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Kurdistan

Congressman denounces US ‘betrayal’ of Kurds at London meeting

By Yerevan Saeed 29/1/2015
Ministers and government officials attend last week’s international meeting on defeating ISIS in London. AP photo.
Ministers and government officials attend last week’s international meeting on defeating ISIS in London. AP photo.

BOSTON, United States – Excluding the Kurdistan Region from last week’s ant-ISIS meeting of 21 states in London was among America’s “most dismaying blunders,” a US Congressman said in strongly-worded criticism of the Obama administration.

Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher stressed in a statement criticizing the White House and European Union that “Kurdish sovereignty” was the Kurds’ best protection.

"The exclusion last week of Kurdistan from multinational talks in London to address the rising threat of the Islamic State has to be one of the most dismaying blunders in recent US diplomatic history," said Rohrabacher, who represents California in the US Congress.

Rohrabacher, the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, has been a long-time friend of the Kurds and has made several trips to the Kurdistan Region over the past years.

After his latest trip to Kurdistan in December, he called for recognizing Kurdistan as an independent state.

“It is long since past time that we recognize the Kurdish people as an independent nation and not a subjugated province of Iraq,” he said.

“This is no thanks to Baghdad, which is worried that Kurdish battlefield successes could reignite sentiment for Kurdistan’s self-determination and even independence,” he said.

Referring to the London meeting, he said: “The diplomats gave the back of their hand to these brave people. Supposedly the meeting was devoted to developing a strategy to stop the radical Islamic onslaught, but it undermined efforts by the Kurds that are working. It succeeded in reinforcing arguments for Kurdish sovereignty, which is the surest route to the Kurds’ security.”

The congressman added that the US State Department could have convinced coalition partners to allow Kurdish representatives to attend.

"The region of Iraq known as Kurdistan has for too long been slighted by Baghdad, and it is an abysmal commentary on the Obama administration’s leadership that it has allowed the Iraqi government’s arrogant mistreatment of the Kurdish people,” Rohrabacher said.

“Clearly, the State Department could have used its influence with the meeting’s European hosts to assure the Kurds played their rightful role in bringing peace to their chaotic neighborhood,” he added.

Last week, leaders of 21 coalition states gathered in London to stress their commitment against ISIS. Kurds, who have proven to be the most reliable coalition partner in the battle against ISIS, were excluded from the conference.

Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani denounced the coalition countries for not appreciating the Kurdish sacrifice by saying: "It is unfortunate that the people of Kurdistan make the sacrifice and the credit goes to others.”

In his statement, Rohrabacher shared the Kurdish president’s sentiment: "I share Kurdish President Barzani’s deep disappointment with the diplomatic dunces who kept him away from their deliberations.”

Secretary Kerry needs to provide answers for the State Department’s part in this diplomatic debacle," he said.

In another part of the statement Rohrabacher said that Washington should directly supply military assistance to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), bypassing Baghdad, which continues to hinder the timely delivery of military and humanitarian assistance for the Kurds.

“At the very least, American support and supplies should flow directly to them, not restricted by a requirement that our assistance first go through Baghdad,” he explained.

"The Kurds’ glaring absence from the invitation list is yet another betrayal of America’s friends, an outrage that only complicates the world’s efforts to fight Islamic terrorism," he added.

Rohrabacher expressed his appreciation for Kurdistan and its leadership in opening their borders to more than one million refugees, regardless of religion, sect or ethnicity.  

“As I saw personally just a few weeks ago, the Kurds, despite the odds arrayed against them and at a cost they can ill-afford, are providing refuge to hundreds of thousands of Christians displaced by the Islamic terrorists from their ancient homeland,“ he said.

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Remo K
Remo K | 29/1/2015
Hearing such good friends of Kurdistan speaking out against an arrogant State Department eases the pain.
mr craig | 29/1/2015
kurdistan is the only ray of sunshine and goodnes in the entire middeleast
Botani | 29/1/2015
Well if past experience tough anything it would be to never trust anyone at any time and be left alone at any moment Of time we are very well prepared this time around ,therefore we as kurds world wide never been more united then ever before
Paul | 29/1/2015
Well, the Obama administration doesn't want to deal with anything militarily in the last years of his administration, much less deal with a serious security threat that would force him to change his benign policy in the mideast, much less change his policies in Iraq to acknowledge a new and important player. Aw shucks... he was just hoping he could spend most of his last years in office playing golf and not having to think very hard. Guess he figured after Bin Laden was dead and the US had pulled out of Iraq the work was all done. Now ISIL comes along and he is asked what is his game plan... and he doesn't have one. It wasn't supposed to go down like this, he thinks. It makes his head hurt to think about it. He then has to admit to the press and the American public he doesn't have any action in mind... yet. And it is obvious he doesn't care. He really doesn't care. He is mostly upset about how his image has suffered. He doesn't act unless finally has to, sending air support along with the strong reminder that there will be no US "boots on the ground" and he is supportive of Iraq. And when those Kurds stand up to do what he never expected them to do... well, we see the results. Obama is not ready to deal with an upstart faction on a level of international diplomacy, much less deal with a new independent nation that would complicate matters in an area he is trying to ignore. It makes his head hurt to think about it. He needs to play some golf.
Muraz Adzhoev | 29/1/2015
There are extremely important and significant political, social, legal, security, economic, cultural, humanitarian and historical reasons evidently justifying the urgent need to realize the inalienable right of the people of Southern Kurdistan to self-determination in order to survive, become free and develop by all means of its own sovereign, secular and democratic statehood. Declaration of independence is to be the first official sovereign step towards the international recognition of Southern Kurdistan and the most serious contribution into global and regional peace, security and stability.
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