Kurds in the way
While most eyes are fixed on the presidential race to the top and Wall Street's race to the bottom, Iraq continues to simmer. The longer it cooks, the more bitter.
Yes, suicide bombing is down, but political tension is way, way up, and the violence is far from over. But why? Why such a logjam over the fragile Iraq puppet government and its legislative agenda? Why is the U.S. playing such hardball on this?
It's the Kurds, fouling the peace formula. But can you blame them?
One of the best recent stories comes from Sam Dagher in the New York Times:
For the best background, see the latest International Crisis Group report, "Oil for Soil: Toward a Grand Bargain on Iraq and the Kurds":
Remember when the Bush regime early on in the Iraq Debacle declared that the Kurds were wonderful because northern Iraq was relatively peaceful? Our soldiers took R&R in their swimming pools, and Kirkuk was a lot more peaceful than anywhere else in Iraq.
But it's been three years since we wore out our welcome up there in northern Iraq.
The Kurds, whose population sprawls across several countries (see map above), continue to be extremely pissed off about not having their own nation and are clinging to their de facto control of northern Iraq. In the fragile thing that is Iraq's government, the Kurds hold the cards and a sizable amount of oil, and they are a tough sell because of their years of struggle against Saddam, the Turks, the Iranians, and everybody else. The ICG report paints an ominous picture:
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