John Bolton Believes Establishing an Independent Kurdistan is in the United States Interest
Former United States national security adviser John Bolton believes that the establishment of an independent Iraqi Kurdistan is in the US’s interest.
These sentiments were expressed in an interview with Kurdish media outlet Rudawa on March 25, 2023.
“I think an independent Kurdistan is in the interest of the United States. It’s hard to define exactly what its boundaries would be. But I think the state of Iraq has failed. I think certainly Kurdish territories in Iraq could be the basis of a new independent country.”
Bolton has been one of the most prominent foreign policy hawks in DC. He was a strong advocate for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. His support for an independent Kurdistan is one foreign policy goals of the neocon cabal, who wants to undermine countries such as Iraq, Iran, and Syria — countries who all have substantial Kurdish populations.
The Cradle reported that after invading Iraq and later occupying the country, the regime of former President George W. Bush backed three political parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) led by Masoud Barzani, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) led by Jalal Talabani, and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) led by Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim.
All of these parties were all in favor of a federal system that would weaken the Iraqi central government and set up three autonomous regions in Iraq organized around ethnicity. Namely, a Kurdish state located in the northern part of the country, a Shia state in Baghdad and the south, and a Sunni state in the West.
With support from the Bush regime, the Kurdish parties and SCIRI tacked on Article 140 into the new Iraqi constitution of 2005, which laid the groundwork for the potential Kurdish annexation of Kirkuk, a city that has massive oil reserves. Other “disputed territories” such as Sinjar, were set to be annexed after a referendum slated for 2007.
This campaign failed in 2007, but the Kurdish political leadership had another opportunity to annex Kirkuk and move towards establishing an independent state in 2014 when ISIS invaded Mosul. When the Iraqi army was overwhelmed and withdrew from the city, Kurdish Peshmerga forces swept in to take Kirkuk. In doing so, the Kurds increased the total number of oil reserves under their control from 4 billion to 13 billion barrels and obtained the necessary infrastructure base to form the independent state of Kurdistan.
Per French academic and Iraq expert Pierre-Jean Luizard, the Kurdish attempt to annex Kirkuk was no coincidence. Apparently, Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani forged an agreement with ISIS to split up the territory in northern Iraq.
Two months later, Peshmerga forces subsequently withdrew from both Sinjar and the Nineveh Plain, which allowed ISIS to seize these regions, despite their public promises to protect these areas. The Peshmerga’s sudden withdrawal allowed ISIS to easily massacre thousands of Yazidi men in Sinjar and turn thousands of women and girls as sex slaves, while Christians escaped their traditional homelands in Nineveh.
Masoud Barzani subsequently declared that “Article 140 has been applied. The borders are drawn with blood!”
Thanks to increased Kurdish territorial and oil revenue gains since 2014, Masoud Barzani announced an independence referendum in Kurdistan in 2017. That year, John Bolton manifested strong support for the Kurdish independence referendum, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Israel’s support for the creation of a an independent Kurdish state.
Ultimately, the campaign to establish an independent state in northern Iraq ended in failure, as Iranian-backed units of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), or Hashd al-Shaabi, mobilized to reassert control of Kirkuk as a response to the referendum.
The establishment of Kurdistan is ultimately a ploy to poke Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey in the eye. While the Kurds should do everything possible to establish some degree of autonomy, this is a process that should not involve the US.
Instead, the Kurds should try to plow forward and find a way to set up an arrangement with the relevant Middle Eastern powers. Getting the US — a known chaos agent — involved in this process is just asking for trouble.