Everything the Obama administration does in the entire Middle East region is first and foremost calculated in the framework of that rapprochement, according to Glavin, author of seven books and winner of numerous literary and journalism awards. Photo courtesy of Terry Galvin
LOS ANGELES, USA – Renowned journalist and author Terry Glavin believes that, under US President Barack Obama, Kurds have been neglected in favor of the religious autocrats ruling Iran.
“For nearly six years now, the Obama administration has been turning its back on the Kurds, owing to Obama's first priority of rapprochement with the Khomeinists in Iran,” said Glavin, referring to the followers of Iran’s late revolutionary patriarch, Ayatollah Khomeini.
Everything the Obama administration does in the entire Middle East region is first and foremost calculated in the framework of that rapprochement, according to Glavin, author of seven books and winner of numerous literary and journalism awards.
The US held back from confronting Syria’s embattled President Bashar al-Assad because “a confrontation with Assad would mean a confrontation with Iran,” he claimed in an interview with Rudaw.
Glavin also doubts that the US really wants to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS) group. He believes that ineffectual US air strikes against ISIS are simply a show, and that the present US government has no real intention of providing robust backing to the Kurds in their war against ISIS.
“The Obama administration intervened in the case of the Yezidi pogrom and the ISIS advance on the Kurdish capital of Erbil last September only because Obama was shamed by world opinion into acting, and the US-led coalition is a very weak effort,” he said.
“After explicitly refusing to assist the Kurds in the defence of Kobani, the US acted with supporting airstrikes only because the Kurdish struggle for Kobani had captured the world's attention,” Glavin added, referring to the Kurdish city in Syria that was liberated by Kurdish forces in January after months of fighting.
He said he found the Kurdish struggle fascinating – wherever it was taking place – in Iran, against ISIS in Iraq and Assad in Syria, against the “police state” in Turkey and the Shiite government in Baghdad.
His travels through Kurdistan, Glavin said, ingrained in him “an enormous respect” for Kurds. He said he was impressed by Kurdish “resilience, determination, generosity, patience and hospitality.”
His most unforgettable moment in Kurdistan, he recalled, was when he crossed the Tigris River from Iraqi Kurdistan to Syrian Kurdistan, or Rojava.
“The Kurds on the little landing craft seemed overjoyed that they were crossing from one semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan to a newly-liberated region of Kurdistan,” he said, referring to the autonomous Kurdistan Region in Iraq.
With the uncertainty surrounding the region and the Kurds, Glavin’s advice for his Kurdish friends is to deal with reality and not sacrifice it for idealism.
“While a Kurdish homeland, a nation-state and trans-border national emancipation would be ideal in the long run, in the near-term it is not what is necessary,” he said.
“In Turkey, the political struggle continues, and it is my fervent hope that the PKK isn't forced back into an active armed-struggle phase. The "democratic decentralization" effort is the far more sensible and imaginative strategy,” he said, as Turkey and the PKK plunged into violence once again, beginning over the weekend.
“In Iran, for the moment, it seems the Kurds are simply going to have to "keep their heads down" and try to build more international alliances and friendships,” according to Glavin.
Glavin, who is praised for his brave criticisms and astute observations, does not shy away from openly disapproving of the the US-Iran nuclear deal signed this month, lifting sanctions against Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
He believes that was appeasing Iran, and advocates a firmer approach.
“The approach I favor, I admit, is informed by priorities well outside the current thinking of Euro-American elites,” he admits. “But I do think a broader and more militant approach to Tehran would be -- if not the ‘best’ way to deal with the Khomeinists, then certainly a better way.”
The piece was originally published in Rudaw