Tuesday, May 04, 2004

The Kurds are back - and they're not happy 

The Kurds are still not happy about Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN envoy who will decide the political future of Iraq. And the Kurds, like everyone else in the Middle East, have long memories:

"When [the town of] Halabja had been bombardment by chemical weapons [by Saddam Hussein] in 1988 killing over 5000 people and wounding more than 20,000 and also during the Anfal Operations to eliminate Kurds when more than 183,000 Kurds disappeared by order of Saddam Hussein, Mr. Brahimi was Under-Secretary-General of the League of Arab States. Not only did Brahimi endorse Saddam Hussein and remain a close ally to him, he also denied that Saddam Hussein, the glory of Arab Leader as he described him, had ever used chemical weapons."

And this:

"Yes, Mr. Brahimi represents the United Nations in an official capacity, but he has conceded his moral authority to the collective passion of Arab political culture, in whose idioms the Kurd is still an occupied voice. He has been conspicuously silent about the atrocities the Syrian tyranny has unleashed on defenseless Kurds. His silence on this and willingness in recent interviews to shift the focus from the victims of Arab tyrannies in Iraq and Syria to the Palestinian question, even when the occasion has nothing to do directly with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is clearly an effort to legitimize one suffering and delegitimize all the others."

The bad news is that the Kurds are expecting to get screwed over again by the US (from the first article):

"History repeats itself. The USA cannot be trusted... Now again the USA is about to betray Kurds and uses them for selfish purposes while having good relationships with other Arabic regimes at the expense of Kurdish people. We can see this now when they bring back Saddam's old high ranking officers to control the situation for them, when they bring Mr. Brahimi to re-establish a fallen state and create another strong monster for Iraqi people in the region... Imagine what will happen if the USA leaves the Kurdish people to the mercy of Arab nationalists and Muslim fundamentalists after they turn power to them and leave Iraq. Kurdish people would be victimized again once by the USA and then by the new Arab nationalist government who would think that the Kurdish people betrayed the country by helping the USA and standing side by side with the USA army during the liberation of Iraq and after the war."

I don't think I'm the only one who hopes that this won't happen. We owe the Kurds, if only for their long-standing strong support. The US and the West cannot afford to alienate one of the very few genuine allies it has in the region.


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