Saturday, August 25, 2007

Iraq's three-region solution Petition

To: Honorable President Bush
George W. Bush, U.S. President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
NW Washington, DC 20500

Honorable President Bush:

Soon after America went to war, Saddam’s regime was toppled and institutional tyranny was buried in Iraq. Americans were overjoyed by returning freedom to the oppressed Iraqis. America told them it would make their country the beacon of democracy for the larger Middle East. We know changing from democracy to dictatorship can be accomplished overnight, but to move from dictatorship to democracy needs the patience of generations!
Mr. President, Four years of beheadings, suicide bombings, demolition of shrines, and other atrocities should be enough to make the world cognizant of the culture of hate between the Sunnis and Shiites.

Since America has the primary responsibility toward Iraq’s future it can no longer afford to continue to deny the complexity of Iraqi society: first, that there are two major ethnicities, Kurds and Arabs; and second, within the Arab community a bitter religious division exists between Sunni and Shiite factions, and third, these realities exist along with the presence of other minorities. None of these have been taught the initial alphabet of democracy. They either are the oppressor or are being oppressed.

If America abandons its quest to re-establish Baghdad as the strong capital of Iraq and works with the realities on the ground, then other options are easier. Iraq is already a divided society. It no longer makes sense to refuse to honor the all too-evident wishes of the majority of Iraqi people to no longer be yoked together in a state that was initially configured by failed British policy for its colonial interests. Break the country into three autonomous regions and let each respective community take full responsibility for the security of its region. It can be done. Kurdistan is a living example. We must remind ourselves if in the past the Iraqi territorial integrity had been kept together it was done with an iron fist, but the truth of the matter is that its society had never been unified like societies of other nations. Why should we deny that and continue to hope in vain?

The plight of America’s military in Iraq has lessened America’s influence at the global level. And America’s enemies in the region such as Iran and Syria are celebrating the White House’s predicament in Iraq; because, it has given them a free hand to contribute more to Iraq’s chaotic situation without even being slapped on that hand. At the same time Iran has been successfully indirectly fighting America on two other fronts --in Afghanistan and Lebanon, and not very concerned about what America has to say regarding its nuclear ambitions. It does not matter how many rounds of negotiations America sits in with the Iranians and discuss Iraq, they won’t play the role of honest broker in helping America bring the dire situation in Iraq to an end. This is because a barely controlled chaotic Iraq works better for Iranian interests than having a democratic Iraq. Therefore, America should not be optimistic for a viable solution through Iranian mullahs. Instead, America can devise a workable solution for Iraq by dividing it into three regions in order to focus on troublesome areas such as Iran, Lebanon and elsewhere.
The three-region solution can provide a graceful exit, and will give peace and democracy to the peaceful majority of Iraqis. It is still not too late to turn the course of the war around and let the Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis be their own palace guards under a flexible federal government in Baghdad. This is a proper way to implant the seeds of democracy in this turbulent country. It could be the preferred way for America to leave Iraq with her head held high. It is still not too late to do that.


The Undersigned

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.