What the US and Israel clearly had in mind was a new strategic base of operations in the Middle East. Both developed close military and political relations with the Kurdish governorate, which under the new constitutional arrangement was able to develop a large ‘security force,’ effectively an army. Encouraged by their outside sponsors, selling oil independently, over the objections of the central government, the Kurds brought relations with Baghdad to breaking point.
The attack on Syria in 2011 opened up new options centering on the Kurds. The US used the ‘threat’ from the Islamic State as the pretext to send troops into Syria and establish a range of military bases.