Guests at the Hudson Institute Panel included Colonel Richard Welch (R), a retired Special Forces (Green Beret) officer, and Dr. Denise Natali, a Distinguished Research Fellow at the National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS), Washington DC, United States.
WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan24) – At a recent panel organized by the Hudson Institute, several US officials discussed the Kurdish referendum, a post-Islamic State (IS) Iraq, and the continued role of the US in the country.
The panel, titled “ISIS in Iraq: The Dangers of an Unfocused Baghdad and a Disinterested White House,” included discussions about the need for current political reforms in the country to defeat IS. Panelists included Colonel Richard Welch, a retired Special Forces (Green Beret) officer, and Dr. Denise Natali, a Distinguished Research Fellow at the National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS).
Natali addressed the issue of a post-IS Iraq and also touched upon the Kurds’ desire for independence. – “I actually look at the after-[IS] scenario as difficult or as threatening as the current situation [because] you don’t know how long coalition and international support will be there to assist the Kurds…hold and secure these areas,” she explained.
“Now, there’s been a discussion…‘should we declare independence?’ [Kurds should be] more strategic, think about are all the processes in place that can let you stand strong,” the INSS member stated. Ambassador Feisel al-Istrabadi, the founding director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East at Indiana University Bloomington, spoke to Kurdistan24 about the Kurdish desire for independence in relation to Iraq. “The question is, what is the strategic vision of the Kurdish leadership with respect to the Iraqi state?” Istrabadi asked. “The solution is to unite ourselves, to stand against common enemies, and then to make compromises among and between ourselves that allow us to go forward in peace, harmony, and with economic development,” he added.
Col. Welch addressed the US’ role in Iraq and, specifically, the policy towards directly arming the Kurds.
“If [the US arms the Kurds] directly, it could undermine the existing Prime Minister who is sort of in a weak position now,” he stated. “We can work with the Peshmerga forces…we should do more to help those folks who are actually in the fight win the fight,” Welch concluded. http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/feature/7c4bae6e-5253-4553-9bb0-105482b88817/VIDEO–%E2%80%98Is-the-Kurdistan-Region-prepared-for-independence?%E2%80%99