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Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D., F.A.C.P.

Medical Oncology/Hematology Telephone: (215) 333-4900

Facsimile: (215) 333-2023

Smylie Times Building - Suite #500-C


8001 Roosevelt Boulevard rsklaroff@gmail.com
Philadelphia, PA 19152
October 20, 2017

Kurdistan Update

Prospects for a high-profile D.C.-meeting promoting unambiguous and aggressive


American support for an independent Kurdistan have considerably brightened,
inasmuch as two responders [a congressman's foreign-policy advisor and a national
media figure] to yesterdays APB have been given candid, detailed elaborative-info,
including key-contact data; thus, in conjunction with event-planning, its goals must be
articulated ASAP, lest it become another easily-forgotten amalgamation of talking-heads.

The prior memo detailed five principles that should be promulgated thereat:

First, America must endorse creation of an independent Kurdistan.

Second, America must recognize it would be in Americas interest.

Third, America must educate both the world and its citizenry that Kurds arguably
are the largest ethnic group lacking a homeland.

Fourth, America must help Kurds establish safe-zones.

Fifth, America must help educate the world that Turkey/Iran falsely claim that Kurds
aspire to establish revolutionary entities in these two countries.

Before analyzing the plan, it is desirable to recall a few key databases: the first two, we
wrote; the second two, encompasses multiple articles published during the past few days,
and the third probing whether MAGA entails promoting a muscular foreign-policy.

https://www.jewishpolicycenter.org/2014/02/28/kurdistan-us-recognition/
http://www.newenglishreview.org/blog_direct_link.cfm?blog_id=66533
https://www.scribd.com/document/361996803/Kurdistan-Update-10-17-17
https://www.scribd.com/document/361993503/Kurdistan-Update-10-18-17
https://www.scribd.com/document/362082654/Gorka

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In yesterdays Blast e-mail, an interview Sebastian Lukcs Gorka, Ph.D. was parsed,
inasmuch as it seems he was rationalizing pursuit of a neoisolationist foreign policy; here,
having quickly pivoted away from his Christian-oriented claim and from the posture that
the Kurds arent the only players donning white-hat, he had lamely blamed holdovers
from BHO for providing a basis for errorswithout detailing what he would recommend.

Indeed, professing to be anti-Iran is lame if unaccompanied by robust support for Kurds,


as they battle Iranians [with Iraqi masks] that include Americans [for whatever reason].
The Donald cannot justify, under these circumstances, adopting a neutral posture that
is based upon an (unspecified) misunderstanding; the pivotal-point is that support for
Kurds wouldnt entail nation-buildingand the failure of aiding them has been manifest.

Ultimately, by advocating procrastination when events move quickly in this volatile area,
he is setting-up an environment in which genocide can transpire; this cannot be allowed
by an America that arguably sat on its thumbs while Hitler was pursuing a final-solution.
The USA mustnt abdicate the duty to validate its morality globally by supporting an ally.

The following is available on-line @ https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x65btor @ 25:00.

Sherkoh Abbas President of Kurdish National Assembly of Syria


(KURDNAS) and Jerry Gordon a Senior Editor of The New English Review
(NER) will team up on i24News Crossroads this evening.

The segment will focus on what options Kurds have following the forced
withdrawal from Kirkuk by Iranian - backed Iraqi Shia al Shaabi Popular
Mobilization Units and Iraqi National Army armored units. They used US
equipment in the ejection of Kurdish Peshmerga forces originally supplied
to fight the Islamic State.

The confrontation that occurred on Monday October 16th was triggered by


the Baghdad government of Premier Haidar al-Abadi objection to the
Kurdistan Independence Referendum on September 25th.

Kurds feel outraged by the betrayal of certain members of the Talabani


family and the neutral position taken by the Trump Administration.

Those actions contributed to the loss of vital oil resources and fully 40
percent of territory gained by the Kurdish Regional Government in defense
of a 600-mile-long front in Iraq created in the rout of the Iraqi National Army
in 2014 that fled the advancing Islamic State blitzkrieg.

Kurdish Peshmerga suffered 2,000 killed and 10,000 wounded engaged in


defeating the Islamic State in Iraq.

2
Overnight, the following articles emerged [from across the political spectrum, again]:
Statement on the Kurds and Iraq
https://www.jewishpolicycenter.org/2017/10/20/statement-kurds-iraq/

The Jewish Policy Center views with great alarm the efforts of the Iraqi
government and its Iranian-supported militias to take territory from
Americas Kurdish allies in the northern part of Iraq. The Kurds have been
the most loyal partners of the United States military eschewing radicalism,
preventing an ISIS takeover of Kirkuk, and rescuing thousands of Yazidi
civilians from certain death in the mountains of Sinjar. Kurdish forces fought
ISIS valiantly when Iraqi regular forces proved unequal to the mission.

