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Kurdistan Rising

Now in a normal election, political parties put out some ideas, then there's a campaign, then the people vote. In Iraq, we seem to have held the election first, and only now that the votes are counted are the parties revealing what they stand for. The Kurdish List's demands are now on the table, and boy are there a lot of them. Assymetrical federalism of the sort they're asking for would be mighty hard to distinguish from independence. A bargaining ploy or real demands? Hard to say. But since the Kurds already have de facto what they're asking for de jure (and because America hearts Kurds) it may be hard to deny them.

February 18, 2005 | Permalink

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Tracked on Feb 18, 2005 12:57:00 PM

Comments

"Hard to say. But since the Kurds already have de facto what they're asking for de jure (and because America hearts Kurds) it may be hard to deny them."

Not to mention that it may be hard to deny them because they also have the ability to veto any constitution they don't like...

Posted by: Petey | Feb 18, 2005 2:39:26 AM

"The Kurdish List's demands are now on the table, and boy are there a lot of them. Assymetrical federalism of the sort they're asking for would be mighty hard to distinguish from independence. A bargaining ploy or real demands? Hard to say."

Blue state Democrats could learn something from the Kurds. Really.

Posted by: Scoop Democrat | Feb 18, 2005 2:42:04 AM

Is anyone else perplexed by the paradox that while America hearts cute calico kittens, they don't have an independent country?

Is there someone we can bomb about this?

Posted by: Petey | Feb 18, 2005 2:42:54 AM

"Blue state Democrats could learn something from the Kurds. Really."

It would help if the Americans would run a no-fly-zone and crippling sanctions over the red states for a decade.

I have it on good intelligence that there are WMD's buried in silos throughout the great plains.

Posted by: Petey | Feb 18, 2005 2:47:11 AM

"It would help if the Americans would run a no-fly-zone and crippling sanctions over the red states for a decade."

Just as long as I didn't have to watch 24 hour Fox News coverage of all the children in Texas dying from malnutrition and lack of basic medicine.

"I have it on good intelligence that there are WMD's buried in silos throughout the great plains."

That's funny. I thought they were in Atlantis.

PS Very funny comments Petey.

Posted by: Scoop Democrat | Feb 18, 2005 2:59:43 AM

"In Iraq, we seem to have held the election first, and only now that the votes are counted are the parties revealing what they stand for."

And this is different from the US in what respect? Boy, I'm sure the Bushies were so clear about their plans to cut Social Security last fall and didn't waste time on trivialities like Swift Boats.

Posted by: Dan Ryan | Feb 18, 2005 3:06:02 AM

Hey is this picture wrong? Should I ad or subtract anything to it? I'm working on it for a project.

http://negropontedeathsquads.com/torturetotem.jpg

Posted by: negropontedeathsquads.com | Feb 18, 2005 3:30:53 AM

The Kurds have always been one of the more explosive issues out there. The Kurds have a lot to lose by giving in to a less autonomous ruling situation. Yet neither Arab Iraqis, Turkey, nor America wants to grant them real independence. So what do we do? Fuck over our allies the Kurds, or risk starting a regional war or civil war there, now or later, by letting the Kurds be de facto independent?

It's one of those really sticky questions, and one that was given as a reason kicking this hornets nest was a questionable idea at best. Of course, it currently has less impact now, as we have managed to create a rip-roaring insurgency that distracts from the possibility of a civil war. But the civil war possibility may be there for years/decades to come.

Posted by: Timothy Klein | Feb 18, 2005 3:34:59 AM

They are asking for trouble. I can easily imagine them being marginalized again and a bunch of them killed.

All this parliamentary stuff is, of course, merely an illusion, fantasy; between the Turks, Arabs and Persians they have virtually no chance, unless they have an independent state with nukes or something. But I don't think anyone wants another Israel there (well, maybe the Israelis do?)

The only way they could succeed, IMO, is to be trusted collaborators of a strong colonial regime, like those Tutsis in Rwanda; but the world doesn't work this way anymore, there are no strong and stable colonial regimes. They are gambling with their lives, poor bastards.

Posted by: abb1 | Feb 18, 2005 5:15:59 AM

"(and because America hearts Kurds)"

No, America likes using the Kurds. At such a time when they are more trouble than they are worth, it will be "discovered" that their leaders have ties to terrorists or some other pretext will be found. They will be sold out to appease some other group who has gained power over peace.

This is why the Kurds are attempting to set up a situation where their good will will always be necessary.

Posted by: Njorl | Feb 18, 2005 8:35:24 AM

I've gotta agree with Njorl. If we really cared about what happened to the Kurds, we wouldn't have left them high and dry after Gulf War I. While they were useful to put pressure on Saddam, we promised we'd protect them; when they ceased being useful, we abandoned them to Saddam's tender mercies.

Posted by: Matt G. | Feb 18, 2005 8:40:44 AM

" If we really cared about what happened to the Kurds, we wouldn't have left them high and dry after Gulf War I."

We actually provided the Kurds with an Air Force between Gulf Wars I and II.

Perhaps you're thinking of the Shiites?

Posted by: Petey | Feb 18, 2005 8:46:41 AM

Maybe MattG is thinking of 1975, or any one of the other times we abandoned the Kurds.

The main point of the post is wrong, however. Everyone knew exactly that the Kurds wanted at least the status quo. This has been one of the truly unavoidable realities since the idea of toppling Saddam started gathering serious steam in 2002.

Posted by: CharleyCarp | Feb 18, 2005 9:03:59 AM

abb1,

It doesn't matter whether they stand up for themselves or not. Either way they get killed: in Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Iran, it is all the same.

