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Martin Zehr
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As the significance of the latest results of the Iraqi elections sink in, it is becoming clearer that political leadership in southern Kurdistan is posed with a new scenario for the future. Americans do see the elections but the significance of them is lost in the rhetoric of the Obama administration. There is just beginning to be discussion on TV "talking heads shows about the Kurdish "sectarian" forces. Of course when cloaked in such language, this perspective obscures the truly national character of Kurdish political demands whether in Iraq, Turkey, Syria or Iran.

The headlines about Turkish troop deployments and attacks on the northern border of Iraq have disappeared. The implementation of Article 140 periodically pops up in American media. But these articles remain focused on oil revenues in Kirkuk as the fundamental issue. They continue to take a hard look at the underlying motives of Shi'a, Sunni and Turkoman political forces. The issue of corruption in southern Kurdistan is presented in a context that lacks comparisons with other regions. News from Turkey is heavily filtered and presented as if the Turkish government and military has made significant moves towards reconciliation. Most Americans are unaware of recent attacks by the Turkish armed forces or the sentencing by the Turkish court in Northern Kurdistan city of Diyarbakir of former MP Leyla Zana to three years in prison. The status of the deployments of 140,000Turkish troops along the border and news of current authorization by the Turkish Parliament cannot be found in the American news of the last year.

The White House statement of the meeting between KRG President Barzani and U.S. President Obama in January 2010 stated: "In his discussion with President Barzani, President Obama reaffirmed strong U.S. support for and engagement with a secure, prosperous, and autonomous Kurdistan Region within a united, federal Iraq, and lauded the contribution of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to Iraq's development." President Barzani also met separately with Vice-President Biden, as well as other meetings with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman and John Kerry. The actions of the American government in the days ahead will need to be weighed separately from their rhetoric.

Article 140 has not been implemented. There is a fait accompli that has resulted because of the refusal to hold the Kirkuk Referendum which will stand, but only until the American military presence has been withdrawn. The consequences for inaction are that the issue will never be authorized by the central government in Baghdad. The Turkish military will remain a factor in the future. The U.S. trained Iraqi Army will be the defenders of the status quo after the U.S. military withdraws from Iraq. This is obvious to everyone. Turkish troops continue to pose a threat to self-government by the Kurdish Autonomous Region. "With Allawi gearing up to form his new coalition members, our officials and representatives should take a more rigid position to seek a lasting ultimatum to the issue peacefully and multilaterally. We must come up with a robust, transparent, consistent, persistent, shrewd strategy before it is too late. We have lost scores of leeway in the past and we can not afford to squander any more time." Baqi Barzani

The situation within Iraq is bound to the issue of recognition of Article 140 of the Constitution. The acceptance by the Kurdish people of the Constitution was irrevocably bound to the implementation of the Kirkuk Referendum. The acceptance of Kurdish people of a common government within Iraq cannot be negated without the most profound ramifications. "As a final point, the only present and future crisis imperiling to destabilize the economic, political and security situation of Iraq is the issue of Kirkuk. Hopefully, the United States will seek a long-lasting solution to address the issue before a new high-priced, irrevocable ethnic war kicks off, undoing every previous sacrifices." Baqi Barzani

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I am a Green Party member who lives in San Francisco. I have been active in water planning in the Middle Rio Grande region of New Mexico. I write political articles on the need for third parties, the contemporary failures of public education, the (more...)
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