"I will kill them all with chemical weapons! Who is going to say anything? The international community? Fuck them! The international community and those who listen to them."
~ Ali Hassan al-Majid.
~ Ali Hassan al-Majid.
Mmm, mmm, mmm . . . word is leaking out in the Iraqi media that the Southern leaders have indeed agreed to deploy Kurdish pêşmerge to Baghdad:
Kurdish leaders have decided to deploy their own militias in the current fighting in Baghdad where government troops aided by U.S. forces have launched yet another campaign to secure the restive city.
[ . . . ]
Kurdish militias have not yet arrived in Baghdad but sources said their deployment was expected to coincide with the stationing of at least 20,000 more U.S. troops in the city.
[ . . . ]
Mahmoud Othman, a prominent member of the Iraqi Kurdish Coalition, grouping the region’s two main factions of Massoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani, said he was against sending Kurdish militias to fight against Arabs anywhere in Iraq.
“There are fears that a fight like this pitting Kurds against the Arabs is bound to add an ethnic touch to the conflict,” Othman said.
Othman added,”The deployment of Kurdish forces in Arab areas is wrong and will create sensitivities and accusations that Kurds are killing the Arabs.
“I am against the move … and there are many in the Iraqi parliament who are against it, too.”
But Dr. Othman, we've already had that "ethnic touch" at Saddam's execution. What's a little more gasoline on the fire, eh?
A report in Arab media (though Informed Comment) indicates that Dr. Othman admits that both Southern leaders have approved the plan:
Kurdish politician Mahmud Osman objected to the planned use of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters who are in Iraqi army units, saying he worried that it might provoke fighting between Arabs and Kurds. He admitted that the plan had been approved by President Jalal Talabani and the leader of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Masoud Barzani. Three Iraqi army brigades are expected to head down from northern Iraq to the capital, two of them Kurdish. MP al-Faluji also said that the use of the Peshmerga should be presented to parliament for its approval.
This news is consistent with that reported at the end of December on the Kurdish Globe.
Is Mahmud Othman the only politician in South Kurdistan or Iraq with a brain? Not only might a move of pêşmerge to Baghdad "provoke fighting between Arabs and Kurds," it will certainly result in Kurdish deaths for the sake of the Arab nation. Why doesn't the Southern leadership put a premium on the Kurdish nation instead? Let's recall Othman's comments on the infamous meeting in Amman, back in December, when this plan was cooked up by the American-Shi'a alliance:
Dr Mahmud Othman stated in an interview with Kurdistan TV that the absence of the Kurds in these meetings in Amman is a negative phenomenon. He thought that these meetings were not normal and there are solutions being cooked in the political restaurant of the region and a new menu is being prepared. He called upon Kurdish leaders to play their role in this respect.
Obviously, Dr. Othman's calls fall on deaf ears. More, on whose interests are being pushed at whose expense:
It seems that the Americans are not satisfied with the Kurdish role in bringing about political reconciliation in Iraq and they have asked the Kurdish leadership to play a more active role in this respect. [ . . . ] The American interests, in relation to the other constituents of Iraq, are under threat now.
Therefore they view the Kurds from this perspective and not from the perspective of what is happening in Kurdistan.
In other words, the Americans are not satisfied with South Kurdistan's political efforts, but on this matter they are consistent. The Americans have also rejected PKK's political efforts and ignore other political efforts in North Kurdistan. Why? Simply because the Americans prefer to turn a buck over their preference for anything else. Otherwise, why would they have gotten Lockheed Martin involved with "coordinating" the PKK for Turkey? I suspect there is something similar going on in South Kurdistan and Iraq, but instead of the American defense industry turning a buck, it's going to be the American oil pashas turning a buck. See yesterday's post for more on how that dirty business is turning out.
With the Americans, Kurds don't rate at all. See how neocon Reuel Marc Gerecht, of the Bush administration's policy-making American Enterprise Institute, characterizes Iraq:
Post-Saddam Iraq has become for us and the Iraqis an act of tenacity. It is overwhelmingly the story of one community, the Shia, endeavoring to adopt a democratic political arrangement while being bombarded by Sunni Arab insurgents and holy warriors, and dismissed as disloyal Arab Muslims by the Middle East's Sunni Arab intellectual and religious classes. The Arabic satellite channel Al Jazeera has its virtues--watching Arab religious fundamentalists and pan-Arab nationalists scream at each other is an unalloyed good in the Middle East--but its coverage and commentary on the Iraqi Shia have been on the whole disgraceful, a nonstop apologia for murderous anti-Shiite bigotry.
