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Op-Ed: In the belly of the beast

Kurdish legal consultant, writer and journalist Chiman Salih explains why the Kurds are concerned about what will happen in Iraq after ISIS is expelled from the country. Salih expresses hope that a Donald Trump presidency will finally grant the Kurds in Iraq what they have been desiring most: a country for themselves.
Kurdish forces in Iraq Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

Many are confused about what the US foreign policy is going to like to be during Donald Trump’s presidency. The Kurds appear to be the most concerned, wondering what is going to happen after ISIS is expelled from Iraq.

Indeed, even some American senior-level diplomats and experts have said that they cannot accurately predict neither the next events in Iraq nor the Trump administration’s positions regarding Iraq. As for the Kurds, the situation is much more concerning and complicated because some have speculated that more conflicts will be surfacing after ISIS is defeated in Mosul.

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The Kurds are unsure whether they will receive back what they’ve sacrificed during war. They believe that Trump, as a Republican president, will be tougher on his enemies and closer with his friends, hoping that they will finally be rewarded for being a long-standing friend of America.

Recently, Iraqi Kurdistan Prime Minister Nechervan Barzani spoke during the annual forum of MERI (the Middle East Research Institute) in Erbil. He commented on the issue of international support for Kurdistan during this tough time. He wasn't satisfied and said: “Still, we have only received. The international community is only saying thank you.”

Barzani, further elaborating on situation, said: “I can describe the aid as they are providing us breakfast and yet saying that we should decide for lunch.” Barzani emphasized that the Kurdistan Region and the Peshmerga forces deserve more than that, citing that the Peshmerga forces are the main actors fighting the murderous terrorist organization on behalf of the world.

It’s worth mentioning that “thank you” is very boring phrase. It hasn't provided anything concrete yet in the history to the Kurds even though they have been told the phrase many times.

The international support for most of the Kurds’ revolutions and movements was given in order to benefit from their leading force as fighters on the frontlines and did not end in supporting their right of self-determination. Being encompassed by many enemies made them frustrated in the end of the wars and historical watersheds. Also, because the Kurdish movements were always aimed at securing the rights for every human being regardless of race, they never resorted to violence or anti-civilians acts, unlike what others have done.

During the 2016 race to the White House, the Republican Party agenda was revealed by House Speaker Paul Ryan. One of the items on this agenda was arming the Peshmerga and President-elect Donald Trump emphasized this on a number of occasions. The people in Kurdistan are very worried about what’s going to be next after ISIS is expelled. They are asking themselves, will history repeats itself? After so many decades and centuries, they are still in a belly of the beast.


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