Archive for the ‘Kurds’ Category

Iraq: The Next War

Patrick Cockburn reports from Mosul:

There has been a mounting number of clashes between predominantly Arab Iraqi army units and the Kurdish peshmerga forces along a 260-mile line that stretches diagonally across the northern third of Iraq, from Sinjar to Khanaqin in the south.

The tensions underpinning the conflict have always attracted less international attention than the US-Iraqi war or the Shia-Sunni conflict.

Yet if the conflict develops into a full-scale war it will complicate President Barack Obama’s plan to withdraw 142,000 US soldiers from Iraq over 16 months and redeploy many of them to the US military effort in Afghanistan.

That war will be bloody, it will be long, and it will tear Iraq asunder. As for news coverage, don’t hold your breath — there aren’t many old hands like Cockburn left in Iraq, and the macho bloggers who have taken their place have neither the local contacts nor the language skills to roam around on their own.

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No one except Missing Links seems to have noticed this:

Kurdish commanders Wednesday refused orders to pull their troops out of Kurdish-populated areas of ethnically divided Diyala province, challenging the authority of Baghdad.

The 4,000 strong brigade will withdraw only when ordered to do so by the president of the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq, Massud Barzani, its commander General Nazel Kirkuki told AFP.

‘The commander of Iraqi ground forces, General Ali Ghidan, asked us to withdraw our forces from the north of Diyala province on August 10 but we’ve received no order from the presidency of autonomous Kurdistan,’ Kirkuki said.

As noted before, the long-simmering Kirkuk crisis, which was brought to the fore by recent parliamentary squabbling over the provincial elections law, threatens to unravel the Iraqi Army while America celebrates the war’s end.

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