By Hamma Mirwaisi and Alison Buckley
After US forces invaded Iraq in 2003 the US government helped the Kurdish Barzani and Talabani families to each create 100,000 strong military forces in the Kurdish Autonomous Region of northern Iraq and also aided the Shi'a government of Iraq's formation of a 500,000-strong military force.
The Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani was previously against the US government's polices because the US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger excluded his father from a peace treaty between the Shah of Iran and Saddam Hussein of Iraq.
However, Barzani and Jalal Talabani took advantage of post-invasion US policies in Iraq to create two separate governments for five million Kurds in South Kurdistan (previously Northern Iraq). Assuming dictatorial control, they began depositing billions of dollars of Kurdistan's oil income into overseas bank accounts, leaving the Kurdish people economically deprived and subject to abuses due to a lack of enforcement of the rule of law.
Eventually the two leaders' pleas to the US government to keep its forces in the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG's) territory as protection against Iran, Turkey, Iraq, and Syria fell on deaf ears. The US Obama administration went ahead and withdrew from Iraq without listening to them.
In the face of the rapidly growing threat posed to their governments by the Kurdish people's revolutionary forces under the leadership of Abdullah Ocalan, the Talabani family allied with Iran and the Barzani family befriended the Turkish government. However, both are now working together to stay in power in the KRG area so they can appropriate more of the Kurdish people's oil wealth in their own interests. Supported by Qubad Talabani, the Barzani family recently signed a fifty-year oil agreement with Turkey, which the US criticized and requested the Kurdish government halt.
The Talabani family has been working to ensure Iranian forces protect both families' governments from Turkey and Iraq, while the Barzani family has been working to ensure Turkish forces protect the alliance from Iran and Iraq. Both families have sought their allies' support against the Kurdish people's resistance movement, which has opposed policies typified by KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani's announcement of the sale of Kurdish oil, ostensibly due to cuts by the federal government of Iraq to Kurds' salaries (1).
In spite of mounting tensions between the Islamic Shi'a and the Islamic Sunni in the Middle East, the Obama administration discounts the possibility of war by supplying sophisticated military airplanes to the Iraqi Shi'a government (and indirectly the Iranian government) and the Sunni government of Turkey, but the Kurdish people under the leadership of Abdullah Ocalan are not involved in this battle. Instead, they are building popularly based armies in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria to cleanse Kurdistan of oligarchical, tribally based rule that does not benefit the vast majority of Kurds. Aiming to destroy corruption in Kurdistan and institute true democratic government, these armies are preparing to drive the Persian, Arab, and Turkish military forces out of Kurdistan.
Rather than listening to those whose short-sighted policies only perpetuate the social, educational, medical, cultural, spiritual, and material impoverishment of the Kurdish people and their land, it is in the best interests of the US government and its people to befriend the KCK (Kurdish Group of Communities) under which all the popular revolutionary Kurdish political parties and armies operate from the Kandil Mountains of northern Iraq. In an area crying out for privileges that far more US than Middle Eastern citizens enjoy, such a change in US policy will promote social justice, peace, security, the rule of law, and the equitable distribution of Kurdistan's wealth to its people and the world.