August 5th, 2014
06:33 PM ET

What I'm reading: Will U.S. help the Kurds fight ISIS?

By Fareed Zakaria

“The Kurds are among America’s best friends in the Middle East; they are pro-Western, largely secular, and largely democratic,” writes Dexter Filkins in the New Yorker. “Since 1991, when Saddam Hussein’s latest attempt to launch a genocidal campaign against them was thwarted by the United States, the Kurds have more or less governed themselves. During the American war, from 2003 to 2011, not a single American soldier was killed in the Kurdish region. The Kurds regard themselves as culturally and linguistically apart from the Arabs – Sunni and Shia – who inhabit the rest of Iraq. These days, fewer and fewer Kurds even know how to speak Arabic.”

“And that’s the problem, at least according to the United States. Since 2003, American policy toward Kurdistan has been ‘one Iraq.’ That is, no matter how friendly the Kurds are, no matter how pro-Western, American policy has been to keep Iraq together. That means: don’t do anything that helps the Kurds too much, lest they break away from Iraq and declare independence, which is most what most Kurds want.”


“Perhaps the most gratuitous [Obama] administration failing has been its reluctance to respond to the slights inflicted on it even by minor powers,” writes Jackson Diehl in the Washington Post. “Bahrain’s extraordinary expulsion of State’s human rights envoy prompted only a routine statement of ‘concern;’ so did the criminal charges against Saakashvili. The administration could easily punish and deter such governments; ambassadors could be recalled, military aid withheld, exercises and official visits canceled. Instead, the message goes out that the Obama administration can be defied with impunity – and the bank run continues.”


“[T]here's no evidence that U.S. companies are hobbled by a higher corporate tax than their overseas competitors,” writes Michael Hiltzik in the Los Angeles Times. “U.S. companies are masters at reducing their effective U.S. tax rates to levels consonant with those in other big markets, such as Western Europe and Asia. (Tax warriors will cite statutory tax rates – where the U.S. is near the top of the list – but almost no one ever pays those.) And there's no evidence that corporate growth rates or access to capital have any real correlation to domestic tax rates.”

“Inordinately loose rules on inversions are bad for the U.S. Skipping out on one's domestic obligations means leaving others to pay for all the good things that come from U.S. corporate citizenship. It's hypocritical for American CEOs to praise the U.S. as the greatest country on Earth while beating the bushes for legal tricks to avoid the bill.”


soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Towel Heads vs. Towel Heads

    Sounds like a win/win situation.

    August 5, 2014 at 10:13 pm |
    • Lorn


      August 8, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
      • Bana

        Why? if each ethnic group ends up betraying the countries that gave them citizenship then you are basically saying let us reward the backstabbers!!! if the U.S. will do so then they have created another Bin Laden to deal with in the long run?

        August 10, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
      • j. von hettlingen

        There's nothing much the US can do in Iraq. Maliki is not going anywhere and hangs on to power. National reconciliation is an illusion. The Sunnis are hard-nosed and want to regain former glory under Saddam Hussein. The only hope is to have a strong and stable Kurdistan, a reliable ally for the US in the region.

        August 11, 2014 at 10:57 am |
  2. The GOP Solution

    The GOP Prayer/Mantra/Solution: Dear God...With your loving kindness, help us to turn all the Old, Sick, Poor, Non-white, Non-christian, Female, and Gay people into slaves. Then, with your guidance and compassion, we will whip them until they are Young, Healthy, Rich, White, Christian, Male, and Straight. Or until they are dead. God...Grant us the knowledge to then turn them into Soylent Green to feed the military during the next "unfunded/off-the-books" war. God...Give us the strength during our speeches to repeatedly yell........TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH!!!..........and........GET RID OF SS AND MEDICARE!!!
    In your name we prey (purposely misspelled, or is it?)........Amen

    August 5, 2014 at 10:16 pm |
    • Lorn

      You don't have a clue of the modern republican party. Its a party of common sense measures, not self promoting rich white people. Make the right choice, its the right thing for ALL of America and its citizens. What has happened to common sense in America?

      August 8, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
  3. devdevi

    hopefully ISIS will learn that all religion is made by man

    before they make the same mistakes as all the other religions have trying to rule the world

    August 6, 2014 at 12:32 am |
  4. PEACE ... no fightings

    USA should NOT help anybody fighting. We need PEACE for the Greater Middle East.

