“Terrorism doesn't just blow up buildings; it blasts every other issue off the political map. The spectre of terrorism - real and exaggerated - has become a shield of impunity, protecting governments around the world from scrutiny for their human rights abuses.”
~ Naomi Klein.
~ Naomi Klein.
Well, well, well . . . South Kurdistan's reaction to the ISG's Baker-Hamiltion report does not look good for the Americans. The Kurdish Globe reports that implementation of the ISG report on Kerkuk would spark Kurdish secession and war:
Ghafur Makhmuri, a member of the Kurdish regional parliament, told "The Kurdish Globe" on December 12 that if the recommendations by the Iraq Study Group concerning the fate of Kirkuk are implemented, then the Kurds might be forced to secede from Iraq.
"The part of the report that calls for postponing the implementation of the constitutional Article  on Kirkuk will lead to an explosive situation in the country," Makhmuri said.
Secession by the Kurds would present a disastrous scenario that could ignite a regional conflict. Iraq's fragmentation would greatly increase the likelihood of Turkish military intervention, not only to prevent its own Kurdish population from seceding, but also to protect northern Iraq's Turkoman population, who are ethnic Turks.
More bluntly, the president of the Kurdish regional government, Mas'ud Barzani, warned that if Article 140 was ever deferred, then the region would plunge into war, Kurdistan Satellite Television reported on December 9.
"If there ever would be serious strife, it would happen then. If there ever would be a bloody war, an organized and a determined war, it would only take place then, and only then would it [the situation] become dangerous," Barzani said.
From reports earlier in the week, we know that both Masûd Barzanî and Celal Talabanî reject the ISG report, however, what has not been more widely carried in Western media, has been the reaction of ordinary Kurds in South Kurdistan. Their reactions have not been favorable. An opinion piece in the Kurdish Globe put it this way:
Politic [sic] is nothing but the struggle of interests. Political forces are there for nothing but to safeguard their group, class, national, and etc, interests. It is delicate times for the Kurdish political establishment to protect the Kurdish national interests in such muddy waters. The Kurdish leadership and the Kurdish nation must make sure that both the US and the regional powers understand that should the tide go against Kurdish interests then the Kurds have as much will as the Sunnis to turn Iraq and the region into a chaos. No one should expect submissiveness from the Kurds anymore.
Finally, someone says something sensible. But there should be no mistake; this statement is in reference to the Başûrî. As for the Bakûrî, the old, "submissive" Kurd died in the North in 1978. The new Kurd in the North was born on 15 August, 1984. We need to see the same death and rebirth in the South, but the question is: Will we?
Another check of which direction the wind is blowing, from KurdishMedia:
Although the Iraq Study Group (ISG) report has had a marginal impact on southern and central Iraq, it has created a public outrage in the Kurdistan region. Since disclosure of the report’s findings three days ago, the streets, teahouses, markets, television, and radio stations have not ceased their criticisms. Demonstrations are being conducted and petitions signed against the report, referred to as another American sell-out of the Kurds. Some are calling for less compromise and more muscle in dealing with their unappreciative ally. The Kurdish president Massoud Barzani revealed this hostility in a regional news conference, criticizing the ISG for not having visited the Kurdistan region and assuring that the Kurds would have no part in Iraq if the ISG recommendations were implemented.
Another report on KurdishMedia shows the reaction against the ISG report in Silêmanî:
It is believed that the ISG violated all the rights of Kurdish people in southern Kurdistan and created uncertain environment among Kurds, which may not help the security and the stability of the region. Most Kurds see the report as the Bush administration's pre-plan to demolish the political entity of Kurdistan Regional Government and returning Iraq to a dictatorial rule similar to that of Saddam Hussein. Others believe that this is the view of the Bush administration but they want to break the news to Kurds in this fashion via a report by a partisan group such as ISG. In other words, they just wanted to know the Kurdish reaction to such drastic plan. Other Kurds blame the Kurdish leadership's immaturity of handling their relationship with superpowers and acting as puppets. Others believe that the Kurdish leadership’s depth in corruption world [sic] not allow them to pursue the Kurdish interests internally and externally.
More on the Kurdish street's reaction at Tiare's Notebook.
All of this is enough to make one wonder what was said and what deals were made, if any, during a recent telephone call between Bush and the Başûrî leaders, as reported by AFP. Call me skeptical.
In a report by Asia Times, carried on Kurdish Globe, the KRG representative to the EU, Saywan Barzanî, speaks on the American lack of respect for the Iraqi constitution, particularly with regard to implementation of Article 140 and the issue of federalism. The KRG also refuses reconciliation with the Ba'athi and dialog with either Iran or Syria. Note the following:
The Baker report calls for a stronger central government, especially in the management of oil resources. Kurds instead want regional control in each province.
The American desire for a "stronger central government," and Kurdish suspicions that a return to rule-by-dictator is approaching on the horizon puts this article by Jonah Goldberg in an interesting light, from the LATimes:
I THINK ALL intelligent, patriotic and informed people can agree: It would be great if the U.S. could find an Iraqi Augusto Pinochet. In fact, an Iraqi Pinochet would be even better than an Iraqi Castro.
Both propositions strike me as so self-evident as to require no explanation. But as I have discovered in recent days, many otherwise rational people can't think straight when the names Fidel Castro and Augusto Pinochet come up.
Let's put aside, at least for a moment, the question of which man was (or is) "worse." Suffice it to say, both have more blood on their hands than a decent conscience should be able to bear. Still, if all you want to do is keep score, then Castro almost surely has many more bodies on his rap sheet. The Cuba Archive estimates that Castro is responsible for the deaths of at least 9,240 people, though the real number could be many times that, particularly if you include the estimate of nearly 77,000 men, women and children who have died trying to flee the "socialist paradise."
First of all, be aware that Jonah Goldberg is a former staffer from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), which is anti-Kurd to its very core. Notice the regret expressed for Ahmed Chalabi not living up to Pinochet's standards, thus devastating the hopes of his American handlers. Chalabi was AEI's pet. Just ask Chalabi's old friend, Michael Ledeen.
Secondly, as with all the creatures affiliated with AEI, Goldberg avoids a regional comparison for Iraq. If he had actually used a regional comparison, he could have noted the millions of Kurds murdered by the Ankara regime over the course of almost a century of repression. He could have noted the tens of thousands murdered by the Ankara regime during the Dirty War alone. He could have noted the millions of Kurds ethnically cleansed from their villages throughout the heart of Kurdistan--the majority region of Kurdistan, that of Kurdistan Bakur. On the other hand, it simply would not do to risk opening the ugly can of worms that the US has backed in Turkey, it's own client state and a great model of so-called democracy and secularism in the Middle East.
Thirdly, this AEI creature also fails to mention that Saddam Hussein was also backed by the US, and that the US conveniently looked the other way when Saddam was busy slaughtering Kurds . . . or anyone else, for that matter. Goldberg, therefore, has absolutely no business criticizing "moral myopia."
Over and above the extreme hypocrisy and vile cynicism regarding the lives of Kurds and other Middle Easterners which the Goldberg article represents, we should wonder whether this article also represents the first motion toward a compromise between the neocons and the Kissingerians. The use of extremely centralized governments ruled by US-installed "stongmen" is another pattern used by the US to maintain its own interests throughout the world. In order to maintain control over Kurdish and Iraqi oil resources--which is what the ISG report is all about--will the search be on for a suitable candidate for the US to install over "Iraq" once again?
At this point, I see no candidates for the job of new Iraqi dictator, but that does not mean his spectre is not approaching somewhere on the horizon.