By Sajjad Shaukat
Controversial referendum which was held on September 25, 2017 for an independent Kurdistan, with approximately 93 percent in favour of independence, heightened tensions in Iraq and among its neighbouring countries, including other Islamic countries.
In this regard, on June 7, 2017, Kurdish President Masoud Barzani had held a meeting with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and other parties, where the independence referendum was confirmed to be conducted. Then, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) based in Erbil which is the capital city of Kurdistan Region in Iraq, had decided to conduct a unilateral referendum on independence, including in areas outside of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.
In reaction to the results of referendum, on September 27, 2017, Iraq’s Parliament asked the country’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to deploy troops to the oil-rich city of Kirkuk—one of several areas held by Kurdish troops, but recaptured by Baghdad, and to take control of all other oil fields in the Kurdish region. Iraq’s federal government decided to shut down international flights to and from the region.
Showing, Russian reaction on the referendum, Russia Today (RT) pointed out on September 27, this year, “The Russian Foreign Ministry said after Iraqi Kurds voted for secession…The vote has the potential to further destabilize the already unstable region…The Russian party believes it to be of utmost importance to avoid anything that risk to further complicate and destabilize the Middle East, which is already overloaded by conflict situations…Moscow says it continues to support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq and other Middle East nations…The poll was protested in Baghdad as well as in Turkey and Iran, countries that have significant Kurdish minorities living close to Iraqi Kurdistan. Turkey in particular has waged a decades-long war with guerrilla forces of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which seeks to break away from Ankara…As the vote was underway in Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq and Turkey staged a massive joint military exercise in an apparent demonstration of force to the Kurds.”
Iran and the UN have also spoken out against the poll, saying, “It will only distract from the ongoing fight against Daesh and further destabilize the region.”
As part of the double game, the US Administration led by the President Donald Trump attempted to persuade the KRG to delay the referendum, fearing further friction between Erbil and Baghdad could derail the fight against the Islamic State (Also known Daesh, ISIS, ISIL) and Iraq’s fragile peace.
On September 22, 2017, after a Cabinet meeting chaired by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag have stated, “Turkey calls for referendum to be cancelled…A Kurdish independence referendum is illegitimate and poses a direct threat to Turkey’s national security and Iraq’s territorial integrity and national unity.”
However, Turkey, Syria and Iran who have their own sizable Kurdish minorities, have all strongly condemned the independence referendum.
While, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has voiced his backing for Kurdish independence. Similarly, some Kurdish leaders have balked at overt support from Israel, as they face hostility from Arab, Turkish and Iranian leaders that an independent Kurdish state would be a potential “second Israel that is, an enemy—in their midst.” Nevertheless, some Kurds have flaunted support from and ties with the Jewish state, waving Israeli flags at pro-independence rallies.
In this respect, The Washington Post reported on September 25, 2017, “Blue and white Israeli flags have become a common sight in the Kurdish regional capital, Irbil. Some Kurds fly them on their cars…at massive rallies ahead of referendum on independence…Israel has been a vocal advocate of Kurdish independence in the lead-up to the vote, and in a region where Israeli flags are most often seen being trampled or burned, the images were striking…Israel, though, had expressed wholehearted support-until recently at least. Historically Israel has had cordial ties with the Kurds…its politicians say they feel a natural kinship with the Kurds, seeing similarities in their struggle for a homeland…The Israeli relationship with the Kurds has deep roots. Kurdistan’s Jews trace their heritage to the members of the Israelite tribe of Benjamin, who arrived in the area in the 8th century B.C. Today, there are more than 200,000 Kurdish Jews in Israel. Israel also provided military support to the Kurds, including trainers, antiaircraft weaponry and a military hospital, according to the Mossad intelligence agency’s station chief in Irbil in the 1970s. For Israel, support of Kurdistan is consistent with a long-standing foreign policy strategy. Since the time of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, the country…Isolated in a region…following its independence in 1948, Israel attempted to form alliances with non-Arab and minority populations in the Middle East…While the Arab nation-states are eroding, we must find our allies, our sustainable allies,” said Gideon Saar, a former Israeli interior minister who has urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to do more to lobby for the Kurdish cause in his meetings with President Trump…Israel has also maintained economic ties with Kurdistan, purchasing Kurdish oil despite objections from Iraq’s central government in Baghdad.”