    August 6, 2014 at 6:59 am |
    • Lorn

      What? America hasn't started this fight! Go tell those Islamic extremists that want all Christians dead that!!!!!! You can tell them in person if you have the nuggets , but you'll walk away carrying your head in your hands!

      August 8, 2014 at 7:25 pm |
  5. Anbu

    Freedom and justice should be protected. Help to kurds is so urgent.

    August 6, 2014 at 7:15 am |
    • Joseph McCarthy

      We also need to help the Kurds in Turkey achieve their well deserved independence too, Anbu. The Kurds have just as much right to a homeland as the Israelis do. It would also do well to note that Iraq was not united by the Iraqis themselves, but rather an Anglo-French creation after WW1.

      August 6, 2014 at 10:45 am |
    • sly

      Yep. let's help the Kurds get their own nation.

      Oh, and also help the Crimeans get their own nation. Oh, and the Libyans. And the Palestinians. Oh, and Free Tibet. Oh, and Syria. And what about North Korea – let's free those people.

      Oh, and let's all blame Congress for raising our taxes ...

      August 7, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
      • George patton

        You seem to forget sly, that the Crimeans have already spoken out or at least the majority of them have. They want to be part of Russia and that's that!

        August 9, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
      • Bana

        Now we are talking.... what is so special about the Kurdish, once Barzani was getting millions of $ to kill his own Kurdish from Talababi clan, now you are telling me this leader is "Democratic" do you know Barzani clan in KRG force Christians to joint KDP or else they will not get any positions in government? he is more dictator than Saddam and I know since I am from Kirkuk, Iraq.

        August 10, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
  6. palintwit

    I thought it said 'turds' not 'kurds' and that the article was about Sarah Palin.

    August 6, 2014 at 11:06 am |
    • So True

      Don't disrespect "Turds" by calling them "Palins".

      August 6, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      When we wanted the USA, we took it.
      That's why we got it: war.
      That's how we keep it: obvious ability to make war.

      August 8, 2014 at 2:21 am |
  7. bobcat2u

    The teacher wrote on the blackboard, “I ain’t had no fun all summer.”

    “Now Paul,” she said. “What shall I do to correct this?”

    “Get a boy friend.” Paul replied.

    August 6, 2014 at 11:21 am |
  8. Richard Mc

    The problem with the Kurds is that they occupy parts of Iran, Armenia, Turkey, Iraq and Syria that they want to incorporate into Kurdistan. Turkey is a key ally and Iraq is as closet to an ally as any Shia nation to the US. We should not delude ourselves into thinking that the Kurds will be happy with a Kurdistan composed only of a piece of Iraq. They have fought against Iran, Turkey and Syria in the past and will do so again with any weapons we give them.

    August 6, 2014 at 11:32 am |
    • Arabs League

      But you should not give them any weapons. Kurds are gonna be happy living in various countries. Arabs League can bring peace and democracy to the region.

      August 6, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
  9. chri§§y

    Lol @ so true, that was cute.

    August 6, 2014 at 5:55 pm |
  10. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

    The USA has a reasonable responsibility to fight our opponents when our interests are threatened.
    I am curious as to whether or not the Kurds were among the sizable cheering section as the World Trade Center burned and fell?

    August 6, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini

      That I can tell you, Joey. We need to help the Kurds in both northern Iraq and eastern Turkey achieve their independence and set up their own homeland. This way, we'd have a good ally in the Middle East.

      August 6, 2014 at 7:00 pm |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        Ah, @ My Troll, yes, but we already have an ally in the Midde East, and, may I say, a very costly one at that. We needed an ally Over There, so we put Israel where the Palestinians had been.
        One must not forget to mention the United Nations here. Send out their cards at Chris–uh, the Holidays, yes.
        Do you remember dear Mrs. Roosevelt?
        How about that King David Hotel?

        August 7, 2014 at 6:28 am |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        Biblical. All Biblical, yes.

        August 7, 2014 at 6:32 am |
    • Kurdish


      Kurds will never cheer on to terrorists, we are a peaceful city with no country living among these animals. You might want to read a little bit more about who the Kurds are. There are also plenty of videos on youtube. just search for who are the Kurds. there's a reason why we are called The Other Iraq.

