12.08.2014 – Hemin Salih – BasNews, Erbil – After Islamic State (IS) militants took control of Sinjar, a Yazidi-majority town in Northern Iraq, the Kurdish leadership held a meeting discussing the current situation in the disputed territories.According to sources close to BasNews, which spoke on condition of anonymity,  the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) preferred to engage Iran’s help. In the meeting, Turkey was presented as another option to provide military assistance but Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani identified international support as the best option and approved it. A source present in the meeting revealed that Barzani preferred international support to fight against IS insurgents, but the PUK and other Iraqi parties lobbied for Iran’s support rather than the US because they weren’t sure Washington would agree to support Kurds.

In the meeting, Iran’s support was preferred by PUK and Turkey’s help was also mentioned. However this was dismissed as Turkey was busy with the presidential election. Turkey is still trying to secure the release of 20 Consulate members, taken by IS in Mosul in June. Opposite to what some Iraqi parties thought, on August 7 the US President Barack Obama decided to support Kurds and initiated air strikes in Gwer and Makhmur areas against IS militants. Some political analysts believe that Obama did this in order to correct previous US policies towards the Kurdistan Region.

Meanwhile, one IS leader, Abu Hussein Al-Ansari, during a chat with another IS leader on his Facebook account, showed his regret on changing the course of attack toward the Kurdistan Region. He also stated that he had previously warned IS Caliph Abu Bakir al-Baghdadi about the risk of attacking the Kurdistan Region. Ansari stated that attacking the Kurdistan Region will bring  Erbil and Baghdad closer. This could push France and the US to enter Iraq whilst previously doubtful, ultimately benefiting Shiite people.

Political analysts believe that the current cooperation between Kurds and the US against IS militants has led many other Iraqi parties and officials to seek closer relations to Kurds and President Barzani.

Gorran official Adnan Osman told BasNews, “US airstrikes on IS militants was an important step for Kurds and the long term agenda of the US to fight terrorism.” Osman stated that this relatively rapid support for Kurds was significant as many things have recently happened in the Middle East, without US intervention. He believes this is important for the future of Kurds and Kurdistan Region. “If Iran and Turkey were intervening instead of the US, it wouldn’t have been as influential as many parties might have stood against one of them and have viewed them as occupiers. In contrast, the US is a leading country in the world and has the support of many countries in Europe and  around the world. It was important because US viewd itself as the leader of democracatic development in the world not merely regionally,” said Osman.

Political Analyst Dr. Rebwar Karim spoke to BasNews, “The option of US support was better than Turkey and Iran because there wouldn’t be a consensus, whereas US has large international weight and this is in the interest of the Kurdistan Region.”“The US has a clear strategy in Iraq that doesn’t view its attack on Iraq in 2003 as occupation, rather it provided a safe and secure place for all Iraqis,” said Karim.

“US support for Kurds against IS militants was very important and it will develop a true friendship between both Kurds and US. Also, President Barzani has been very successful in gaining US support when no neighboring countries have gotten such support,” added Karim.Former Kurdish MP and Political Analyst Bakir Hama-Sadiq told BasNews, “Kurdish diplomatic relations with US have been very successful and the US support for Kurds has been all over the world media.” “The US has more interest in Erbil than in Baghdad. Especially having many American oil companies and corporations in the Kurdistan Region. What the US does here in Kurdistan Region is different than what it does in Baghdad because now we see Baghdad is moving toward closer Shiite links with Iran. Kurds expect more from the US,” added Hama-Sadiq.