Did Anthony Blinken Successfully Convey His Message to Masrour Barzani with Clarity?
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Dr. Irfan Aziz

Did Anthony Blinken Successfully Convey His Message to Masrour Barzani with Clarity?

Mr. Masrour Barzani, the Prime Minister of Kurdistan, embarked on a visit to the United States on February 24, 2024, in response to an official invitation. Deliberations commenced upon his arrival, with formal discussions held on February 26, during which Mr. Barzani engaged in dialogue with the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken. Noteworthy developments emerged on the initial day.

Firstly, the US State Department highlighted the longstanding alliance between the United States and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), founded on shared values, mutual interests, and a history of sacrifices.

Secondly, the United States responded officially to address various challenges in the Middle East, including emerging threats to the Kurdistan Region such as the recent Federal Court announcement and the missile attack on Erbil. The US recognized the resilience of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the face of these challenges, referring to it as "resilient." This acknowledgment reflects the ninth cabinet's effective governance despite numerous obstacles.

Thirdly, the US Secretary of State emphasized the importance of a comprehensive understanding of American interests in Iraq, likening it to having a 360-degree perspective. This indicates close monitoring of internal affairs in Iraq by the United States, demonstrating a broad understanding of the country's dynamics.

Fourthly, the US State Department described its relationship with the Kurdistan Region as unique. While previously acknowledged as a significant partner and ally, a distinct conceptualization has emerged within US political discourse regarding Kurdistan.

The key concern is whether the US has conveyed a definitive message regarding the Kurdistan Region and its future. This question requires a direct response from the US post-meeting. Will the US maintain its stance amid pressures from Iran and Iraq aimed at weakening Kurdistan's position? This presents a significant test for the United States. Analysts in the Middle East suggest that if the US abandons the Kurdistan Region at this critical juncture, it risks eroding the trust of its regional allies. Already perceived as having abandoned its allies in the Middle East, especially following its withdrawal from Afghanistan, the question arises: will the United States address these criticisms and revise its approach?

The upcoming phase of Masrour Barzani's summit in the United States holds promise for providing answers. Antony Blinken's direct political references to the Kurdistan Prime Minister emphasized the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) crucial role in ensuring stability in the country and fostering a conducive environment for private sector development, including US investments. Noteworthy is the US's acknowledgment of Kurdistan's stability alongside its direct engagement with economic issues, indicating a concerted effort to bolster economic prospects in Kurdistan's future. This suggests that the United States is not only politically aligned with Kurdistan but also prepared to address economic challenges in the time ahead.

Another notable aspect discussed during the meeting between the Kurdistan and US delegations was the US Secretary of State's mention of internal unity within Kurdistan. Although there was no direct response provided, it is inferred that the United States perceives a shift in the disagreement between the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) from tactical to strategic issues. The PUK's alliances with parties not fully aligned with Kurdistan's interests may suggest this shift in strategy. Understanding the internal dynamics within Kurdistan seems to be the main concern for the United States.

Other crucial issues to highlight include the inaugural discussion of the Sinjar agreement at a high level between the US and Kurdistan. Additionally, deliberations will cover energy and oil exports, underscoring Kurdistan's reliability as a partner and ally to the US military. Following the emergence of ISIS in Iraq, the United States initiated an international coalition in 2014 and reiterated its support for the Peshmerga forces. Presently, a joint US-Kurdistan working committee is tasked with restructuring the Peshmerga force.

One of the significant stances of US leaders concerning Kurdistan occurred at the World Economic Forum in Davos on December 16, where President Joe Biden conveyed a message to President Barzani and Mr. Masrour Barzani. He expressed condemnation for the killing of civilians and reiterated support for the security and stability of the Kurdistan Region. This statement came following an attack by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

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[The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of BasNews.]

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