Kur­dish leader cites ‘new re­al­ity’ in Iraq

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

IR­BIL, Iraq (AP) — Iraq’s top Kur­dish leader warned vis­it­ing Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry on Tues­day that a rapid Sunni in­sur­gent ad­vance has al­ready cre­ated “a new re­al­ity and a new Iraq,” sig­nal­ing that the U.S. faces ma­jor dif­fi­cul­ties in its ef­forts to pro­mote unity among the coun­try’s di­vided fac­tions.

The U.N., mean­while, said more than 1,000 people, most civil­ians, have been killed in Iraq so far this month, the high­est death toll since the U.S. mil­i­tary with­drew from the coun­try in De­cem­ber 2011.

Mas­soud Barzani, whose pow­er­ful mi­nor­ity bloc has long func­tioned as king­maker in Iraqi pol­i­tics, did not di­rectly men­tion Prime Min­is­ter Nouri al-Ma­liki, who is fac­ing the strong­est chal­lenge to his rule since he as­sumed power in 2006. But al-Ma­liki has made lit­tle ef­fort be­yond rhetoric to win the trust of his crit­ics, who are led by dis­af­fected Sun­nis, Kurds and even sev­eral for­mer Shi­ite al­lies.

In­stead the Kurds have de­ployed their own well-trained se­cu­rity forces known as pesh­merga and seized long-cov­eted ground of their own in the name of de­fend­ing it from the al-Qaida break­away group and other Sunni in­sur­gents who have swept through the north. The Kurds are un­likely to give up that ter­ri­tory, in­clud­ing the dis­puted oil-rich city of Kirkuk, re­gard­less of the sta­tus of the fight­ing.

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