Kurds in Iraq…

a state with a bloody his­tory

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Saadula Aqrawi

The Kurds will not give up the gains they have made in the Iraqi Kur­dis­tan. The chal­lenge for the U.S. pol­icy is dif­fi­cult and com­plex to­wards Iraq and the Kurds. The war has cost Iraqi a lot in lives and ma­te­ri­als. It is be­lieved that mil­lions of Iraqi soldiers with an equiv­a­lent num­ber of civil­ians to have died, with many more in­jured. The wars brought nei­ther restora­tions nor changes in the borders.

The U.S. pol­icy and the in­ter­est of the Kurds in a fu­ture Iraq must con­verge. The Kurds want free­dom, ba­sic hu­man rights, and so­cial equal­ity. The Kurds are will­ing to live in a federal Iraq. The con­flicts have been com­pared to wars in the his­tory in terms of the tac­tics used, in­clud­ing large scale trench war­fare with barbed wire stretched across trenches, manned ma­chine-gun posts, bay­o­net charges, hu­man wave at­tacks across a no-man>s land, and ex­ten­sive use of chemical weapons such as mus­tard gas by the Iraqi govern­ment against the civil­ians Kurds.

At the time of the con­flicts, the chemical weapons had been used in the Iraqi wars. And the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity re­mained silent as Iraq used weapons of mass de­struc­tion against the Iraqi Kurds. The U.S. pol­icy should stay the course to­ward fed­er­al­ist gov­er­nance for Iraq, but the U.S. pol­icy must be con­sis­tent with ac­tual events on the ground too.

Given politi­cians such author­i­tar­ian rep­u­ta­tions for serv­ing oth­ers within the po­lit­i­cal elite, vot­ers in the newly gained democ­racy would ex­pect that the win­ner of the first elec­tion for con­trol of the na­tional govern­ment will use power only for per­sonal ben­e­fit and to ben­e­fit the in­ner cir­cle of the ac­tive sup­port­ers.

This pol­icy needs to ad­here to Iraqi self de­ter­mi­na­tion and rely more on coun­tries in the re­gion, like the Arab League or Turkey to present so­lu­tions for Iraq. Pol­i­cy­mak­ers need to push for a com­pro­mise on the sta­tus of Kirkuk. A spe­cial regime to gov­ern Kirkuk is one so­lu­tion that may be ac­cept­able to all con­cerned. Kirkuk could be­come the de­ci­sive point for the fu­ture of a uni­fied Iraq or a breakup into three sep­a­rate en­ti­ties. U.S. pol­icy must plan for the pos­si­bil­ity that a fed­er­al­ist form of govern­ment may fail and that the Kurds may sep­a­rate from Iraq.

The key to suc­cess for the U.S. will be its abil­ity to main­tain sta­bil­ity in the re­gion and not aban­don the Kurds again. The U.S. should pro­vide in­cen­tives for the Kurds to re­main as part of Iraq. If a uni­fied Iraq be­comes unattain­able the U.S. must as­sist the Iraqis to man­age such a tran­si­tion peace­fully.

The U.S. pol­icy needs to stay on course to en­sure suc­cess­ful de­cen­tral­ized gov­er­nance in Iraq, while plan­ning for the pos­si­ble con­se­quences if the Kurds or Shi­ites de­clare in­de­pen­dence in the fu­ture. Vot­ers are un­likely to sup­port demo­cratic chal­lengers to the rul­ing party, and they might see enough rea­son to protest if the govern­ment sup­pressed its po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion.

The re­cently re­leased Na­tional Strat­egy for Vic­tory in Iraq states as one of the core as­sump­tions that fed­er­al­ism is not a pre­cur­sor to the breakup of Iraq but that it al­lows a strong cen­tral govern­ment to ex­er­cise the pow­ers of a sov­er­eign state, while en­abling re­gional bod­ies to make de­ci­sions that pro­tect the in­ter­ests of lo­cal the pop­u­la­tions. The chal­lenge lies in the di­vi­sion of pow­ers given to the cen­tral govern­ment and the re­gional gov­ern­ments as well.

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