BAGHDAD - Kurdish leaders say, "they have only one goal, whether the U.S. likes it or not. We are pushing hard in Kirkuk to hold Kirkuk and keep ISIS out and once that is done, we will move forward with plans for our country [Kurdistan]."
Another source directly advising "once that is done, they will move forward with plans for their country," the report cited an operator with connections to Kurdish leaders as saying.
When the fighting finally stops in Iraq, the nation's Kurdish population ( which has long been in conflict in the Middle Eastern country) intends to carve out their own state, leaders say.
Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic ISIS in Northern Iraq have expressed frustration recently and claimed the US hasn't provided enough support in their fight against ISIS.
Peshmerga forces have successfully regained control of Mosul and are now focusing their efforts on Kirkuk which, some say, is the cultural Kurdish capital of the nation.
The Kurdish forces–the YPG/YPJ in Syria and the Peshmerga in Iraq–have made significant advances in the past months, keeping ISIS from recapturing the Turkish border town of Kobani and even making inroads in Raqqa province, home to the Islamic State’s “capital” city. They have been significantly more successful against the Sunni jihadist group than the official Iraqi army or the vestiges of what was once Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s military.
"Everybody's dream, every single Kurd, wants to have a free independent Kurdistan," Kurdish Intelligence Agency chief Lahur Talabani said. "Of course, we want to be free. It will be difficult, but we would love for it to happen right now."
Masrour Barzani, head of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) intelligence forces and son of KRG President Masoud Barzani, is openly advocating for a Kurdish state. In an interview with Al Monitor, he describes the repeated support of a united Iraq after multiple failures as “insanity” and Iraq itself as “not a feasible project”:
"The policy of this administration has been clear and consistent in support of a unified Iraq," a State Department spokesman said. "A unified Iraq is a stronger Iraq and is important to the stability of the region as well."
Kurdish leaders seem skeptical that a state can both support the Shiite-run government in Baghdad and the Iraqi Kurdish forces, based in Erbil.
How many times have we tried to support a united, strong central government in Baghdad? It didn’t work. Kurdistan is controlled by the Kurds, the Sunni areas are controlled by ISIS and the Shiite areas are controlled by Shiite forces and the Popular Mobilization Units. Prime Minister Haider al- Abadi has been making a big effort to fix things. But the Iraqi government must accept this reality and look for other solutions. We are not pushing for forced separation. We are talking about an amicable divorce.
Barzani notes that the fight against the Islamic State is serving to unite Kurds against a common enemy. Further evidence of that is in reports from Kurdish news outlet Rudaw, which suggests that Iraq’s Kurdish Peshmerga are considering traveling to Rojava–Syrian Kurdistan–and helping the YPG/YPJ eradicate ISIS terrorists from the region. The elder Barzani has promised to lend the region Iraqi troops should it be necessary to keep ISIS from expanding.
Last month, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also expressed its opposition to a Kurdish state - saying it would "never allow" such a move. About 14 million Kurds live in Turkey.
American and Canadian veterans are using social media to gather funds to fly to Kurdistan and join the YPG/YPJ; those already there tell media they are welcomed as heroes.
“I have been shown nothing but love by Kurds everywhere and I am very grateful for the opportunity to help,” says 28-year-old Jordan Matson, a U.S. Army veteran fighting ISIS in Syria.
Jordan Matson, a U.S. Army veteran fighting ISIS in Syria
Relations have long been strained between Arabs and Kurds in the Middle East, and the political climate could get even worse should Kurdish leaders defy its Western allies by pursuing independence.
In Washington, some administration officials believe Kurdish independence would be a destabilizing move in such a geopolitically sensitive region.
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