As Syrian Kurdish dissident Sherkoh Abbas proclaimed, “The US presence is not just for Israel.”

Every decent person should be outraged.  Recently, US President Donald Trump claimed that Israel is one of the main reasons why the US remains in the Middle East: “Oil is becoming less and less of a reason because we’re producing more oil now than we’ve ever produced.  So you know, all of the sudden it gets to a point where you don’t have to stay there.”  For an American President to make such a statement is very discouraging for the Kurds and other minority groups throughout the wider Muslim world.

As Syrian Kurdish dissident Sherkoh Abbas proclaimed, “The US presence is not just for Israel.  It is an American national security interest to make sure that Iran does not take over the Middle East.  If they do, the prices of oil would skyrocket globally.  Yes, the US gets oil from North America but the prices would still skyrocket if the Middle Eastern supply was damaged or controlled by Iran.”

Abbas added that if the US seeks to weaken Iran’s influence and to put pressure on the Iranian regime by preventing their sale of oil, by walking away from Iraq and Syria, the US would basically be “allowing Iran to breathe and to float and to take advantage of this energy.  Either you are against Iran’s behavior as a rogue nation or not.  If you are against them, then you have to stay there even if it was not for Israel.”

The creation of an independent Kurdistan is critical to the struggle against Iran’s Shia Crescent.   The only effective buffer that stands ready to stop Iran’s expansion in the Middle East is the Kurds.  If America abandons the Kurds once again, it will be a colossal disaster for all of those who care about peace and security in the Middle East.

As Salah Bayaziddi, the US Representative of the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan, proclaimed, “We need US support or else there will be a catastrophe in the region.  The US and world should not abandon the Kurds to the Iranian militias.”  While Bayaziddi acknowledged that the US has taken some steps to help the Kurds, he feels that far more needs to be done: “I do not think it is realistic for the US to leave the Middle East.”

If anything, he believes that increased US engagement with the Middle East has the potential to significantly help Iran’s minorities to achieve regime change, which will bring to an end the daily execution of Kurds and others within the country: “The Iranian people demonstrated a few months ago.  It was a peak moment.  It is not dead.  Daily, people are protesting against the regime.”  He noted that recently, a group of farmers in Isfahan were beaten up because they protested the fact that they did not have enough water to drink.

The US has much to gain by helping the Kurds.  Should the US remain in the Middle East and arm the Kurds in Iran, they would be better equipped to take on one of the most dangerous anti-American regimes in the world, serving as America’s boots on the ground.  As Kurdish dissident Kajal Mohammidi declared, the Kurds in Iran have many grievances against the Iranian regime and very much want change: “The regime treats Kurdistan as a colony for cheap labor and resources, killing innocent young and old men trying to provide for their families working on the border.”

However, if America truly seeks to help minorities in the Muslim world, America’s strategy to confront radical Islam should be global.  Just as Iran presently is making inroads throughout the world, the USA should also reach out to Hindus, Christians, Druze, Yazidis, Kurds and other minorities in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.   According to Bayaziddi, “Minorities in the whole region have been suffering.  They are being denied basic human rights.”

Mendi Safadi, who heads the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights, addressed recently the 5thIsraeli-German Congress in Frankfurt, where he proclaimed: “The Hindus of Bangladesh and the Kurds are in the same situation.   Both of them are attacked by the radical Muslims in their countries.  Recently, the Bangladeshi government arrested 15,000 people only because they are opposed to the regime and most of them are Hindu.”

According to Safadi, there are numerous cases of minorities getting raped and murdered in Bangladesh but the local government doesn’t even arrest anyone: “Moreover, the children of central figures in Bangladesh’s ruling party are involved in terror attacks and the offices of known terror organizations are opening up in the Bangladeshi capital city.”  Safadi implied that many of the countries who host terror groups that threaten Americans also oppress minorities, which should give the US an additional incentive to help minorities in the Muslim world.

Safadi reiterated that the American presence in the Middle East is critical for all of the minorities in the greater Islamic world: “The US needs to be involved in everything related to minorities, who are oppressed by Muslim governments in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.  The US should provide them with protection that will result in severe sanctions against the regimes that oppress them.  Let us try together to save the minorities everywhere in the world.”

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Rachel Avraham is the President of the Dona Gracia Mendes Nasi Center for Human Rights in Middle East (under formation) and is a political analyst at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights, which is run by Mendi Safadi, Israeli Communication Minister Ayoob Kara's former chief of staff. In addition, she is a counter-terror analyst at the Islamic Theology on Counter-Terrorism, a think tank run by British Pakistani dissident Noor Dahri. For over 6 years, she is a Middle East based journalist, covering radical Islam, terrorism, human rights abuses in the Muslim world, minority rights abuses in the Muslim world, women's rights issues in the Muslim world, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Jewish Diaspora, anti-Semitism, international affairs and other issues of importance. Avraham is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media," a ground breaking book that was endorsed by former Israel Consul General Dr. Yitzchak Ben Gad and Israeli Communications Minister Ayoob Kara.