Biden will increase U.S. support for Kurds in Syria, Iraq, academic says

U.S. President elect Joe Biden understands the Kurdish issue better than any other U.S. president and he will boost U.S. support for Kurdish rights, David Romano, a professor of Middle East politics at Missouri State University and the author of the Kurdish Nationalist Movement, said in an interview with Kurd Press on Sunday.

"The election of Democratic nominee Joe Biden as the new U.S. president and the end of Trump’s presidency have sparked optimism among Kurds in Iraq and Syria that the United States will change its position on the Kurds," Romano said.

Biden was vice president when Washington decided to arm the Syrian Kurds against the Islamic State and he helped plan two more autonomous regions for the Kurds alongside the Kurdish region in neighbouring Iraq, Romano said.

"Of course, none of this means that the new U.S. president immediately supports Kurdish independence, but it does show that Joe Biden will defend Kurdish rights and autonomy more," he said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has long urged U.S. President Donald Trump to break Washington’s relationship with Syria’s Kurds, as he fears the autonomous area they carved out will inspire Turkey’s large Kurdish minority. Trump pulled U.S. forces away from the northern Syrian border with Turkey in October last year, essentially giving Ankara a green light to begin a military campaign against Kurdish militias that had fought on the frontlines of the U.S.-backed campaign against the Islamic State.

"Joe Biden seems to pressure Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his administration more than Donald Trump and even Obama over democracy violations, human rights violations and heinous acts in Syria," Romano said.