After Iran-backed Shiite militias and the Iraqi Government seized parts of Kirkuk late Monday night, Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ) condemned the attack the following day. Congressman Franks spoke up in support of the government of Iraqi Kurdistan, reaffirming his support for Kurdish self-determination and criticizing the Iraqi government.
This resolution, although it was proposed by a member of the Freedom Caucus, has not only won the support of Republicans such as Congressmen Steve King (R-IA) and Ralph Abraham (R-LA), but may also win the support of Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY), the ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Engel has been vocal in support of Kurdish self-determination.
The resolution has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Congressman Franks’ resolution calls upon the United States to recognize the Kurdish people’s right to self-determination. It also condemns any “outside coercion” while calling for the United States and the international community to defend the rights of the Kurds.
In this resolution, Congressman Franks laid out his reasons for supporting Kurdish self-determination in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq:
“Whereas the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) meets the criteria for post-Cold War state recognition set forth in the Charter of Paris and the Vienna Declaration;
Whereas the KRI meets the four criteria in article 1 of the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, featuring a permanent population, a defined territory, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other states;
Whereas the Kurdish people meet the objective requirements for the right of self-determination, which include a common language, religion, ethnic background, cultural heritage, and history.”
In support of this proposition, Franks cites the past suffering of the Kurds at the hands of Saddam, the sacrifices and success of the Kurds in the fight against the Islamic State, and notes that 2000 Kurds have died fighting ISIS while another 9000 have been wounded. Congressman Franks also believes that the track record of the Regional Government of Kurdistan during the recent crisis demonstrated the capability of the Kurds to rule the region capably and justly.
He noted the efforts of the Kurds had “provided refuge and aid to nearly two million refugees and internally displaced persons,” while praising Kurdish protection of religious minorities during the crisis and the Kurd’s longstanding support for gender equality.
The bill will be considered by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs before it can advance to a vote in the House of Representatives.
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