Funny, isn't it, how the neocons bend over backwards to defend Shi'a Islam, but have absolutely no regard for secular Kurds or a secular South Kurdistan. By the way, does anyone remember the neocons' love affair with Chalabi? Neocon Michael Ledeen was hot for Chalabi. See how neocon Gerecht proposes the problem of Baghdad be resolved:
Breaking the back of the Sunni insurgency has always meant denying the rejectionist Sunni Arab camp (possibly a pretty large slice of the city's Sunni population) any hope of dominating Baghdad and thus the country. If the Americans undertake this task, the Sunni Arab population, especially those who don't back the insurgents and the holy warriors, will sustain relatively little damage. We know how to clear Sunni neighborhoods in the capital--we've just never had the American manpower to hold what we've cleared. However, if the Shiites end up doing this (and it will be the Shiite militias that do it, not the Iraqi army, which would likely fall apart pretty quickly once U.S. military forces started withdrawing from the capital), the Sunni Arab population of Baghdad is going to get pulverized. The Sunni and Shiite migration we've so far seen from Baghdad is just a trickle compared with the exodus when these two communities battle en masse for the city and the country's new identity.
Did you see the word "Kurd" in there? How about the word "pêşmerge"? No, neither did I. In fact, according to Neocon Gerecht, only the Shi'a militas are going to take care of the problem. Yet we already know that Kurdish pêşmerge will be going to Baghdad to help "break[ ] the back of the Sunni insurgency" but this neocon makes no mention of it. Why is that? Hold on to your seats--it gets even better:
If we leave Iraq any time soon, the battle for Baghdad will probably lead to a conflagration that consumes all of Arab Iraq, and quite possibly Kurdistan, too. Once the Shia become both badly bloodied and victorious, raw nationalist and religious passions will grow. A horrific fight with the Sunni Arabs will inevitably draw in support from the ferociously anti-Shiite Sunni religious establishments in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and on the Shiite side from Iran. It will probably destroy most of central Iraq and whet the appetite of Shiite Arab warlords, who will by then dominate their community, for a conflict with the Kurds. If the Americans stabilize Arab Iraq, which means occupying the Sunni triangle, this won't happen.
Since when have the neocons ever given a damn about Kurds? These are the same people who, through silence and weapons sales, support Turkey and all its atrocities against Kurds. I mean, when have you ever heard of someone like Gerecht or Rubin write a single word about Turkey's genocide of Kurds? These were the same people who remained silent while their government approved of Saddam's use of chemicals against Kurds. Who was it that worked to get justice for Kurds in that situation? It was Peter Galbraith. But these neocons, they can never be trusted. Never. You have been warned.
Let's not forget that the neocons are the same people who are going to lead the cheerleading squad for Turkey when it invades South Kurdistan in the spring . . . while the pêşmerge are in Baghdad defending the neocons' Shi'a government.
In other news, charges have been dropped against Saddam Hussein for his guilt in the Anfal Campaign, thus relieving his memory of the burden of having murdered 182,000 Kurds. This also, conveniently, removes the same burden from all of those "civilized" nations who were involved with the murders, as I said over a week ago, just a few hours before the Sadr government made the bastard from Tikrit swing.
That was just the first order of business as the Anfal trial resumed today, while during the trial, the tapes of chemical weapons use against Kurds was heard. Naturally, Reuters provided a sanitized version of Chemical Ali's words:
Saddam Hussein and his cousin "Chemical Ali" discussed how chemical weapons would exterminate thousands before unleashing them on Kurds in 1988, according to tapes played on Monday in a trial of former Iraqi officials.
"I will strike them with chemical weapons and kill them all and damn anyone who is going to say anything," a voice identified by prosecutors as "Chemical Ali" Hassan al-Majeed is heard saying.
Let's recall what he really said, from Human Rights Watch:
I will kill them all with chemical weapons! Who is going to say anything? The international community? Fuck them! The international community and those who listen to them.
What else did Chemical Ali have to say, in reminiscing about Anfal?
… So we started to show these senior commanders on TV that [the saboteurs] had surrendered. Am I supposed to keep them in good shape? What am I supposed to do with them, these goats? Then a message reaches me from that great man, the father [i.e. Saddam Hussein], saying take good care of the families of the saboteurs and this and that. The general command brings it to me. I put his message to my head. [The sense conveyed in the Arabic phrase is that Saddam Hussein's wish is always al-Majid's command--but not, he goes on to say defensively, in this instance.]
But take good care of them? No, I will bury them with bulldozers. Then they ask me for the names of all the prisoners in order to publish them. I said, "Weren't you satisfied by what you saw on television and read in the newspaper?" Where am I supposed to put all this enormous number of people? I started to distribute them among the governorates. I had to send bulldozers hither and thither… [ The tape is cut off in mid-sentence at this point.]
Where are all those now who were shrieking with glee over a week ago when Saddam was hanged for the murder of of a mere 148 Shi'a?
Imagine, if these Kurds, of whom Chemical Ali speaks, or those suffering Turkish brutality in the North, had been Jews . . .