For more than three years, the Frontlines team has been reporting on Kurdistan's fight with radical Islamists—from the capture of Mosul in June 2014 to the bloody offensive to liberate the city that began in 2016 and, finally, to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abaidi's proclamation of liberation in July 2017.
On September 25, 2017, an overwhelming 93% of the Kurds in northern Iraq voted for independence from Baghdad. But just three weeks after passage of the independence referendum, Iraqi army units—trained, armed and equipped by the U.S.—moved against the Kurds and seized control of Kirkuk and its oil fields in less than 48 hours.
In October, after U.S. meetings with Iraqi president al-Abaidi and a plea for Iranian-supported militias to "go home," the Iraqi leader rejected those entreaties. And despite American blood and treasure expended in his country, Abadi claimed that, "no party has the right to interfere in Iraqi matters."
With ISIS all but eliminated and the ayatollahs in Tehran now calling the shots in Iraq, what does this mean for the United States? Frontlines Correspondent LtCol Oliver North poses a hypothetical: Suppose Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Islamist president of Turkey, decides to withdraw from NATO and closes the big NATO base at Incerlik. Until we abandoned the Kurds, he noted, they were willing to give us full access to bases we built to support them in their fight against Saddam back in the 1990s. It begs the question: what's the future for Kurdistan?