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Iraqi Kurds running out of time, options, friends

"This is not a decision for the Bush administration. We've said all along that it's up to the Iraqi people to determine their political future," said State Department spokesman Adam Ereli.
The number of nations worried about the future of the Kurds in norther Iraq is many. They include Turkey, Syria, Iran, and yes, the United States. They're not worried so much about the welfare of the Kurds, but that the Kurds do not form an autonomous region within a unified or federated Iraq. Turkey and Syria especially have been warning Iraq's Kurds that they better not try it--or the consequences will be ugly. Turks and Arabs in northern Iraq who were paid by Saddam to replace the Kurds are demanding their share of power in an area largely populated and controlled by Kurds.

Turkey and Syria don't want the Kurds within their borders to get any ideas about independence or autonomy. Turkey would also like to control the oil-rich Kirkuk area, which is "traditionally Turkish."

It's a very, very complicated issue, and it makes you wonder why the US was so eager to destroy Iraq in the first place, at least with no inkling of an idea what to do after that.

So I looked around for answers to the complicated questions surrounding the Kurds. I looked in New York Newsday. It was a bad idea:

 http://newsday.com/news/politics/wire/sns-ap-politics-headlines

"The Kurdish region stretches from the north almost to the center of Iraq. It was under US and British protection during Saddam Hussein's rule and remains a semi-autonomous part of the country."

Well, that's 1/3 correct anyway. Before the first Gulf War, the US and Saddam were allies, and no one protected the Kurds from that alliance.

"Kurds make up about 20 percent of Iraq's population. The number of Kurds in Iraq has been estimated at 2 million to 5 million people."

I did some quick math, and I learned that Iraq's population is "about" 10 million to 25 million people.

The SF Chronicle:
 http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2004/01/06/international1445ES

"Turkish leaders have repeatedly said they will not tolerate Kurdish independence in Iraq, which they say will lead to the disintegration of the country and the destabilization of the region."

"We condemn all approaches that pose a threat to Iraq's territorial integrity," Syrian President Bashar Assad said..."

"The Kurds wish, in some way, to preserve their historic identity and to link it in some way to geography....But I think it's absolutely clear that that part of Iraq must remain part of Iraq." said Colin Powell.

Radio Free Europe:
 http://rferl.org/nca/features/2004/01/06012004162920.asp

"They [the Kurds] see the timetable [for rapidly handing over power] as being motivated only by the [US] administration's concerns about Iraq in the headlines in November...."

"So far, there is no sign that either the Iraqi Governing Council or Washington will resolve the complicated issue of the Kurds' autonomy demands quickly."

Zaman, Turkey
 http://zaman.org/default.php?kn=5873

"The Turkmen member of Iraq's temporary Governing Council, Sorgul Cabuk, said: 'If federation is going to be given to the Kurds, we, Turkmens would like a federation. Nobody can take control of Kirkuk, the Turkmen homeland, away from itself."

"It was reported that Shi'ite Turkmens have also demanded support for a Turkmen federal region by applying to Shi'ite members of the Governing Council."

Boy, everybody is upset with the Kurds. I thought everybody was going to get along fine after Saddam was captured, but now everybody is fighting and arguing with everybody else. Maybe the US shouldn't have destroyed Iraq after all. MAYBE IT JUST WASN'T WORTH THE LIES. But wait, there's an American solution. Isn't there always?

 http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A48889-2004Jan2.html
Plans are underway for the State Department to "take responsibility" for Iraq, and build a 3,000 person "diplomatic mission" in Baghdad that will keep an American guard of as many as 100,000 (American, maybe some British) troops. That will be super, and this "diplomatic mission" can show Arabs what it means to be civilized, so maybe they'll stop killing each other. Here's a quote from Colin Powell:

"The real challenge for the new embassy, so to speak, or the new presence will be helping the Iraqi people get ready for their full elections and full constitution the following year [2004]."

quoting the newspaper--"One of the first steps would be resuming diplomatic relations between Washington and Baghdad."

I like that sentence. It makes it sound like there's something IN Baghdad that you can resume diplomatic relations WITH.

"Although the United States is the occupying power in Iraq, the two nations have not formally resumed relations, which were severed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait."

That's a good sentence too. It means that even though we destroyed Iraq, we still don't have diplomatic relations with them.

This story first came out in the Washington Post, but it's much easier to find the story, or a shorter, altered version, in online papers like from India, Pakistan, Britain, etc...I saw the Seattle Times version of this story, and it almost didn't resemble the original story at all.

Final note--for happier, more positive news watch CNN--there's a story about a kid who got stuck in a toy machine, but they were able to get him out. WHEW!!!