The bandwidth at the U.S. State Department appears to be quite narrow. How many international crises can the department handle at a time? If the Department of Defense is prepared to combat two global wars at a time, what is the corresponding capacity of the Department of State to manage the big picture? Those questions are relevant because it appears that both departments, the President and U.S. Congress have taken their eyes off the ball and the entire game, as it were.
One instance of indication is the story today that the Iraqi Kurds have lost control of Mosul Dam in addition to Ain Zalah oil field which are enormous assets. Those losses to ISIS Sunni fighters greatly undermines the Kurdish power. It changes the balance of power in Iraq even more.
At a time when history is witnessing the significance of “ethnic” culture, i.e. ethnic Russians, ethnic Kurds have long had issues in the world. It is because their presence as a unique people in the Middle East in a region called Kurdistan overlaps parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. When the borders were drawn, parts of the ethnic populations spilled beyond the demarcation lines.
Interesting is that Kurds are defined as Iranian people of which there are an estimated 30 million people. They seek autonomy.
According to a report by Luke Harding at the Guardian, the Kurds were buoyed by hope because they remained strong while the central Iraqi government weakened. They had control of oil and water assets. Now, today’s news is that they have lost control of those assets to ISIS.
This story is about the U.S. failing to assist the Kurds to defend their assets and territory against ISIS insurgents. Why did this happen?
The Obama administration and Congress don’t get it, Kurdistan is our ally not our enemy as told by David L. Phillips at CNBC. The Obama administration performs like the amateurs that they are.
“In return for cooperating with the Obama administration, KRG officials insisted on Iraqi Kurdistan's right to self-defense and, as established by Iraq's Federal Court, Iraqi Kurdistan's right to sell oil.
US tightens restrictions for flights over Iraq
However, they were rebuffed. The United States refuses to support Kurdish militia called Peshmerga – "those who stand before death." Peshemerga were outgunned in the weekend battle. Sophisticated weapons provided by the U.S. to Iraq's Armed Forces were seized by the Islamic State, and used against the Kurds.
The Kurds are not looking for a handout. They are prepared to buy weapons in order to defend themselves. Peshmerga are the only force capable of countering and ultimately destroying the Islamic State.
But Instead of helping the peshmerga, the Obama administration is working diplomatic channels to discourage countries from selling weapons to the Kurds. It is also lobbying countries to prevent them from buying oil from Iraqi Kurdistan.
Iraqi Kurdistan opened a pipeline transporting crude to storage facilities in the Turkish port of Ceyhan on May 2. Turkey opened the pipeline over Washington's objection. However, Turkey refuses to buy oil from Iraqi Kurdistan under pressure from Washington.
The Obama administration also intervened with the Moroccan government to block delivery of oil from Iraqi Kurdistan. A tanker recently anchored in international waters off Galveston, Texas. A U.S. district court intervened to block the sale to U.S. refiners. Without a royalty and revenue-sharing deal between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government, which Maliki blocks, Baghdad is threatening to sue anyone who tries to buy oil from Iraqi Kurdistan.
The Islamic State is civilization's enemy. It vows to take over Iraq and Syria, attack Jordan and Israel, slaughtering Shiites, Kurds, and supporters of the West. Iraqi Kurdistan is America's friend, not its foe.”
“Revisiting Kurdistan: 'If there is a success story in Iraq, it's here'
In 2003, before the US invasion of Iraq, Luke Harding found the Kurds full of defiance and hope. Returning 11 years later – with Baghdad's hold on power crumbling – he finds a self-confident region transformed by oil money
The Guardian, Wednesday 16 July 2014 14.08 EDT
The news from Iraq has been grim of late. Sectarian killings, political feuding and the flamboyant rise of Islamist fanaticism. Last month, Isis – the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, one of a series of radical Sunni groups – carried out a stunning military advance. Its fighters captured Mosul, Iraq's second biggest city, and Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's birthplace. They now control most of Sunni Iraq. Their goal is Baghdad and the overthrow of Iraq's Shia-dominated government.
Meanwhile, Isis's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has declared a new Islamic state, spanning Syria and Iraq. He has proclaimed himself caliph. The international community has expressed support for Iraq's beleaguered prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki. Maliki has vowed to crush Isis. But with the army in retreat – many divisions ran away last month – he has taken other measures. They include turning off the electricity to Isis-controlled areas and bombing from the sky. Critics say Maliki's divisive sectarian policies have brought Iraq to disaster.”
“Islamic State grabs Iraqi dam and oilfield in victory over Kurds
BY AHMED RASHEED AND RAHEEM SALMAN
BAGHDAD Sun Aug 3, 2014 11:04pm IST
(Reuters) - Islamic State fighters seized control of Iraq's biggest dam, an oilfield and three more towns on Sunday after inflicting their first major defeat on Kurdish forces since sweeping across much of northern Iraq in June.
Capture of the electricity-generating Mosul Dam, after an offensive of barely 24 hours, could give the Sunni militants the ability to flood major Iraqi cities or withhold water from farms, raising the stakes in their bid to topple Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shi'ite-led government.
"The terrorist gangs of the Islamic State have taken control of Mosul Dam after the withdrawal of Kurdish forces without a fight," said Iraqi state television.
The swift withdrawal of Kurdish "peshmerga" troops was an apparent severe blow to one of the only forces in Iraq that until now had stood firm against the Sunni Islamist fighters who aim to redraw the borders of the Middle East.”