The United States has done an excellent job of restoring the ability of the
Iraqi army to take the fight to ISIS. However, fighting along with the forces
of the Government of Iraq are forces loyal to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Those Iranian-sponsored militias, largely the result of the American
withdrawal of fighting forces in 2012, are intent of providing an avenue for
the expansion of Iranian influence and military capability through the
territory of Iraq, across Syria and through Lebanon.

The Jewish Policy Center urges President Trump to use what influence the
United States has with the Government of Baghdad to end the military
campaign against the Kurds and enter into political dialogue that offers the
only real hope of a peaceful Iraq for the future.

Lest we forget the underlying forces-at-play


NIKKI HALEY: EVERY THREAT TO PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST TIED TO IRAN
http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/10/19/nikki-haley-every-
threat-peace-middle-east-iran/

GERMAN SECURITY OFFICIALS SAY IRAN STILL PURSUING NUCLEAR MISSILES DESPITE DEAL
http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/10/19/german-security-
officials-say-iran-still-pursuing-nuclear-missiles-despite-nuke-deal/

Europes Iranian Moment of Truth


Its a mistake to hold trans-Atlantic ties hostage to a flawed deal.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/europes-iranian-moment-of-truth-
1508369218?mod=djemMER

3
Iraqi forces complete takeover of Kirkuk | Friday, October 20th, 2017
https://www.i24news.tv/en/tv/replay/news/x65g477

The Fall of Kirkuk: Made in Iran

by Jonathan Spyer
[October 18, 2017]
The American Interest
https://www.the-american-interest.com/2017/10/18/fall-kirkuk-made-
iran/?utm_source=Middle+East+Forum&utm_campaign=4ae76e661a-
spyer_jonathan_2017_10_20&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_086cfd4
23c-4ae76e661a-33993493&goal=0_086cfd423c-4ae76e661a-33993493

http://www.meforum.org/6971/the-fall-of-kirkuk-made-in-iran

Tehrans strategizing pays off again, as several of its clients strike a deal
that undermines Kurdish hopes of independence.

Iraqi forces took Kirkuk city from the Kurds this week with hardly a shot fired.
Twenty-two Kurdish fighters were killed in the sporadic and disorganized
resistance, while seven Iraqi soldiers also lost their lives. It is a remarkable
setback for the Kurds, who just a few weeks ago held an independence
referendum. The loss of Kirkuk especially, given the citys vast oil resources,
lessens the likelihood that an independent state will emerge from the
Kurdish Regional Government area in northern Iraq.

Now the Iraqi forces are rolling into other areas conquered by the Kurdish
Regional Government in the course of the war against ISIS, including Sinjar
city, close to the border with Syria. Meanwhile, an exodus of Kurdish
civilians is streaming in the direction of Erbil and Suleymaniya cities.
Kurdish forces are withdrawing from the areas of Makhmur and Khanaqin
as well. Yezidi civilians, who bore the brunt of the ISIS assault in the
summer of 2014, are again uncertain of their fates as they wait for the arrival
of Iraqi forces.

The capture of Kirkuk recalls other swift and decisive assertions of control
that the Middle East has witnessed in recent years. Perhaps the closest
parallel might be the Hezbollah takeover of west Beirut in May-June 2008.
Then, too, a pro-Western element (the March 14 movement) sought to
assert its sovereignty and independent decision-making capabilities. It had
many friends in the West who overestimated its strength and capacity to
resist pressure. And in the Lebanese case as well, a sudden, forceful move
by an Iranian client swiftly (and, it seems, permanently) reset the balance
of power, demonstrating to the pro-Western element that it was subordinate
and that further resistance would be fruitless.

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There is, of course, a further reason to note the similarity between Kirkuk in
October 2017 and Beirut in 2008. Namely that in both cases, the faction that
drove its point home through the judicious use of political maneuvering and
the sudden application of force was a client of Irans Islamic Revolutionary
Guards Corps. In Lebanon, the client was Hezbollah, the prototype of the
IRGC-sponsored political-military organizations that Iran is now using to
exert its influence across a huge swathe of the Middle East. In Iraq, the
equivalent force is the PMU (Popular Mobilization Units) or Hashd al-
Shaabi. These fighters spearheaded the entry into Kirkuk, working in close
coordination with the Iraqi armys 9th Armored Division, the Emergency
Response Unit of the Federal Police, and the U.S.-trained counterterrorism
service.

