Assyrian autonomy would do more than rectify a centuries-old injustice. It could also be the key to preventing irreversible damage to relations between the U.S. and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).
President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban against seven Muslim-majority countries has been met with a growing backlash in the Middle East. In response to Trump’s executive order, the Iraqi parliament voted to support reciprocal restrictions, barring Americans from entering Iraq unless Washington reverses its decision. This leaves Iraqi Kurds in a very precarious position.
“The KRG must now decide whether to help unify Iraq or go to war with Iraq,” said retired Lt. Col. Sargis Sangari, an expert on Assyrian Christians and CEO of the Near East Center for Strategic Engagement. “The Kurds may now feel compelled to implement their own travel ban against U.S. citizens, since their Muslim brethren would interpret such opposition as both a betrayal and an unpardonable offense against their religion.”
Any refusal by the KRG to implement such a ban would put the Kurds at odds with the federal government in Baghdad. It would also prove damaging to Kurdish aspirations for independence, since the KRG cannot afford to enter negotiations while opposing the travel bans imposed by Iran and Iraq against American citizens.