After Turkey complained about the U.S. decision to arm the SDF, a primarily Kurdish rebel group in Syria, in the fight against ISIS, disturbing reports emerged that the United States planned to disarm the rebels after defeating ISIS. At the same time, Washington responded to news of an independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan by reaffirming its support for Iraq’s territorial integrity. The United States has also provided arms to Iraqi Kurds fighting against ISIS.
As ISIS increasingly loses control of Raqqa and Mosul, we have given our loyal allies great cause for concern. Will the United States bow to the wishes of Assad, Turkey, and Iraq? Will we stand instead with our key allies who share our values?
Syrian Democratic Forces
The Syrian Democratic Forces have the most to lose from disarmament and withdraw of American military support. Syrian dictator, Bashar Assad, intends to reunify Syria and poses a major threat to the Syrian Democratic Forces’ gains, lives, and the civilians they protect. The Assad Regime not only opposes their independence, but angrily dismissed a Russian proposal for increased Kurdish autonomy.
-Mention Turkey’s opposition
-Current situation with Raqqa
-Why the SDF is a good ally
The government of Iraqi Kurdistan has so far avoided any repercussions for pursuing a referendum. The Iraqi Government has condemned many Kurdish decisions, but has been powerless so far. This is likely to change when ISIS is defeated if the United States does not back Iraqi Kurdistan.
-Why the Iraqi Kurds are a good ally
Despite the fierce opposition of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria, Trump’s willingness to push back against Russia and Assad should encourage the Kurds. The Kurds have demonstrated that they can build a relatively stable and tolerant society in the midst of chaos. They have resisted and driven back ISIS, while their own government retreated in shame to Baghdad. President Trump has many reasons to offer them his support. Yet this decision would still require sacrifices which realists at the State Department would never encourage. The president must believe that these sacrifices are justified by the emergence of a loyal ally in an unpredictable region,and more importantly, that the American People will back this decision.