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Thread: Kurdish-Arab Conflict in Iraq

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    Kurdish-Arab Conflict in Iraq

    Worries about a Kurdish-Arab Conflict move to Fore in Iraq

    QARAQOSH, Iraq -- Louis Khno is a city councilman whose city is beyond his control. In his barricaded streets are militiamen -- in baseball caps and jeans, wielding Kalashnikov rifles, with the safeties switched off. They answer to someone else. Leaders of his police force give their loyalty to their ethnic brethren -- be they Kurd or Arab. Clergy in the town pledge themselves to the former. Khno and his colleagues to the latter.

    Khno called the town "the line of engagement," one stop along an amorphous frontier in northern Iraq shaped by contested history, geography and authority. Dividing the Kurdish autonomous region from the rest of the country, that frontier represents the most combustible fault line in Iraq today, where Arab and Kurd forces may have come to blows last month along hills of harvested wheat. Kurdish officials suggest that another confrontation is inevitable, with halfhearted negotiations already stalled, and U.S. officials acknowledge that only their intervention has prevented bloodshed.
    "The Kurds are most dangerous because they live among us as Iraqi citizens," declared Raad al-Alwani, a blunt-speaking sheik in Ramadi whose fondness for scotch competes with his affection for two $20,000 falcons tethered in his front yard. "They should remember that someday there will be a strong government in Baghdad again."

    "In the old days, one policeman would have kicked all the Kurds out," added his cousin, Khalid Abdullah al-Fahad, dragging on a cigarette and sipping tea.

    Another cousin, Skander Hussein Mohammed, chimed in.

    "Our children will kick them out if we can't," he vowed.
    "We have an order from the state," said Ghadeer Salem, one of the commanders.

    Baghdad? he was asked.

    "No," he replied. "Kurdistan."
    So even though political reconciliation between Shi'ites and Sunnis seems to be becoming a reality, the situation with the Kurds and Christians and their semi-autonomous state operating within a strong central Iraqi government, is much more tenuous.

    In these images, I noticed Kurdish militias train and operate to a Kurdish flag... Not an Iraqi one.






    This picture was purportedly taken in Mosul.
    Last edited by Tubub; 07-28-09 at 05:08 PM.
    “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure...than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
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    Re: Kurdish-Arab Conflict in Iraq

    Quote Originally Posted by Tubub View Post
    So even though political reconciliation between Shi'ites and Sunnis seems to be becoming a reality, the situation with the Kurds and Christians and their semi-autonomous state operating within a strong central Iraqi government, is much more tenuous.
    I would strongly disagree that the situation has improved between Sunnis and Shi'ites, or any group for that matter. The military prepared an estimation prior to the war that was ignored that specifically stated what is in fact happening now. Parties are not formed by any ideology, but all together through the prism of religious/ethnic sect. Secular Sunnis are not embracing Shi'ite secularists, nor have Kurdish Socialists, secularists, etc.. gained any traction with other groups. We may leave in 2011 only to see full scale civil war in 2015 similar to Lebanon or Yugoslavia. As for Christians, they have fled in masse and at the point there is no indication of any return in the future. What we are doing is crossing our fingers, hoping to get the hell out as soon as possible, only so that WHEN, not IF, tensions flare we can remain blameless. This is in no way a suggestion that we should not leave, in fact we should just leave now. We can simply not fix the history of state creation done decades ago that was flawed to begin with. Iraq, much like any other nation there is not the natural outgrowth of nation state evolution.

    We can not stay, but should anticipate a return as a very real possibility.

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    Re: Kurdish-Arab Conflict in Iraq

    We should have just installed a Kurdish Goverment and have them rule Iraq.


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    Re: Kurdish-Arab Conflict in Iraq

    Quote Originally Posted by sam_w View Post
    I would strongly disagree that the situation has improved between Sunnis and Shi'ites, or any group for that matter.
    Let me start by suggesting you seperate your text when it's this long in order to make it more readable.

    Now, the fact of the matter is that reconciliation is an ongoing event... But ever since the Anbar Awakening groups turned on AQ, impetus has been on the side of the Iraqi government and the Sunni Clergy in reconciling the two religious sects.