They might as well stand up for themselves. At least that way they have a chance of winning, and if they lose, at least they die standing up.

In general, I see no reason why the Kurds should become docile Iraqis. What has Iraw ever done for them? After its founding, the British killed them. After the Sunnis took over, every two decades or so, the Arabs send troops in to kill them. If I was a Kurd, I'd want to get out of Iraq as soon as possible, which is of course what the overwhelming majority of them want to do.

But it can't happen, because then it might get into the heads of Kurds in other countries that they should have their own country, and the murderous bastards that run those other countries can't have that. And we support the murderous bastards, especially Turkey.

Posted by: Hektor Bim | Feb 18, 2005 9:20:40 AM

My recollection was that the CIA helped organize a Kurdish uprising in 1991. We told the Kurds we'd support them, then failed to do so. Didn't we? Perhaps I'm remembering it wrong.

In any case, I think there's ample reason for the Kurds to be extremely wary of us.

Posted by: Matt G. | Feb 18, 2005 9:32:35 AM

"Now in a normal election, political parties put out some ideas"

Huh? In a normal election, you make up shit about what the other
party's candidate did 35 years ago and tell people they'll be
blown up by terrorists if they vote for him. Then after the
election is done and computers programmed by your supporters
have given the results, you tell everyone what they're getting,
i.e. torture, a $600B deficit, and the end of Social Security.

Posted by: Richard Cownie | Feb 18, 2005 9:42:22 AM

The showdown between the Kurds and the Arabs was inevitable. Absent the American invasion, it would have happened at some other time, almost assuredly under far worse circumstances for the Kurds. The Kurds go into this situation in the best position they could have hoped to have. Let's see if they realize that.

Posted by: Al | Feb 18, 2005 10:11:13 AM

I'm trying to think of what the Kurdish demands compare to. South Carolina's Nullification demands in 1831? Canadian Commonwealth status? Irish Free State status? Either way, if Kurdish demands are met, they will be a de facto separate country. And with Kirkuk there goes a lot of Iraq's oil wealth. In fact, Kirkuk is what makes the situation so much different than the prior autonomous no-fly region. Before, the Kurds relied entirely on the US/UK for military protection AND for economic assistance. With Kirkuk, Kurdistan will have massive oil wealth to help fund an already formidable pesh merga. So yes, this may be the best chance the Kurds have ever had. But it will be a disaster for "Iraq" if that nation will continue to exist as a unified entity.

Posted by: Elrod | Feb 18, 2005 10:27:52 AM

My recollection was that the CIA helped organize a Kurdish uprising in 1991. We told the Kurds we'd support them, then failed to do so.

Like Petey said, it sounds like you are thinking of the Shi'ites, not the Kurds.

Posted by: cmdicely | Feb 18, 2005 10:56:06 AM

No, I'm pretty sure I mean Kurds. Here, look at this:

http://threehegemons.tripod.com/threehegemonsblog/id96.html

Posted by: Matt G. | Feb 18, 2005 11:07:06 AM

Is anyone here interested in playing a brand-new game called 'Neo-Colonial Nation-Building'? It uses the 'we-broke-it-and-you-bought-it-ha-ha-ha' gaming system put out by Neo-Cons-R-Us, and while the cost of the game is something like $300 billion, the real-life simulation is definitely state of the art. It combines the (anti) social aspects of the classic game 'Diplomacy' with the total (mind-numbing) detail immersion of 'Advanced Third Reich', and adds a few (not-so) novel Machieavellian twists via new modules involving domestic national politics and mass media manipulation. It even features an weblog community dedicated to the game, but this feature may be more of a bug for those players with more than half a brain.

Posted by: David W. | Feb 18, 2005 11:15:31 AM

Is it really possible that I am only seeming to remember hundreds of thousands of Kurds fleeing Saddam's troops over the mountains into Turkey in the aftermath of Gulf War I?

Posted by: SqueakyRat | Feb 18, 2005 11:52:38 AM

I am a kurd and i am pretty sure that it was both us kurds and the shia who had to flee after the uprisings in Kurdistan/southern Iraq in 1991, however the air protection offered to us by the coalition allowed us at least to form our de facto state, so it was'nt all bad.

Posted by: Simko | Feb 18, 2005 1:20:26 PM

Let's review the bidding. One of the big goals for the USA is permanent bases. Nobody in iraq except the kurds is saying they'd tolerate that. So the natural place for our bases is kurdistan.

If our bases are there, the kurds get US air support against any attack. Plus they get whatever economic advantages come from US bases -- they can sell stuff to our bases and get our leftover junk and we sell and give them stuff, and if they're large bases the prostitution would be significant money.

So we get out bases and the kurds get our protection regardless whether they say they're part of iraq, and it lasts as long as we can afford it.

Say that leads to kurdish uprisings in syria and iran, among our most recent designated targets. Cheney would be overjoyed and would want to support them. Say it leads to a kurdish uprising in turkey, where they've been mighty cool to us and real warm to our neutral enemies in the EU. Would Bush cry about that? Repressing the kurds would delay turkey into the EU and who knows, maybe we could slice off part of turkey for kurdistan. And kurds and israelis would be natural friends, since they'd share all the same enemies. If the israelis helped the kurds develop nukes quick we surely wouldn't mind. Far less than we minded pakistan.

If we just give up caring what our enemies think and concentrate only on our friends -- australia and kurdistan, and who knows? maybe poland -- then it all gets simple and clear.

Posted by: J Thomas | Feb 18, 2005 3:05:17 PM

I am a kurd and i am pretty sure...

You're sitting on my freakin oil over there, pal. Better go pump and don't waste time here.

Posted by: abb1 | Feb 18, 2005 3:24:04 PM

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