Oct. 25, 2017
- Pro-Government Iraqi Militias Continue Offensive Against Kurds
Iraqi pro-government paramilitaries launched an offensive against Kurdish troops on Tuesday in Rabi’a, 40 km. south of the Fish-Khabur area near the Turkish border. The area is strategically vital because oil from both Kurdish and government-held parts of northern Iraq cross at a pipeline there into Turkey, the main route for international export. Baghdad says the oil export pipeline hub must come under its control, but Fish-Khabur is located within the Kurdish autonomous region and has been under Kurdish control since 1991. (Reuters-CNBC)
- Netanyahu: World Should Take Care of Kurds’ Future
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said Israel had “great sympathy” for Kurdish aspirations and that the world should concern itself with their wellbeing. Speaking at a memorial ceremony for Israeli tourism minister Maj.-Gen. Rehavam Zeevi, assassinated by Palestinians in Jerusalem in 2001, he said Zeevi went on a secret mission to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region in the 1960s and supervised setting up an Israeli army field hospital there.
“The visit made a deep impression on him. He came face to face with warm expressions of support for Israel which continue to this day. The Kurds demonstrate national maturity and international maturity. We have very great sympathy for their desires and the world needs to concern itself with their safety and with their future.” (AFP-Daily Mail-UK)
- Iranian Official Claims: “Iran Spoiled a Plot to Create Second Israel in Iraq”
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Quds commander Qassem Soleimani have spoiled an American-Israeli plot to create a second Israel in the Kurdistan region, Mohamadi Gulpaigani, the chief of staff of Iran’s Supreme Leader, said on Tuesday. Kurdish officials have repeatedly said that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards played a key role in the week-long military incursion into Kurdish-controlled territories in Kirkuk. Kurdish officials say about 600 civilians were killed during the Iraqi advances, while the peshmerga reported losing 30 soldiers in Kirkuk and Pirde.
Kurdistan does not have direct diplomatic relations with Israel, but the two enjoy relations that go back decades. Israel was the only country that publicly supported the Kurdish independence referendum. (Rudaw-Kurdistan)
- I Choose the Kurds – Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
The United States offered arms and training to the government of Iraq to fight the Islamic State and secure Iraq from external threats – not to attack Iraqi Kurds, who are some of America’s most trusted and capable partners in the region. For decades, the United States’ alliance with the Kurds has protected them from attacks, both from within and outside Iraq, while furthering American national security interests. In the past few years, the Kurds have become even closer allies, fighting alongside the United States against the Islamic State.
If Baghdad cannot guarantee the Kurdish people in Iraq the security, freedom and opportunities they desire, and if the United States is forced to choose between Iranian-backed militias and our longstanding Kurdish partners, I choose the Kurds. (New York Times)