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Friday, June 25, 2004

Future problems in Iraq

Here is a good article in The Christian Science Monitor on some upcoming hurdles in Iraq.

While attention has remained focused on the majority Shiites in the South, the non-Arab Kurds in the north, distrustful of promises of autonomy, are threatening to kick over the traces and pull out of the new government. Kurdish distrust of the United States is well grounded. Still remembered is 1988, when America stood by passively while Saddam Hussein's chemical attacks devastated whole villages. In 1975 President Nixon, and in 1991 the previous President Bush, fomented Kurdish uprisings against Hussein, only then to leave the Kurds to be slaughtered. So now, having built a respectable army of their own, the Kurds seem ready to make their move. The New York Times reports that Kurds are returning en masse to homes from which they were evicted by Hussein's forces. The Arabs who occupied them are being forced into ramshackle camps. American officials are trying to stem the migration, but show no signs of halting it.
The Kurdish question is a troubling one. They probably deserve their own state comprised of parts of Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Iran. Obviously this is not a popular thought with those countries and an attempt by the Kurds to form this new state would cause a whole bunch of trouble. I would prefer that Iraq (and eventually the other nations with Kurdish populations) was a place where ethnicity didn't matter too much. Everyone would get the same treatment regardless and they could be confident that their governments would protect them and follow the law. Of course, we are still working toward that in the U.S. and Iraq is a lot farther (and will be for a long time) from that than we are. It would almost certainly be better for the Iraqi Kurds to have their own state. It would be worse for Iraq though. Part of my hopes for Iraq is the success that the Kurds have had in adopting democracy. This can be a great resource for the Iraq in the future as it stuggles to come to terms with this form of government. Amer Taheri has an editorial on this subject here


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