Alienating the Kurds


The Kurds have been our most reliable allies in Iraq. Far more secular and democratic than the Sunni and Shia Arabs, the Kurds are justifiably uneasy about Iraq's disturbing new draft constitution. That document would put Iraq well on the road toward being a theocratic state.

The US officially is taking a hands—off approach toward the constitution, letting it be determined by the Iraqis. But at times, we seem to behave in a pig—headed manor, alientating our best allies, Former Ambassador [to Croatia] Peter Galbraith writes in the Kurdistan Observer:

THERE ARE NOT many places in Iraq where the locals want to celebrate American Independence Day. But, in Iraq's self—governing Kurdistan region, the newly elected government decided to host a Fourth of July party for their American allies. Top coalition officers were invited along with US civilians, food and drinks ordered (the secular Kurds serve and drink alcohol), and the Kurdistan prime minister had prepared his speech. Then America's top diplomat in the region delivered an ultimatum: She would not attend unless the Kurds flew Iraq's flag at the party. The Kurds refused and canceled the party.

The current Iraqi flag was chosen by Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party to signify the unity of Arab lands. For the non—Arab Kurds the flag is not only a symbol of their second class status but they also associate it with the atrocities—— including use of poison gas—— of the former regime.

There are even worse things going on with our policies in Iraq. Support for the policy does not include turning a blind eye toward problems in its implementation.

Hat tip: Dennis Sevakis

Thomas Lifson   7 29 05