Thursday, August 02, 2007

US Foreign Policy on Kurdistan Alienates Kurds and Provokes Regional Conflagration - By Martin Zehr

The recent exposure of US aid to the Turkish military against the PKK in southern Kurdistan by Robert Novak and the attempts by the Baghdad government to circumvent Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution is creating a scenario with profound ramifications to the region. There is apparently a profound callousness by the US government regarding the aspirations of the Kurdish people and nation that has resulted in an attempt to placate the Turkish military rather than clearly defining boundaries for Turkish military operations that are unequivocal and inviolable. In an interview, Massoud Barzani, President of the Kurdish Autonomous Region, has stated his profound concern regarding the actions of the Baghdad Government to undermine the guarantee for the Kirkuk Referendum. "The Kurds will never relinquish or bargain over Kirkuk , but we accepted to regain Kirkuk through constitutional and legal methods. But if we despair of those constitutional and legal methods, then we will have the right to resort to other means," Barzani warned.

The recent alignment of the US government in opposition to the Kurdish nation has become more evident in recent articles from neo-cons and administration spokespersons. The response from President Barzani is a singular notification to the US government of the intentions of the Kurdish Regional Government and the armed forces under its control. It also is a warning to Turkey and the current Iraqi government of the position of Kurdish peoples. There is nothing in this interview that might be misconstrued.

The Kurdish question has too long been treated as a subsidiary of the US occupation of Iraq . The fact is that there is NO occupation of Kurdistan . The fact is that the Kurdish people have demonstrated in two referenda their support for independence. The fact is that the Kirkuk Referendum has been established as a democratic means of determining the destiny of Kirkuk under Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution.

There is little policy coming from the Bush administration that defines its policy towards Kurdistan . But recently, policy analysts at the Middle East Forum and the Jamestown Foundation have increasingly taken positions that are aligned with Turkish military maneuvers in the region. This represents a development that would engage the newly reorganized armed forces of the Kurdish Autonomous Region, the Kurdistan Region Guard Forces. The effort to dissuade and challenge the Baghdad government from enforcing Article 140 is risky and threatens the recognition of the Kurdish nation. The failure of the current administration and the Democratic opposition to detail the policy has created a dangerous scenario.

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