The Shia militias of the PMU were raised in June 2014, following a fatwa
from renowned Iraqi Shia cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. At that time, ISIS
was heading for Baghdad, hence the need for the rapid mobilization of
auxiliary fighters. The PMUs forces now consist of about120,000 fighters in
total. And while dozens of militias are associated with it, a handful of larger
formations form its central pillars. The three most important groups are all
pro-Iranian and directly connected to the Revolutionary Guards. These are
Ktaeb Hizballah, headed by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis; Asaib Ahl al-Haq,
headed by Qais al-Khazali; and the Badr Organization, commanded by Hadi
al-Ameri. All three of these leaders are closely linked to Qods Force
Commander General Qassem Suleimani. They are, as one region-based
diplomat put it, Irans proconsuls in Iraq.

Al-Ameri, al-Muhandis, and Suleimani himself were all present in Kirkuk on


October 15 and16, laying the groundwork for the takeover of the city. Badr
and Ahl al-Haq fighters also played a prominent role in the incursion into the
city. However, they were not the only Iran-linked element in Kirkuk. The
Kurdish retreat appears to have been the product of a deal between the
Iraqi central government and the Kurdish party that dominates in Kirkuk, the
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. According to eyewitness reports, the PUKs
peshmerga forces abandoned their positions, rendering a coherent defense
of the city impossible.

The PUK-Iran relationship dates back 25 years, to the days when both were
engaged against the Saddam Hussein regime in Baghdad. Due to this
alliance, the PUK only reluctantly supported the Kurdish independence
referendum of September 25. Indeed, the fractured nature of Kurdish
politics, the absence of a single, united military force, and the differing
international alliances and orientations of the two main parties in the KRG
namely the Kurdish Democratic Party of President Masoud Barzani and the
PUKhave long constituted a central vulnerability of the Kurdish system in
northern Iraq.

5
We appear to have witnessed a masterful exploitation of this vulnerability,
a sudden and decisive turning of the screw.

Details have emerged in the Kurdish media of a supposed agreement


reached between Bafel Talabani, eldest son of former PUK leader and Iraqi
President Jalal Talabani, and Hadi al-Ameri of the PMU. (Some sources
claim that it was al-Muhandis, not al-Ameri, who represented the PMU.) The
deal would establish a new authority in the Halabja-Sulaymaniyah-Kirkuk
area, to be jointly administered by the Iraqi government and the Kurds (or
rather, the PUK) for an undefined period. The federal government would
manage the oil wells of Kirkuk and other strategic locations in the city, while
also overseeing the public-sector payroll.

The establishment of such a client or puppet authority would put paid to any
hopes for Kurdish self-determination in the near future. The deal was
intended to split Iraqi Kurdish politics in two, and make impossible any
further moves toward secession. The latter cause is vehemently opposed
by Iran, which wants to control Iraq from Baghdad and maintain its
unfettered access to the Levant and the Mediterranean Sea.

This deal was only feasible because of smart investments that Iran made in
the politics of both Iraqi Shia Arabs and Iraqi Kurds during previous
decades, plus the judicious mixing of political and military force, an art in
which the Iranians excel. Indeed, Irans influence in Iraq, both political and
military, goes beyond the PMU and the PUK. The Federal Police, another
of the forces involved in the march on Kirkuk, is controlled by the Interior
Ministry. The Interior Minister, meanwhile, is one Qasim al-Arajia
representative of the Badr Organization, Hadi-Al Ameris group, which sits
in the government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. And of course, Abadis
own party, Dawa, is a Shia Islamist outfit with strong ties to Iran.

So the long-developed, mostly unseen influence that Iran exerts on both


Iraqi and Kurdish political and military life is powerful indeed. All we are
seeing this week is its abrupt activation.

As Andrew Bernard noted in a TAI article earlier this week, President


Trumps response on the clashes was to assert that the United States was
not taking sides, but we dont like the fact that theyre clashing. This is in
effect to accede to the Iranian ascendancy in Iran, given the discrepancy in
power between the sides and the deep Iranian and IRGC involvement with
Baghdad. Such a stance does not, to put it mildly, tally with the Presidents
condemnation in his speech this past week of Irans continuing aggression
in the Middle East. It remains to be seen if anything of real consequence in
policy terms will emerge from the Presidents stated views. For the moment,
at least, the gap between word and deed seems glaring.

6
Meanwhile, the advance of the Shia militias and their Iraqi allies is
continuing. The demoralized KRG has abandoned positions further west. In
Sinjar, Khanaqin, Makhmur, Gwer and other sites on the Ninawah Plain, the
Iraqis are pushing forward. The intention appears to be to take back the
entirety of the Plain, where the peshmerga of the ruling KDP, not the PUK,
were dominant. Yet they too have so far retreated without resistance. It is
not clear at present how far the PMU and the Iraqis intend to go, or at what
point the peshmerga will make a stand.

It is a black day for the Kurds, from every point of view. The fall of Kirkuk
confirms the extent to which Iraq today is an Iranian-controlled satrapy. And
it vividly demonstrates the currently unrivaled efficacy of the Iranian
methods of revolutionary and political warfare, as practiced by IRGC
throughout the Arab world.