Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Sometimes you wonder exactly where defenders of Dubya's crew are getting their information. That would certainly be the case with William Safire's column this morning. He actually says Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani is opposing the introduction troops only because unspecified "Iraqi Arabs [are] using ... Barzani as their wedge to evoke faded memories of the Ottoman Empire and to look the Turkish gift horse in the mouth."

Safire neglects the possibility that the Kurds might have their own reasons for opposing the introduction of Turkish troops... like, oh, say, several years' worth of Turkish raids on their territory, bombing of their villages, and so forth. The Turks describe these as hot pursuit of a guerilla force made up of oppressed Turkish Kurds, the PKK, but as you might imagine, that's pretty slim comfort to the victims even when it's true, which has certainly been debatable. And it's no secret that the Turkish government was seeking control of what Kurds consider their territory, including in particular the oilfields around Kirkkuk, as a payoff for combat support in what tbogg calls Operation Inigo Montoya, before those negotiations broke down.

So, the suggestion that an Iraqi Kurd would need motivation from anyone else to oppose the introduction of Turkish troops is laughable. In fact, I can't recall a similar demonstration of blank ignorance of the Iraqi ethnic mix since Paul Wolfowitz claimed that "there was no history of ethnic strife in Iraq, as there was in Bosnia or Kosovo." Which brings us back to the question of where the well-connected Safire is getting his information. Is it possible that "Wolfowitz of Arabia" is still so utterly clueless?

Which is not to say that Iraqi Arabs support the introduction of Turkish troops, as Riverbend, one of their number, explains in her usual lucid style...

BTW, an embarassing and obvious typo ("Kurdish" for "Turkish") has been corrected here...


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