      August 7, 2014 at 11:22 am |
  11. Ferhat Balkan

    It was in the early 1980s that the Soviet Union decided to "help" the Kurds living in Turkey by providing them with weapons and encouraged them that if they achieved independence and established a Communist state, they'd have full support of the Soviet Union. The result was some 30 bloody years of some 30,000 lives lost with what became to be known as the terrorist organization PKK. The Soviets at the time saw the Kurds as a destabilizing element for NATO ally Turkey, so they took advantage of it. Today, Russia is doing the same with Ukraine.

    August 6, 2014 at 8:06 pm |
    • George patton

      Wrong, Ferhat. The Kurds do need and deserve their own homeland. Do you think that we Americans were also wrong when we rebelled against the British in 1776, Ferhat? What's the difference?

      August 6, 2014 at 10:38 pm |
  12. WilliamMorris

    It is appalling that the White House continues to join Putin and the Ayatollah in helping the current government of Iran against the Kurds. Shame Shame Shame.

    August 6, 2014 at 8:52 pm |
    • sly

      America is working with Iran?

      Boy ... we sure have some dimwits blogging here today. Sure wish the Republicans could make up their mind – is Iran America's best ally and we work closely with them, or Iran is our enemy and we have an embargo againest them and no communication.

      I think all intelligent people know which of these is correct.

      August 7, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
  13. RLTJ's

    "The administration could easily punish and deter such governments; ambassadors could be recalled, military aid withheld, exercises and official visits canceled. Instead, the message goes out that the Obama administration can be defied with impunity – and the bank run continues.”

    This has nothing to do with this article. This has something to do with words like "aid", sanctions and blockade.

    I think everybody has the right to withhold or withdraw aid. Because aid is help and help is voluntary. And they may be on the whim or satisfaction of the donor. You cant blame anybody who has no sympathy and who will not help.

    But I think sanctions and blockade should be rethink. We have seen them in Gaza and we have it boiling over Ukraine. In the modern times their political intentions never work except to make the lives in nations to suffer.

    August 6, 2014 at 9:14 pm |
  14. RLTJ's

    economic strikes are components of war.

    August 6, 2014 at 9:16 pm |
  15. RLTJ's

    yeah, withdrawal or impending withdrawal of aid, which can be cascaded, in many cases worked. They form strong opinion. They are clearly legal and within moral norms.

    August 6, 2014 at 9:19 pm |
  16. Wesley Clark

    What we need to do is to bring the Kurds, the ISIS and the Baghdad government to the negotiating table in order to work out a peaceful settlement. This is the only way to bring peace to that region. Only a stupid, crazy fool would think otherwise!

    August 7, 2014 at 5:23 pm |
  17. chri§§y

    @ about we just blame congress for raising THEIR pay while cutting their days in session and doing even less. However i didnt think it was possible for them to do even less than ever but they managed it!

    August 7, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
  18. chri§§y

    Lol @ Joey (the REAL Joey) very accurate statement about Israel. And as much as it has cost us just shows one thing...Israel can be bought by the highest bidder! Therefore, they arent exactly very trustworthy!

    August 7, 2014 at 10:23 pm |
  19. chri§§y

    And here all this time i thought YOU were a history buff! That isnt quite how it happened. You remember when the Mayflower landed at plymoth rock? And the 1st thanksgiving? That was a "friendly event" between native americans and the pilgrims!

    August 8, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
  20. Lorn


    August 8, 2014 at 7:27 pm |
    • George patton

      I fully agree, Lorn!

      August 9, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
  21. Lorn

    When are Americans going to realize that upwards of 20% of these Islamists in the Middle East are Extremists!??????? If not more! That's devastating! They don't think normal, they aren't normal, and you can't treat them normally. They want DEATH to INFADELS....DEATH,...that includes Americans, Kurds, Israeli's, any NON-MUSLIM there is left on the planet! There's nothing more prejudiced than that!!!! THEY ARE INTOLERANT BIGOTS TO ANYONE NON-ISLAMIC!!!! Please understand that!!!!!! Save yourself and innocent lives that they are exterminating. Do the right thing and stop them before they become too big and even make it to the "bible belt" and make you a muslim under the threat of a sword , like they been doing for 1400 years!!!!!!

    August 8, 2014 at 7:49 pm |
  22. Price of Infinix Phones in Nigeria

    Good one moe

    August 24, 2017 at 7:40 pm |

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