Referring to Israel’s support for independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkish President Erdogan said on September 26, 2017,“Israel should review its support for Iraqi Kurdish independence”, warning the Jewish state’s support for the bid “could negatively affect diplomatic ties between Ankara and Jerusalem.” Erdogan who has threatened military intervention over the vote, also warned the Kurds that Israel’s backing “will not save you.”
Although Jerusalem and Ankara struck a reconciliation deal in August 2016 after years of severed ties following the flotilla incident, Erdogan has continued to publicly chastise Israel in harsh terms over its policies towards the Palestinians and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Top Iranian officials have also claimed that the Kurdish independence referendum is part of an Israeli scheme, with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s chief of staff saying on September 26, this year that the vote was a “Zionist plot” meant to fuel violence in the Middle East, following the battlefield defeats in Iraq and Syria suffered by the Islamic State terror group.”
On September 22, 2017, in the New York Times, David M. Halbfinger also pointed out about Israeli-Mossad connections with Kurds and wrote, “Mr. Netanyahu, who endorsed not only the referendum, but also the establishment of a Kurdistan state, had ample strategic reason: A breakaway Kurdistan could prove valuable to Israel against Iran…Over the years, Israeli doctors set up a field hospital for the Kurds, its soldiers trained the pesh merga fighters and the Mossad helped arm them…The Kurds have long patterned their lobbying efforts in Washington on those of Israel’s supporters…But Mr. Netanyahu had little to lose from his endorsement of the referendum, experts say…Israel is desperate for friends in the region, the Kurds generally want to be friends, and they don’t care about Palestine,” said Kenneth M. Pollack, a former C.I.A. analyst and National Security Council official who visits Kurdistan frequently. Moreover, Israel stands to gain a potentially valuable ally in its struggle with Iran, he said….Iraqi and Iranian Kurds have deep ties…And to create trouble for Iran, one way is to encourage independence for Iranian Kurds…and that an independent Kurdistan will be a base for Israeli operations against Iran, via Iran’s Kurdish population.”
Notably, on February 10, 2016, President Erdogan had lashed out at the US over its support for Syria’s main Kurdish group, saying, “The failure to recognize the Democratic Union Party (PYD) as a terrorist group is creating a “sea of blood”. He explained, “The PYD, on which the US relies to battle so-called Islamic State in Syria, is an offshoot of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party.”
After the failed rebellion-attempt of July 15, 2016, Turkey’s president Erdogan and high officials of his government had held the US and CIA for the failed coup to topple his regime by backing and replacing Erdogan with the CIA’s “designated figurehead”, cleric Fethullah Gülen, currently living in Pennsylvania in the US.
By neglecting American pressure, President Erdogan who has taken steps to improve relations with Russia to strengthen its hand in fighting against militants and joined Russian coalition against ISIS, had stated that the terror attack at the Istanbul airport should serve as a turning point in the global battle against terrorism. The close ally of NATO, Turkey also decided to make a military agreement with Moscow. In July 2017, Ankara agreed to pay $2.5 billion to acquire Russia’s most advanced missile defense system.
In fact, after the defeat of the CIA-Israeli-led rebel groups, Al-Qaeda’s Al-Nusra Front and ISIS militants by the Russian-led coalition of Iran, Iraq, the Syrian army-the National Defence Forces (NDF) and Lebanon-based Hezbollah in Syria and Iraq—killing of the commanders of these terrorist outfits who are on flee—and after failure of the CIA-prepared plan-B regarding the partition of Syria, both the US and Israel have decided to implement the scheme of an independent state of Kurdistan. The Kurdish people who number roughly 30 million across several countries were left stateless when the Ottoman Empire collapsed a century ago.