    Anbar Awakening
    The alliance and allegiance of tribal leaders, both Sunni and Shi‘a throughout Iraq, is tenuous but remarkably effective at reducing violence. Although it remains to be seen whether these tribal militias can be successfully converted to state-run security forces or a civilian sector job force, the hard earned lessons from both sides on how to form an alliance to reduce violence and root out destabilizing extremists certainly merit closer examination.
    Maliki's Reconciliation Plan
    Prime Minister Maliki’s reconciliation plan seeks to reduce insurgent attacks through political dialogue, confidence-building measures, and limited amnesty for “lesser offenses,” which could include minor acts of sabotage or participating in Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party.
    Political Reconciliation in Iraq
    Political reconciliation is not something that will happen over night. There is an assumption (from both sides of the aisle) that all that needs to happen for long lasting peace is for Iraqis to be locked into a room (or an airport hanger ala Dayton) and work out their various issues and presto: peace. To some extent locking everyone in the room and reaching broad agreement is a good start. But the details of such a catch-all agreement have to be filled in and the agreement itself has to be implemented. The problem is that when you unlock the door and let those political leaders return home, they have to be able to sell the agreement that was just signed. If the appetite for reconciliation among their supporters is not there, then the agreement - and therefore efforts to reconcile - will likely collapse. After all it is pretty hard to kiss and make up with the people who may have killed someone in your family. This is why these types of conflict are fairly intractable. In Bosnia the Dayton agreement stuck and was ultimately successful not because Serbs, Croats, and Bosniaks loved it, but because we then proceeded to occupy the country until it became accepted. We can't do that now.

    3. In Iraq, political reconciliation will have to be largely self-reinforcing, as it is in Northern Ireland. Peace in Iraq will require gradually building trust and confidence across sectarian lines at all level. There is no military solution to building trust. Less violence helps, but even if people feel more secure or safe in their neighborhoods that does not mean that they will have any more trust in the intentions of their Sunni or Shia neighbors or politicians. Addressing this takes a long long long time and lots and lots of talks between political leaders and the process set up with Helsinki is an important first step. This process has to ramp up as troops begin to withdrawal. Additionally, part of a withdrawal strategy has to attempt to get the countries in the region to play a constructive role in supporting political reconciliation. The panelists noted that in Northern Ireland an essential step was the improvement in relations between The British and Irish governments. Similarly, the Annapolis process is an effort to get the entire region to work toward resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. No long term stability can occur in Iraq without broad based support of its neighbors. This means for long term peace the most powerful country in Iraq - Iran - must play a constructive role.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam_w
    The military prepared an estimation prior to the war that was ignored that specifically stated what is in fact happening now. Parties are not formed by any ideology, but all together through the prism of religious/ethnic sect.
    What military estimation was this? I have never, ever heard of such. And parties are divided on many lines, though religious ones have been declining since the first Iraqi election, when virtually all the parties were based on religious and ethnic affiliation.

    Change popular slogan in Iraq Provincial Elections
    Iraqis apparently looked past sectarianism and tribal concerns for candidates who could deliver. Voters inKarbala, a central-Iraq province that contains the holy city of the same name, bucked the pro-Maliki trend, relegating the Maliki list to third place. They instead elected the slate led by Yusuf Magid al-Haboobi, reputedly a former Baathist. Haboobi has little renown nationally, but is known as an effective mayor of small towns in the area. The current provincial government, meanwhile, is in Dawa hands and is accused of incompetence and corruption. The conclusion: a record of ability to provide basic services trumped party labels.
    This is extraordinary for Iraq," says the Western adviser. "They're setting a new paradigm and have turned some huge corners. This confirms that the war ended in December and Iraq's new era began the first of January, and that it is happily charting a new democratic course." For Dr. Tahseen Sheikhly, spokesman for the Baghdad security plan, the fact that no party or coalition won by huge numbers—the highest percentage the Maliki alliance won was 38 percent, in Baghdad—suggests no one party will dominate the provincial councils. "Power will be balanced," he tells NEWSWEEK.
    Quote Originally Posted by sam_w
    Secular Sunnis are not embracing Shi'ite secularists, nor have Kurdish Socialists, secularists, etc.. gained any traction with other groups. We may leave in 2011 only to see full scale civil war in 2015 similar to Lebanon or Yugoslavia.
    You have not provided any evidence to indicate that as a reuslt except saying "may"... We may also leave a peaceful and restive Iraq that has reconcilied its various differences. Do you see why you must provide evidence for your claims or they are just completely empty?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam_w
    As for Christians, they have fled in masse and at the point there is no indication of any return in the future.
    Another empty claim. There are still thousands of Christians in Iraq... Many people left the country during the war, Christians were certainly not exempt, but neither was any other group.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam_w
    What we are doing is crossing our fingers, hoping to get the hell out as soon as possible, only so that WHEN, not IF, tensions flare we can remain blameless.
    That's simply not true.

