(TFC) – Iraqi forces have attacked Kurdish-held positions in the province of Kirkuk. This was the predicted first strike by the government in Bagdad. The intention is to quell the independence movement. US-supplied tanks, vehicles, and arms paved the way during the invasion.
The province sits just outside the traditionally-held Kurdish areas. When the Iraqi government failed to defend the region against ISIS, the Kurds moved in to liberate the area. It has controlled the area since 2014. The residents participated in the recent referendum on Kurdish independence. The result of the referendum showed more than 90% in support of breaking away from Bagdad’s rule.
The United States has actively opposed Kurdish independence every step of the way, even though the Kurds protected US troops during the war. The oil fields in the region are too important to those backing politicians to allow lofty ideas like freedom, self-determination, and democracy stand in the way.
The fighting in Kirkuk is likely just a prelude to a larger war if the Iraqi military tries to bring the Kurds back under Bagdad’s thumb.
Berhem, a Peshmerga fighter, told The Fifth Column:
“This is our chance at a freedom of our own and a country of our own. We have fought everyone else’s wars for so long, we won’t do it anymore. We’ll fight. For years if we have to. We won’t give up to Bagdad what we bought with our blood. This is our home. It is our country. If that means we fight, we will fight. It breaks my heart to see the weapons of Americans turned against us as we simply fight for our homes. We attacked nobody. Now we stare at tanks we protected just a few years ago.”
The sentiment is shared by many Kurds. If the United States does not reel in Bagdad, it’s likely to make an enemy out of the Kurdish people who may then ally with Russia. The loss of the Kurds as an ally might be the most devastating blow to US power in the region in decades.