November 13, 2013

EVERYONE BUT THE ARAB SUNNI:

 The Case for Kurdistan (Ali Ezzatyar, November 12, 2013, National Interest)

There is a rare historic opportunity now to for America to be ahead of the curve on a major regional event involving an important ally: Kurdish independence.

Reliable friends are hard to find, and in the Middle East, they are also hard to buy. A decade after the second Gulf war, the Iraqi leadership is closer to the Mullahs in Iran than they are to Uncle Sam, despite considerable American expense and effort there. In Syria as well, Iran was the invisible hand that brought Assad back from the brink of disaster, all the while lobbying Russia to maintain its support for the regime and bringing about the diplomatic coup that was Obama's about-face on Syrian intervention. The Egyptian army, one of the largest single recipients of US aid for the last three decades, has repeatedly flouted United States pressure since Mubarak's ouster for its own short term interests. In a region full of resource rich autocracies, there is no shortage of players who will outspend and out-influence America when their existence, and not just their interests, are at stake. The Saudis will make it rain petrodollars all day, and America simply cannot compete with notions of prestige and threat of force.

History shows that allies with shared values, but also shared rivalries, are the safest of bets for the West in the Middle East. Israel is the clearest example; modern Turkey, relative to its Arab neighbors, has also made an ideal patron for the United States due not only to its secular tradition, but also due to its own lack of natural allies in the region. This is also why Iran, and not Saudi Arabia, was the more important country in America's "twin pillar" policy of the 1970s.

Posted by at November 13, 2013 1:36 PM
  

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