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Statement on the Kurds and Iraq

A member of the Iraqi forces sits on a river bank across from Kurdish peshmerga positions. (Photo: AP)

The Jewish Policy Center views with great alarm the efforts of the Iraqi government and its Iranian-supported militias to take territory from America’s Kurdish allies in the northern part of Iraq. The Kurds have been the most loyal partners of the United States military – eschewing radicalism, preventing an ISIS takeover of Kirkuk, and rescuing thousands of Yazidi civilians from certain death in the mountains of Sinjar. Kurdish forces fought ISIS valiantly when Iraqi regular forces proved unequal to the mission.

The United States has done an excellent job of restoring the ability of the Iraqi army to take the fight to ISIS. However, fighting along with the forces of the Government of Iraq are forces loyal to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Those Iranian-sponsored militias, largely the result of the American withdrawal of fighting forces in 2012, are intent of providing an avenue for the expansion of Iranian influence and military capability through the territory of Iraq, across Syria and through Lebanon.

The Jewish Policy Center urges President Trump to use what influence the United States has with the Government of Baghdad to end the military campaign against the Kurds and enter into political dialogue that offers the only real hope of a peaceful Iraq for the future.