The article "Kurds' Power Wanes as Arab Anger Rises" at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/01/world/middleeast/01kurds.html?_r=1&ref=world&oref=slogin
details the Kurds dilemma. "As a minority group in Iraq, the Kurds have enjoyed disproportionate influence in the country's politics since the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003. But now their leverage appears to be declining as tensions rise with Iraqi Arabs, raising the specter of another fissure alongside the sectarian divide between Sunnis and Shiites. The Kurds, who are mostly Sunni but not Arab, have steadfastly backed the government, most recently helping to keep it afloat when Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki lacked support from much of Parliament. With their political acumen, close ties to the Americans and technical competence at running government agencies, the Kurds cemented a position of enormous strength. This allowed them to all but dictate terms in Iraq's Constitution that gave them considerable regional autonomy and some significant rights in oil development. But now the Kurds are pursuing policies that are antagonizing the other factions. The Kurds' efforts to seize control of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and to gain a more advantageous division of national revenues are uniting most Sunnis and many Shiites with Mr. Maliki's government in opposition to the Kurdish demands."
W went into Iraq mumbling something about "Operation Iraqi Freedom". Big bro 43 had to know that there would be an 80% solution-favoring the Kurds and Shiites, and he had to be told that the Iraqi theatre of GWOT would further US' interests in the region. That it isn't unfolding as "For the United States, the diminution in Kurdish power is part of a larger problem of political divisiveness that has plagued its efforts to build a functioning government in Iraq. While several political parties can come together to address a particular issue, none can seem to form the lasting allegiances needed for actual governance.The Kurds, with their pro-American outlook, were a natural ally. But now the Americans are increasingly placed in the uncomfortable position of choosing between the Kurds, whom they have long supported and protected, and the Iraqi Arabs, whose government the Americans helped create. One major Shiite group, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, has not publicly taken sides, but powerful people within the party have been openly critical of the Kurds. Others expressing frustration are leading members of Parliament and Hussain al-Shahristani, the oil minister and a prominent Shiite politician, who calls Kurdish oil contracts with foreign companies illegal."
That isn't new as the article "Kurds' Power Wanes as Arab Anger Rises" continues "The Kurds have been locked for decades in a power struggle with Sunni Arabs, most recently with Mr. Hussein. That led to the Hussein government's Anfal campaign, in which about 180,000 Kurds died and 2,000 Kurdish villages were destroyed, according to Kurdish counts.The United States and its allies created a no-flight zone over the Kurdish areas after the Persian Gulf war in 1991, and the areas have since become increasingly affluent. While much of Iraq has been engulfed in violence since 2003, Kurdistan has been notably peaceful, with streams of foreign investment and a building boom in Erbil, the largest city. Against that backdrop, the Kurdish aspiration to bring more territory, including Kirkuk, into its semiautonomous region looks greedy to the Arabs."
The Kurds also have been making oil profits and not sharing them with the central government and "Parliament members are also angered that the Kurds want Baghdad to pay salaries of their militia, the pesh merga, from the Defense Ministry's budget. The pesh merga operate primarily in Kurdistan rather than serving the country as a whole. However, the Kurds contend that in the event of an invasion they would be on the front lines. Such a situation seems all too real to the Kurds, because Turkey has recently threatened to invade to rout the rebel Kurdistan Workers Party."
Now just who can W be with here? This internecine mess W has jumped into fool-heartedly, without thinking about how the US can support every part of Iraq, and our ally Turkey. This might well blow up in our faces as well as in the destruction of the Middle East. Someone should have explained to big bro 43 that if there are many unknowable variables then you can't get involved. Powell probably tried to explain the "Powell Doctrine" to big bro 43 and when he realized that W didn't understand that he told W the simple–minded "Pottery Barn" rule. We have broken it and now we are forced to pay for it!
The Kurds acknowledge that they are worried by the opposition that has developed, although they are reluctant to concede that they may have overplayed their hand. "It is necessary to keep such feelings to a minimum," Mr. Shawees said. "We have to work in different respects to show that the Kurdish region doesn't just make demands and take things, but that the region is an example for all regions and it can benefit all Iraq."
For now, however, the budget has yet to be approved, the oil law and revenue sharing laws are in limbo, and there is a new and visible fault line on the Iraqi political scene."
