By: Elias J. Atienza
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, spoke to Chris Matthews of MSNBC’s “Hardball” about President-Elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, promising to keep an “open mind.” He also continued to offer opposition to Trump’s possible pick for deputy Secretary of State John Bolton, a noted war hawk who is unrepentant about his support for the Iraq War and regime change.
But what is most interesting is his support for arming the Kurds, a ethnic minority who have been called the largest stateless nation, along with his support of partitioning Iraq.
“The Kurds are advocating for their own country. Joe Biden, many years ago, he did talk about dividing Iraq probably fifteen years ago. The Turks ruled from the Ottoman Empire with different provinces,” Paul said. “So I think it should be entertained and I’m supportive of the Kurds, they’ve fought the best and the hardest. I’m supportive of them having their own homeland. They seem to be good allies and friends of ours and I think they would do more for liberating us from ISIS if we were giving weapons directly to them instead of through Baghdad.”
Chris Matthews seemed supportive of the idea as well, noting how the United States helped in the “dividing” of Europe.
Paul has previously called for arming the Kurds directly and giving them their own country. The Kurdish news station Rudaw previously reported on his remarks during an interview with Breitbart News.
“The arms are going through Baghdad to get to the Kurds and they’re being siphoned off and they’re not getting what they need,” Paul said. “I think any arms coming from us or coming from any European countries ought to go directly to the Kurds.”
“But I would go one step further: I would draw new lines for Kurdistan and I would promise them a country.”
The majority of the Kurds are divided into four regions: southeastern Turkey, northern Iraq, northern Syria and northwestern Iran. There are significant Kurdish populations in Europe and the United States.
The Kurds have been noted for their protection of religious minorities, especially Christians, where thousands fled to following ISIS’s seizure of Mosul in June of 2014. It was the Kurds who broke the Siege of Mount Sinjar, where thousands of the Yezidis, a religious minority, had been surrounded by ISIS.
Kurdistan’s Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, in a press conference held in Kurdistan’s capital city of Erbil, warned about the post-governing of Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, along with hailing Kurdistan’s “coexistence and diversity.”
“Kurdistan has been the home of tolerance, coexistence and diversity of ethnicities, religions and cultures since the dawn of time,” the Prime Minister said. “Despite all the wars, destruction and repressions imposed on it, it has never – not even once — lost this beautiful characteristic, and has remained the home of all religions and nations.”