Support of Kurds could make a difference in Middle East

Imagine if there was a nation in the Muslim Middle East that was democratic, tolerant and truly pro-American. While many Muslim nations in that area may be temporarily our ally, they are cynically using us for their short term goals. In other words, they do not share our values, and are using us for their own ends.

This is not a diatribe against Muslims, which some might welcome and others just as automatically reject. Islam is not necessarily a faith that supports honor killing, defenestration and torture. Today most Muslim countries in the Middle East oppress women, exterminate homosexuals, and often celebrate the murder of innocents of other faiths. The Kurds are spectacularly different. They are an ancient Muslim people that demonstrate tolerance, love freedom and adore the United States.

The Kurds were promised their independence after the World War I. Instead, they have been subsumed by neighboring dictatorships that have persecuted them unmercifully. As a people that knows firsthand what it means to be oppressed, and have sheltered fleeing Christians and Yazidis; two peoples who have been subject to genocide while the rest of the world once more looks the other way.

The Iraqis under Saddam gassed and massacred them, the Turks outlawed their language and (never bothered by the obvious contradiction) denied that they even exist. Why would they not want independence? Further, as a determined enemy of Islamic extremism, and as believer in sanctuary for oppressed peoples, the Kurds deserve their own country.

Lastly, but certainly not least, they are a true and stalwart ally of America. When Iraqi troops fled without firing a shot from ISIS, the Kurds stopped those murderous Jihadis in their tracks. When Shia militias threatened American troops and the national government in Baghdad equivocated, the Kurds automatically supported the United States.

An opportunity to really change the Middle East will be lost if we do nothing. Expect a wall to wall coalition of Shia and Sunni, Arabs- Turks and Iranians, Syria, Iraq, Iranians and ISIS to fall on our allies — the freedom loving Kurds. The Arabs, Turks and Iranians know that the ideal of democracy is contagious, and they don’t want it in their neighborhood.

And no, this intervention will not take American troops. A strong statement of support would go a long way. It has for Israel, which also never requested the American Army- and would demonstrate our commitment to our founding principles.

Incredibly, Donald J. Trump has inexplicitly declared we will be neutral between our true allies/ friends and our phony friends/true enemies!

I once met some citizens of the former Soviet Union, who were thrilled when Ronald Reagan declared their oppressive government an “evil empire.” Our verbal support meant something, and when the communist empire fell, they voiced their appreciation loud and clear — we were triumphed as a force for right and freedom. We were recognized as not just a global player, but a force for good.

The Kurds are ferocious fighters, and they at least deserve our verbal support. It can be a powerful weapon, inspiring their cause and giving them a fighting chance. Once more America would be seen as a moral leader, and our enemies, who are capable of inhuman brutality, will be more restrained. History is unpredictable — this will not guarantee a Kurdish win this time, but it might be the result. If that happens a better Mid-East is possible, and our present and future friends will know that we are capable of gratitude.

The Trump Administration lurches between meaningful accomplishments we can be proud of, and irresponsible and stupid behavior that is embarrassing. G-d willing, he will chose correctly this time.

Larry Koch

Magnolia

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