Monday, October 12, 2015

Can you avoid realities while talking the KRG?

Aliza Marcus and Andrew Apostolou argue at the New York Times that the answer to saving Iraq from the Islamic State is arming the Kurds.  They note the Peshmerga's success ("remarkable given the lack of American support") and that "the United States still can't rely on the Iraqi Army to defeat the jihadist forces."

For two who self-present as Kurdish experts, the duo seems remarkably -- possibly intentionally -- dense.

I don't know how you discuss the US government's relationship with the Kurds seriously without referenceing the Pike Report which the US Congress produced but then quickly decided not to release.  It was leaked to the press and, February 16, 1976, The Village Voice published Aaron Latham's "Introduction to the Pike Papers."  Latham explained:

In 1972, Dr. Henry Kissinger met with the Shah of Iran, who asked the U.S. to aid the Kurds in their rebellion against Iraq, an enemy of the Shah.  Kissinger later presented the proposal to President Nixon who approved what would become a $16 million program.  Then John B. Connally, the former Nixon Treasury Secretary, was dispatched to Iran to inform the Shah, one oil man to another.
The committee report charges that: "The President, Dr. Kissinger and the foreign head of state [the Shah] hoped our clients would not prevail.  They preferred instead that the insurgents simply continue a level of hostilities sufficient to sap the resources of our ally's neighboring country [Iraq].  The policy was not imparted to our clients, who were encouraged to continue fighting.  Even in the context of covert action, ours was a cynical enterprise."
During the Arab-Israeli war, when the Kurds might have been able to strike at a distracted Iraqi government, Kissinger, according to the report, "personally restrained the insurgents from an all-out offensive on the one occasion when such an attack might have been successful."
Then, when Iran resolved its border dispute with Iraq, the U.S. summarily dropped the Kurds.  And Iraq, knowing aid would be cut off, launched a search-and-destroy campaign the day after the border agreement was signed.
A high U.S. official later explained to the Pike committee staff: "Covert action should not be confused with missionary work."

That is the root and start of a relationship where the US government repeatedly used and misled the Kurdish people and repeatedly lied and broke promises.

How do you leave that out?

Or the fact that it wasn't until this February that the KDP and PUK were no longer designated terrorist organizations by the US government?

The KDP and the PUK are political parties.

Former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and current Iraqi President Fuad Masum belong to the PUK.

Current KRG President Massoud Barzani belongs to the KDP.

The two political parties were not put on the list in the ancient days, they got put on the terrorist list in 2001.  For fourteen years, they remained on the list.

And as Middle East Eye noted, "A State Department cable from 2009 released by Wikileaks claimed that 'the KDP consists of family clans, operating very much like a mafia organisation'."

And then there's the Turkey issue also covered by Wikileaks -- so much covered that never makes it into the NYT piece.

By accident?

By intent?

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