Aftandilian in The Arab Weekly on Iraqi Kurds and the U.S. Syria Fiasco

December 2, 2019

Gregory Aftandilian, Lecturer at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, published a recent Op-Ed on the Trump administration’s attempt to mend fences with Iraqi Kurds.

Aftandilian’s Op-Ed, entitled, “U.S. Trying to Reassure Iraqi Kurds After Syria Fiasco,” was published in The Arab Weekly on December 1, 2019.

From the text of the article:

US Vice-President Mike Pence’s trip to Iraq on November 23 was not only designed to be a morale booster  — as he and his wife served an early Thanksgiving dinner to about 150 American servicemen and women — but also an attempt to shore up US relations with the Kurds in the aftermath of the abrupt US pullout from north-eastern Syria in October.

Shortly after visiting Al Asad Air Base, west of Baghdad, Pence and his team flew to Erbil where he met with Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) President Nechirvan Barzani and other Iraqi Kurdish officials.

Pence spoke publicly about “the enduring bond that exists between the Kurdish people and the people of the United States.”

Then, speaking on behalf of US President Donald Trump, Pence added that he wanted to “reiterate the strong bonds forged in the fires of war between the people of the United States and the Kurdish people across this region,” which implied the Syrian Kurds as well.

Gregory Aftandilian, a consultant, scholar, and lecturer, is an adjunct faculty member at Boston University and American University.  He is also an associate of the Middle East Center at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell and a Senior Fellow for the Middle East at the Center for National Policy in Washington, D.C.  He spent over 21 years in government service, most recently on Capitol Hill where he was foreign policy adviser to Congressman Chris Van Hollen (2007-2008), professional staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and foreign policy adviser to Senator Paul Sarbanes (2000-2004), and foreign policy fellow to the late Senator Edward Kennedy (1999).

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