Nevertheless, the US-Israeli support to the independence of Kurdistan is part of the ‘divide and rule policy’ against the Islamic countries.
Like the United States, Ottoman Empire of Turkey was a large multi-ethnic state. European powers, especially the Great Britain played a key role in disintegration of the Ottoman Empire. In order to maintain their control, one of the British strategies was divide and rule which was being practiced through various tactics such as arrangement of rebellions, manipulation of ethnic and sectarian differences and so on. The Britain provided soldiers, weapons and money to the Arab subjects against that Empire. According to the Sykes-Picot Agreement, the British and French agreed to divide the Arab world between themselves. The Britain took control of what are now Iraq, Kuwait, and Jordan. The French were given modern Syria, Lebanon and southern Turkey. Thus, they brought about the end of the Ottomans and the rise of the new states like Jordon, Sudan, Syria, Kuwait etc. with borders running across the Middle East, dividing Muslims from each other.
The British Mandate of Palestine was given by the League of Nations to the United Kingdom to administer the territory. During the World War I, the Zionists pressurized the British government to settle them in Palestine after the war. Within the British government, there were many who were sympathetic to this political movement. As regards the Balfour Declaration, it was a letter dated November 2, 1917 from British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Lord Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community for onward transmission to the Zionist Federation—the leader of Zionism in the United States during that period, Louis Brandeis who was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1916 by Woodrow Wilson, was a man with deep conspiratorial connections.
On 14th May 1948, the UNO implemented the 1947 UN Partition Plan and established the state of Israel. With backing of the US and West, Israel continued usurping the Palestinian land.
It is notable that despite Pakistan’s membership of the US sponsored military alliances SEATO and CENTO including Pak-US bilateral military agreement, America did not come to help Pakistan against India which separated the East Pakistan in 1971.
Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters. (R) who served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, within the US Defence Department, with numerous essays on strategy for military journals is the architect of infamous 2006—New Middle East map and is an advocator for the disintegration of Muslim states on sectarian and religious lines. His map shows a number of Islamic countries including Pakistan as truncated. While writing in the June 2006 issue of The Armed Forces Journal of the US, he had suggested Washington about the creation of a “Greater Balochistan” which would integrate the Baloch areas of Pakistan with those of Iran—and the Frontier Province (Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa) should be incorporated into Afghanistan—fragmentation of Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
While, Pakistan’s Armed Forces have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the military operations Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad which have also been extended to other parts of the country, including Balochistan province and Karachi. Army and country’s primary intelligence agency ISI have broken the network of these terrorist groups by capturing several militants, while thwarting a number of terror attempts. These operations are obtaining their objectives effectively and rapidly. Peace has been restored in various regions of Pakistan, including Karachi and Balochistan. But, recent blasts in Balochistan and other regions of the country show that the US-led India, Afghanistan and Israel have again started acts of sabotage to destabilize Pakistan and to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Besides terrorism-related assaults in the US and Europe, Muslim countries are special target of the ISIS and its linked militant groups. In the recent past, new wave of terrorism in Pakistan, killed several innocent people, while various terrorist outfits, particularly the ISIL and the affiliated faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur-Ahrar (TTP-JA also known as JuA) claimed responsibility for these brutal acts. TTP based in Afghanistan has its connections with ISIL and other terrorist organizations and affiliated terror groups, including Baloch separatist elements, and all these outfits are promoting the anti-Pakistan agenda of the foreign entities against Pakistan. As part of the double game, CIA, RAW, Mossad and Afghan intelligence agency, National Directorate of Security (NDS) which are in collaboration, are using these terror outfits in weakening Pakistan and especially Balochistan in order to fulfill the covert strategic aims of the US-led India and Israel against Pakistan, China, Russia and Iran.
