Kurdish officials have quickly adapted to the idea that they can manage the extent of US involvement in the war against ISIS with media statements, and their success has been remarkable. After all, virtually the entire US war effort, despite being couched as an attempt to “save Iraq,” is backing Kurds in Syria or the Iraqi Kurdish fighters.
The idea that the Kurds are facing major, novel threats from ISIS is a key to keeping the US war machine focused on “saving” them, and the latest threats include the ISIS “chemical weapons” attacks.
ISIS has been bragging for a long time about its chlorine gas capabilities, and a handful of reports have emerged lately of them using such attacks with some success. Yet the use of simple chlorine gas, while technical a “chemical weapon” in that it is a chemical, is an extremely primitive form of attack compared to the more advanced chemical armaments people likely associate with the term.
That’s not all, however, as Kurdish officials are also hyping the idea that refugees from Iraq and Syria, obviously the non-Kurdish ones, include “families of members of the Islamic State” who are infiltrating the refugee camps to some untoward end.
Going beyond that, Kurdish officials are also presenting the idea that Turkey remains uncooperative with their war on ISIS, rejecting claims by President Erdogan that a deal is already in place to send Iraqi Kurdish fighters into Kobani, and claiming Erdogan’s government is dragging its feet on the plan.
So far, US officials have been only too willing to throw their weight behind the Kurds, and despite maintaining that Kobani is not a “priority,” almost all US warplanes are being deployed to strike ISIS fighters threatening that town, to the exclusion of most of the rest of the region where the war is ongoing.