This isn't even the worst set of atrocities in Iraq. The article "After Months of Relative Calm, 2 Deadly Blasts Rock Baghdad" at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/01/AR2008020100278.html
"On Friday morning, as the woman wearing the black cloak over an explosive vest stalked into the market, he had already chosen a new pair of lovebirds to add to his collection at home. At 10:50 a.m., the bombing blasted away the morning calm, killing and wounding dozens of people. About 10 minutes earlier, less than five miles away, the same grim scene had just occurred: a female bomber, a pet market, and an explosion that marred the sense of cautious hope that has returned to much of Baghdad. The two bombings killed 58 people, according to Iraqi police, and wounded more than 170 others.
Maj. Gen. Abdul Kareem Khalaf, the Interior Ministry spokesman, said he believed the bombings were a coordinated effort by the Sunni insurgent group
al-Qaeda in Iraq. Khalaf said witnesses and police reported that the two women were mentally disabled, but U.S. military officials said they knew of no evidence to support such a claim. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki condemned the bombings in a statement. "The ugliness of this crime will not weaken the resolve of our armed forces and it will raise up our determination to deliver security," Maliki said." Why is it called "a coordinated effort by the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq"?
You'd have to guess probably because only al-Qaeda in Iraq do this mass killing of all sects simultaneously. The Shiites "death squads" usually get Sunnis only whose tattered remains are found in the early morning after a quiet nighttime mass killing. We've seen how Petraeus labels one set of mayhem as being items that the US must deal with and another as a mere sectarian violence occurrence. Killing within the same sect, as long as it is Shiites, is not a US concern. How pandemonium is labeled supports the 80% solution which allows genocide of the Sunnis. This atrocity yesterday wasn't an example of "the surge" working though was it? It is hard to discern what the truth is anymore. Anyway, the Afghanistan theatre of GWOT is another example of "Mission Accomplished" which of course is anything but!
W has pissed all of that million pumping up Musharraf and he, like Iraq's al-Maliki, isn't the right person. The article "Drawn and Quartered" at
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/01/opinion/01harrison.html?ref=todayspaper states: "WHATEVER the outcome of the Pakistani elections, now scheduled for Feb. 18, the existing multiethnic Pakistani state is not likely to survive for long unless it is radically restructured. Given enough American pressure, a loosely united, confederated Pakistan could still be preserved by reinstating and liberalizing the defunct 1973 Constitution, which has been shelved by successive military rulers. But as matters stand, the Punjabi-dominated regime of Pervez Musharraf is headed for a bloody confrontation with the country's Pashtun, Baluch and Sindhi minorities that could well lead to the breakup of Pakistan into three sovereign entities. In that event, the Pashtuns, concentrated in the northwestern tribal areas, would join with their ethnic brethren across the Afghan border (some 40 million of them combined) to form an independent "Pashtunistan." That wouldn't foster US' interests. That would mean that the guy W would "capture dead or alive" would have a free base plus closer proximity to nuclear "WMD".
It wouldn't be same group that currently possesses them as "Pakistan" would then be a nuclear-armed Punjabi rump state. In historical context, such a breakup would not be surprising. There had never been a national entity encompassing the areas now constituting Pakistan, an ethnic mélange thrown together hastily by the British for strategic reasons when they partitioned the subcontinent in 1947. It is often argued that the United States must stand by Mr. Musharraf and a unitary Pakistani state to safeguard Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. But the nuclear safeguards depend on the Pakistani Army as an institution, not on the president.
Even the relatively good news that we killed a senior Al Qaeda members isn't all it seems as our doing so is not good for Musharraf. It makes him look like a puppet for the US.
The article "Senior Qaeda Commander Is Killed by U.S. Missile" athttp://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/01/world/asia/01qaeda.html?ref=world
"An American missile strike in Pakistan's northwestern tribal areas killed a senior commander of Al Qaeda who had been involved in planning attacks on United States and NATO troops in Afghanistan, American officials said Thursday.The commander, Abu Laith al-Libi, a Libyan who was about 40 years old, was alongtime lieutenant of Osama bin Laden, the American officials said. He played a pivotal role in recruiting and training operatives in the mountainous tribal
areas of western Pakistan, they said. Al Qaeda has built makeshift compounds where both Pakistani militants and foreign fighters conduct training and
planning for terrorist attacks."
That is a great "Mission Accomplished" isn't it? Not really, as "Mr. Musharraf rebuffed proposals to expand any American combat presence in Pakistan. Instead, Pakistan and the United States agreed to consider a series of other joint efforts, including increasing the number and scope of missions by remotely piloted Predator aircraft over the tribal areas."