The Trump administration is determining whether to designate Iran’s elite arms unit, the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), as a foreign terrorist organization. Officials from both the US State and Defense departments had warned the President to hold off on the order. The State and Defense departments’ hesitation is largely due to the fear of losing Iraq, as Baghdad heavily relies on both the IRGC and the US for military aid. The fact remains that Iraq has already been lost to Shia dominance since former Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has favored his own majority, rather than serving beyond ethnic and sectarian lines. …
In a region where stability is rarely seen, the two non-Arab inhabitants of the Middle East – the Jews and the Kurds – need each other more than ever. Israel and Kurdistan share a deep history dominated by comradeship. Kurds must openly embrace their Jewish allies, and Israelis must publically call for a Kurdish state. Israel is a miniscule state that requires more friends than enemies if they wish to succeed.
Many international bodies including the United Nations, the European Union, and the Arab League continue to push for a Palestinian state, while ignoring calls for a Kurdish one. For far too long, the Arab, Turkish and Iranian peoples and leaderships have used the Israeli-Palestinian issue as justification for their own problems. …
“If we can be successful against Daesh and liberate our soil, we can go into Syria if our brothers there need help against Daesh”, said former prime minister of Iraq, Nouri Al Maliki, in Tehran at the beginning on the month.
Iraq failed under Maliki, depriving the Sunni population while gambling against the Kurds in the North. The former PM gave full control of Baghdad to Tehran’s Ayatollah. Today, Iran controls not only Baghdad, but Damascus as well. The expansion of the Shia crescent into Syria leaves the United States without any real leverage. The next US administration must consider realistic alternatives; this translates into recognition of Kurdish autonomy in northern Syria. …
Founder & President of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET)
Senator Mark Kirk
Recipient of the Winston Churchill Award for Moral Integrity
Representative Eliot Engel
D – NY
Recipient of the Winston Churchill Award for Moral Integrity
Geostrategic Analysis of the Middle East: Panel Discussion Speakers:
Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, U.S. Army (ret.) & Chairman of Stand Up America
Dr. Daniel Pipes, President of the Middle East Forum
Eitan Arusy, Intelligence Specialist & CEO of Global Impact Services LLC
Frank Gaffney, Founder & President of the Center for Security Policy
Q&A Session for Geostrategic Analysis of the Middle East Panel
The Security Threat from Iran & Hezbollah
Congressman Jeff Duncan, Chairman of Foreign Affairs’ Western Hemisphere Subcommittee
Dr. Harold Rhode, Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute
Joseph Humire, Executive Director at the Center for a Secure Free Society
Q & A Session for Security Threat from Iran & Hezbollah Panel
It is no secret that Kurds have been working towards self-rule for decades now. Iraqi Kurds gained autonomy in 1992 after the U.S. implemented a no-fly zone during the first Gulf War. Syrian Kurds are also carving out their historical territories in northern Syria since the start of the civil war in 2011. Sykes-Picot is slowly but surely fading; world powers U.S. and Russia are scrambling to maintain influence. While the international community is occupied with Kurdish referendum calls, in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Rojava gaining broader support in Syria, Erdogan has quietly upped his aggression towards the Kurds in Turkey. …
On October 17, the Iraqi government officially declared its plans to liberate Mosul from the Islamic State, more than two years after the city was captured. Unfortunately, winning will require cooperation many different parties. The Shiite government of Iraq, as well as the country’s Shiite militias, both want to be involved in the recapture of Mosul. So do Sunni actors, which include Iraqi tribes, Turkey, and the Kurds. And then there are the forces of the Yazidis and Christians. …
Kurdish presence is becoming ever more prevalent in recent news; it is not difficult to find updates on their battles against Daesh (Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL) in Syria, calling for an independent state in Iraq, or overcoming Turkish crackdown by the AKP government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Kurds have benefited since the appropriation of Mosul by Daesh in 2014 and they have taken advantage of Iraq’s weak army and Assad’s loss of grip in Syria. Despite these gains, the international community remains naïve. …
In 2002, the Islamist-based Justice and Development Party (AKP) won an election victory in Turkey, and the party has continued to win subsequent elections, sometimes controversially. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the leader of the AKP, was appointed the Prime Minister in 2002, and served until 2014. In 2014, after changes were made to the constitution to directly elect the President, Mr. Erdogan became President.
As the primary Turkish leader, Recep Erdogan has continued to push Turkey in the wrong direction. At home, he has cracked down on the press, political opponents, and even ordinary citizens, when they criticize him. His sponsorship of radical Muslim teachings have led to a rise in the discrimination and violence against Turkish women and gays. In the Middle East, he has been largely unhelpful to the West. He has allowed ISIS to transport weapons into Syria and oil out of Syria/Iraq through Turkey’s borders, and enabled radical Muslim fighters from Europe to reinforce the Islamic State. Erdogan has labeled the U.S. allied Kurds in Syria fighting the Islamic State as terrorists, even though they may be the most moderate and effective group in Syria. He has allowed Turkey to serve as a safe haven for senior Hamas officials and Muslim Brotherhood members. And he has shown himself to be a vicious anti-Semite who strongly opposes Israel.
In light of the above, should the U.S. reconsider its long-time alliance with Turkey? Can we rely upon them at all in the fight against ISIS? And how should U.S. handle Erdogan’s increasing despotism?
About Dr. Harold Rhode: Dr. Rhode is one of the few experts we have in the West who really understands the mentality of the Middle East. Dr. Rhode had spent more than 28 years in the office of U.S. Secretary of Defense as an advisor on U.S. Islamic Affairs. After getting his PhD in Islamic history at Columbia University under the esteemed Bernard Lewis, Dr. Rhode studied and traveled extensively throughout the Islamic world. He speaks fluent Turkish. Dr. Rhode served with the United States armed forces in Iraq, both during the recent war in Iraq and during the Gulf War. Dr. Rhode is also famous for being the person responsible for finding and rescuing sacred Jewish manuscripts from Iraq during the Iraq war.