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Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Here's a few paragraphs from the Wahington Post story mentioned in the previous post. I'm putting this up because a.) Wackenhut security people will probably be guarding the oil wells, b.) it demonstrates the friction that could result between Turkey and the Kurds in the case of war and c.) shows generally how messy this all could get:

'One goal that Kurds make no pretense of giving up is their abiding claim on Kirkuk. The city, which has been called the Jerusalem of Iraq, lies on the plain just beyond the Kurds' reach on the south side of Iraqi front lines. Its residents include Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians and Turkmen -- groups that might live together in peace, but for the oil fields just west of town.'

'To maintain control of those fields, Baghdad decades ago began a process of ethnic cleansing called "Arabization," moving Arabs north and forcing all others out. In the polarized environment, both Kurds and Turkmen claim the city as their own. To further complicate the picture, Turkey also notes that at one point Kirkuk belonged to it, too. But the Kurds are closest -- just a 20-minute drive -- and have made the city a symbol of the aspirations its oil could let them realize.'

'"Kirkuk, the temple of our homeland . . . we will return to you, raising liberation banners," wails a male voice on Kurdistan TV, over an image of an oil refinery flare.'

'Such bald ambitions unsettle U.S. war planners, who have forbidden the PUK and KDP to send their militias into Kirkuk. The Turks reportedly have also promised not to enter, against a solemn U.S. promise that American troops will secure the city.'

'Kurdish officials say they cannot prevent armed Kurdish civilians from rushing back to Kirkuk, or prevent Kurds inside the city from grabbing hidden Kalashnikovs and rising up as they did in 1991. That prospect has prompted warnings from Turkey that it would retaliate by moving troops into Kirkuk.'

'"If there is a Kurdish uprising in the city, who is to protect the Turkmen?" said Isa Muhsin Kasab, an officer of the Iraqi Turkmen Front in Sulaymaniyah. "Only the United States and Turkey."'

'The treacherous dynamic has many Kurds expecting the worst once again. In Irbil, Mohammed Rasul, 64, paused from hauling bags of U.N. flour. The work earns him the equivalent of $10 a month, enough to feed his wife and four children meat once a month.'

'"I am hoping things will get better after Saddam goes," Rasul said. "But then I think: When did things get better for the Kurds?"' (Washington Post)

Regional Instability + Disaffection with the Outside World = Terrorist Breeding Ground, especially among the younger Kurds who have grown up during the past ten years.

Andrew 1:57 PM : |


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