    Obama calls for reconciliaion in Iraq
    Coming to agreements on contentious issues is essential to a unified Iraq and its stability in the future as US forces increasingly turn responsibility for security over to the Iraqis, Obama said.

    "Iraq will be more secure and more successful if there is a place for all Iraqi citizens to thrive, including all of Iraq's ethnic and religious groups," Obama said.
    Biden urges political reconciliation in Iraq
    But Mr Biden's visit was also an attempt to foster reconciliation between the various ethnic and religious groups in Iraq, in preparation for the full-scale departure of American troops by 2011.
    Iraq tells Biden reconciliation is an internal affair
    Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki, a Shiite, launched his initiative of reconciliation shortly after he formed his cabinet in May 2006, but he has been criticized for failing to do enough to make use of security gains to achieve progress in overcoming differences between Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and other factions.

    Biden met with Maliki on Friday and warned him that although the US maintaining about 130,000 troops in Iraq, the time is running out and he (Maliki) has to move faster on national reconciliation efforts as the deadline for the departure of US combat troops is approaching.

    After hours of closed-door meetings Friday, Biden made it clear to Iraqi leaders that his country would be unlikely to remain engaged in Iraq if the country reverted to sectarian violence, urging the Iraqis to rapidly make use of the political process to resolve their remaining differences.

    Nevertheless, Biden told Iraqi leaders that he and US President Barack Obama are standing ready to help the political process in Iraq.

    "The United States will continue to support the government of national unity and assist Iraq in the United Nations to get out of Chapter VII," Biden said, referring to UN sanctions imposed during Saddam Hussein's regime which was toppled in the 2003 invasion.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam_w
    This is in no way a suggestion that we should not leave, in fact we should just leave now. We can simply not fix the history of state creation done decades ago that was flawed to begin with. Iraq, much like any other nation there is not the natural outgrowth of nation state evolution.

    We can not stay, but should anticipate a return as a very real possibility.
    Did you even read the article? The men talking gleefully of a strong Baghdad government were Sunnis. The government is currently Shi'ite run, but Maliki has done well forming his image as an Iraqi nationalist and country unifier.

    You didn't really make a suggestion at all except displayed an array of empty, insubstantiated claims.
    Last edited by Tubub; 07-28-09 at 06:39 PM.
    “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure...than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
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    Re: Kurdish-Arab Conflict in Iraq

    Quote Originally Posted by OxymoronP View Post
    We should have just installed a Kurdish Goverment and have them rule Iraq.
    That's Paul Bremer's thinking. Not the right way of looking at it... Democracy is about reconciliation and coercion, not subjegation.
    “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure...than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
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    Re: Kurdish-Arab Conflict in Iraq

    Quote Originally Posted by Tubub View Post
    That's Paul Bremer's thinking. Not the right way of looking at it... Democracy is about reconciliation and coercion, not subjegation.
    Reconciliation is not very popular in that area.


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    Re: Kurdish-Arab Conflict in Iraq

    Didnt the Kurds want to be a separate state anyway? This might just be the excuse they need.
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    Re: Kurdish-Arab Conflict in Iraq

    Quote Originally Posted by chevydriver1123 View Post
    Didnt the Kurds want to be a separate state anyway? This might just be the excuse they need.
    Read the article. The Kurds have a semi-autonomous region and the question now is whether to allow them to keep that region... The Kurds would never be granted completely autonomy, Turkey has already said that if that happened, they would intervene.
    “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure...than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
    -TR

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    Re: Kurdish-Arab Conflict in Iraq

    Quote Originally Posted by OxymoronP View Post
    Reconciliation is not very popular in that area.
    IT seems to be popular these days.
    “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure...than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
    -TR

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    Re: Kurdish-Arab Conflict in Iraq

    Quote Originally Posted by chevydriver1123 View Post
    Didnt the Kurds want to be a separate state anyway? This might just be the excuse they need.
    I belive both of the parties in the coalition government running Iraqi Kurdistan are pro-independance, not sure how this has changed post elections though. Problem is I cant see the rest of Iraq (let alone Iran and Turkey) taking well to this.

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