US Republican Congressman Trent Franks. File photo: AP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – On Monday evening, as people in Kurdistan cast their ballots in their referendum on independence, US Congressman Trent Franks introduced legislation to support Kurdistan’s right of self-determination.
“Last night, I [introduced] legislation to convey Congress’ support for Kurds to determine status as a sovereign country,” he tweeted on Tuesday.
Franks, also Chairman of the Missile Defense Caucus, said in a statement on Monday that now is the time to support Kurdish aspirations for independence.
“While the Obama administration dithered and fought efforts to arm and support the Kurds, the Trump administration has the opportunity to stand with a noble people in their time of need. A free and independent Kurdistan can represent hope for peace in the Middle East,” wrote Franks in a statement released on Monday.
The longtime proponent of the Kurdish people expressed that Baghdad has failed to secure Kurdish rights and effectively protect the Kurdish people from members of ISIS and other violent forces.
“Thank God for the Kurds – they have delivered countless groups and individuals from the hands of ISIS. Without their armed defense of northern territory, and the protection of over 2 million refugees, the medieval horrors of ISIS could have been much more widespread,” Franks added.
The Chairman of the Missile Defense Caucus explained that “during the darkest days of the Iraq War, Kurdistan remained a sanctuary of order in the midst of sectarian chaos.”
He cited the protection of Iraq’s minority groups by Kurdistan, but encouraged them “to support the self-determination of other groups in the region, such as the Christians of the Nineveh Plain, the Yezidis of Shengal, and the Turkmen of Tal-Afar,” adding that Christians in the Nineveh Plains “may soon face a similar decision.”
He encouraged Kurds to lead by example.
“If the Kurds can show through their actions that their key ally is the United States of America, and they are neither an ally with the Islamist Sunni regime in Turkey nor an ally of the Islamist Shia regime in Iran, the United States will always gladly support them.”
People of Kurdistan cast their vote for independence on Monday, September 25. Official results of the vote are expected to be released within 72 hours. President Masoud Barzani claimed victory in the vote during a televised address Tuesday evening.