Ari Khalidi

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - The US would not cease backing Kurds in Syria and Iraq during the forthcoming Trump administration according to the former Assistant Secretary of Defense Mary Beth Long.

"I can’t see the US abandoning the Kurds, I can’t see the US abandoning the Kurds fighting ISIL in Syria and Iraq," said Long referring to the Islamic State (IS) group with an acronym preferred by the Obama administration in an interview published Sunday by the Turkish daily Hurriyet.

“There has been a lot of good evidence that both the Kurds in Iraq and Syria have been some of the most effective fighting forces [against IS],” continued Long when asked if President-elect Donald Trump would continue to support the People's Protection Units (YPG) which Turkey regards a terror group.

“The balance of that, of course, will be Turkish worries over Kurdish independence [in Iraq] and Kurdish violence inside Turkey, to the extent that the Kurds are involved in some plots and other violent activities that we have seen over the last year,” Long elaborated.


The Kurds also represented a buffer in Syria that the US would favor over having a "hostile" Shia proxy state on the Turkish border, added Long who could get a position in the administration of Trump about whom she had a change of heart after her initial denunciation of the President-elect during his campaign.

"I can’t see the US losing the potential buffer that Kurds represent between a possibly hostile Russian-Iranian-Syrian post-conflict entities," explained the former NATO advisor.

She said the Kurdish buffer was also an option for Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to consider, despite his long-held, forceful opposition to a Kurdish autonomy in Syria.

Although the US could treat the Kurds in Iraq and Syria “somewhat differently,” Trump may try to persuade Erdogan that he should look toward the "most distant future" as to what buffer may be needed there.

In Iraq too there was a similar scenario in which the Kurdistan Region could act between an Iranian puppet government in Baghdad and Turkey.

The Kurdistan Region was a reality that deserved US support, Long previously told Kurdistan24.


Editing by Ava Homa

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