted that Joe Bidden advocated this position long ago in the Senate (before 2006).
I’m not so sure Iraq in the best of circumstances can be a united country. Too much bad blood between the Sunnis and Shiites with the Kurds stuck in the middle. The Baath regime was only able to hold things together through brutal means.
“If confirmed, then Iraqi Kurdistan “will make use of all its capabilities to defend the Kurdish women, children and citizens in western Kurdistan”
of course the heads of state in Iraq and Turkey won’t like this;
as much as they acknowldge that events in Syria are regionally destabilizing and sending refugees their way, they are not at all unhappy that Kurds in Syria are greatly
affected adversely - the last thing they want is a thriving
Kurdish eco-sphere, on its own, and spanning all the mutual
borders in the region across which Kurds are found