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Erbil – Kurdish officials on Wednesday congratulated Donald Trump on being elected the next president of the United States and asked for more support as they wage an existential war against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria.
“I want to congratulate Mr Donald Trump on becoming the next president of the United States, after a hard-fought campaign. We expect the Trump administration to continue military cooperation in the fight against terrorism and continue humanitarian efforts for those displaced,” the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Head of Foreign Relations, Falah Mustafa, told ARA News in an exclusive interview.
Kurdish communities are struggling with a huge influx of people displaced in the Mosul operation. More than 67,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) have arrived in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq since the start of the Qayyara operation on March 24.
“We need continued military, humanitarian and political support. We are grateful for the leading role played by the United States in the war on terror and for its support of the Peshmerga forces,” the Kurdish official continued. “It’s our hope that we can continue our cooperation with the US government under Trump.”
“As a friend and ally of the United States, we want to develop a strategic partnership with the US. What we need is a focused and engaged policy to address the causes of these crises and work towards a more stable future,” Mustafa concluded.
Bayan Sami Rahman, the KRG’s Representative to the United States, also extended her best-wishes to the president-elect. “I offer my warmest congratulations to Donald Trump on his victory in the 2016 US presidential election,” she said.
“We are excited to see his administration’s leadership on the complex economic, security, and humanitarian issues facing the Middle East and the world, and look forward to strengthening the relationship between the US and the Kurdistan Region,” Sami told ARA News.
“We offer our consolation to the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, whose historic candidacy inspired people around the world,” Sami added. “We also congratulate the winners of Congressional and gubernatorial elections, in particular, the members of the Kurdish-American Congressional Caucus.”
Congratulatory messages have also poured in from Kurdish politicians in Syria. Sinem Mohammed, the co-President of the People’s Council for West-Kurdistan, said: “We congratulate the American people. We hope President Trump can play a positive role to end the war and bloodshed in Syria.”
Zara Salih, a member of the Yekiti Party’s Political Committee, told ARA News that the Kurds in Syria are looking for more US support. “The Republican Party’s policies towards the Middle East have always been more practical, especially in Iraq. We expect more support from Trump,” she said.
“We Syrian Kurds are looking for American support to help establish a federal system in Syria because we don’t agree with the Syrian regime or opposition,” Salih continued. “[Neither side will] give Kurds any national rights. They reject federalism because they believe that it will divide Syria.”
Many Iraqi Kurds hope that Trump will change America’s traditional ‘One Iraq Policy’ and recognize the KRG as an independent State. Walid Phares, Trump’s foreign policy advisor, has been supportive of the Kurdish Peshmerga.
Syrian Kurds are largely pursuing a different agenda. They hope that the US will stop supporting Turkey-backed opposition groups that reject any form of Kurdish autonomy and have been fighting against the pro-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces.
Personifying both of these national aspirations, a Syrian Kurd fighting alongside the Peshmerga in Iraq told ARA News that he “stands behind Trump. He will be the same as George Bush.”
Majdal Delli, a member of the Kurdish Yekiti Party, told ARA News that the Kurds might fare better dealing with Republicans rather than Democrats.
“European and American leaders have started trusting the Kurds more than any of the leaders in the Middle East,” Delli said. “We are looking forward to having Trump support our independence in [Iraqi Kurdistan]. Also, we need to have his help to find a solution to the Syrian crisis.”
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News
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