Trump may recognise independent Kurdish state - analyst

U.S. President Donald Trump has a plan to recognise a sovereign Kurdish state in Iraq to counter Iran in the region, Middle East analyst and founding member of the Trump Evangelical Faith Initiative Mike Evans said on Friday.

The Kurdistan Region Government (KRG)  had an independence referendum in 2017, with  92.7 percent of the 3.3 million votes cast in favour of secession. However, Iraqi government responded severely,  including a military campaign to retake much of the disputed areas, including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, that had been under Kurdish control since the emergence of ISIS in 2014, as well as shutting down the two international airports in Erbil and Sulaimani.

"President Trump loves to say 'Merry Christmas,' so don’t be surprised if he announces a Christmas gift for the Kurds. A sovereign Kurdish state on Iran’s border, coupled with US military might, would be checkmate – not only to Iran but also to the Iraqi government, which has treated America with such disdain," Evans said in an article for Jerusalem Post.

With the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northeast Syria which paved the way for a Turkish offensive in the region, Trump "has given Turkey what they wanted before he recognizes a sovereign Kurdish state," the analyst said.