These external secret agencies are especially supporting the TTP which is hiding in Nuristan and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan. Reportedly, Mullah Fazlullah led TTP is behind several terror activities inside Pakistan, as the latter has also become center of the Great Game due to the ideal location of Balochistan. Besides, Washington, New Delhi and Tel Aviv have been weakening Pakistan, because it is the only nuclear country in the Islamic world. They want to shift Afghan war to Pakistan.
Nonetheless, the term New Middle East which was first coined by the then US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in June 2006 in Tel Aviv coincided with the inauguration of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Oil Terminal in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Israeli ex-Prime Minister Olmert favored the New Middle East project in wake of the Anglo-American backed Israeli siege of Lebanon.
Orchestrated drama of the 9/11 and fake global war on terror, planned by the Zionists, Israeli lobbies and the neoconservatives—occupation of Afghanistan by the US-led NATO, Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, like the creation of Al-Qaeda by the CIA, ISIS as part of the anti-Muslim campaign, US President Barrack Obama’s silence over the supply (Smuggling) of oil by ISIS and Iraqi Kurds to the European countries, toppling the elected government in Egypt, creation of more collapsed states such as Libya, Syria, Yemen etc., CIA support to the rebels, mercenaries and ISIS terrorists to topple the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and other related-developments are part of further balkanization of the Middle East in accordance with the ‘divide and rule policy’ to promote the interests of the Zionists and for a greater Israel.
Henry Kissinger who was staunch supporter of the US invasion of Iraq, had suggested the split of Iraq into three independent regions, ruled by Kurds, Shias and Sunnis. In this regard, the Asia Times Online reported in 2005, “The plan of balkanizing Iraq into several smaller states is an exact replica of an extreme right-wing Israeli plan…an essential part of the balkanization of the whole Middle East. Curiously, Henry Kissinger was selling the same idea even before the 2003 invasion of Iraq…this is classic divide and rule: the objective is the perpetuation of Arab disunity.”
It is of particular attention that the US had planned to spark a civil war between the Sunnis and Shias. For the purpose, a study of Rand Corporation, titled ‘US Strategy in the Muslim World After 9/11’ was conducted on behalf of the then US Deputy Chief of Staff for Air Force. Its report which was released on December 27, 2004 advocated that Sunni-Shia sectarian division should be exploited to promote the US objectives in the Muslim World. The report was first implemented in Iraq. CIA also got the services of Mossad to fuel sectarian violence in Iraq. In 2004, major terror-attacks were carried out against the Shias. Afterwards, a chain of Shia-Sunni clashes started between Iraqi Shias and Sunnis, targeting each other’s mosques, religious leaders through bomb blasts, suicide attacks etc. After Iraq’s experiment, more deadly pattern of sectarian strife and clashes have been conducted in Pakistan. However, pursing the agenda of his predecessors, George W. Bush and Barrack Obama in its worst form, American President Trump is manipulating sectarian differences between Saudi Arabia and Iran—also noted in case of Syria and Yemen.
It is mentionable that the pro-American rulers of Arab countries, including some other Islamic countries are trying to protect their kingdoms, Sheikhdoms and governments by giving priorities to the Israeli global dominance at the cost of their own peoples. In the aftermath of the false flag terror attacks in Europe, which were, in fact, arranged by Mossad in connivance with some CIA operatives and ISIS terrorists in wake of the present anti-Muslim phenomena in the West, more resentment is found against the US-led West, and even the moderate Muslims are likely to join the militants. This could result into revolts against these Muslim rulers or civil wars—another danger of the ‘divide and rule policy’.
If the agenda of an independent Kurdistan is completed, it will create chaos in the Middle East, enveloping the entire world. ‘Divide and rule policy’ will culminate into “Clash of Civilizations,” as predicated by Huntington. Any major war or such a clash will take the US and Europe to the era—from 1511 to 1648 when Europe witnessed a prolonged arena of barbarism, religious bigotry and intolerance, resulting into beastly violence, and the Treaty of Westphalia was concluded in 1648 in order to maintain the nation-state system whose basic purpose was to honor the dignity of human beings.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations