Friday, October 19, 2007

Kurdistan Reaches a Decision Point

The Kurdish region of northern Iraq is the greatest success in the ongoing positive transformation of Iraq away from dictatorial tyranny. The region, however, harbors a Kurdish separatist group known as Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) whose presence is a barrier to the progress. Their use of terrorist tactics in neighboring Turkey has our NATO ally ready to send military troops across the border in retaliation.

Talabani to PKK: Era of Che Guevaras over: Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, said in remarks published yesterday that the PKK should leave northern Iraq and join the political process in Turkey. "The PKK should now understand that the world has changed and that the era of Che Guevaras is over,"

Incursion may ravage Southeast’s economy: As the Turkish Parliament passed a motion this week granting permission to the government to send the military into northern Iraq to crush bases of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the business world has been considering the economic consequences of a possible military incursion into northern Iraq, where Turkish construction companies have realized $2.5 billion worth of business in the past two-and-a-half years.

EU says ‘terrorists,’ European press says ‘freedom fighters’: It has been a long time since the European Union officially designated the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as a terrorist organization, but the European press is still hesitant to attach the “terrorist organization” label to the PKK.

US Foreign Policy Blogger Pundita reflects on the tensions in terms of their effects on the larger United States goal of creating a peaceful civilian controlled society in Iraq.

No to mission drift: Keep your eye on the ball. Whether in Burma or Iraq's Kurdish north, the US must walk a fine line when pushing the American model of democratization, else we stumble into the George Soros model for dealing with threats to globalization: balkanization, whereby the world is chopped into so many small antagonistic territories that transnational investors and companies don't have to deal with powerful national governments. The Soros model leads the world straight back to tribalism.

No matter how good an ally the Kurds, they must remember that it was the US, not they, who toppled Saddam's regime. … Iraq's Kurd government in Iraq needs to accept that they are Kurds second and Iraqis first. The US has no place pandering to tribalism anywhere in the world, but especially in Iraq.

The last thing we need at this moment is for a slowing of vital supplies due to a war breaking out between Iraq's Kurds and Turkey. Tehran would not hesitate to capitalize on the chaos by making a huge amount of trouble in Iraq's south, thereby catching the US military's supply lines in a pincer movement.

Progress crosses one bridge at a time and this bridge is next up on the journey.