Is Iraqi Kurdistan a Good Ally?
On a strictly emotional level, U.S. support for Iraqi Kurdistan makes sense. In the wake of World War I, the Kurds missed their opportunity for statehood when other peoples gained their independence. Today, they remain the largest ethnic group without a country. They have suffered greatly at the hands of others. But while Iraqi Kurdistan has come far, the unreliability of its leadership makes any long-term U.S.-Kurdish alliance unwise. Rather than become a beacon for democracy, the current Iraqi Kurdish leadership appears intent on replicating more autocratic models. Rather than become a regional Nelson Mandela, Iraqi Kurdish president Masud Barzani now charts a course to become a new Yasser Arafat.