Monday, August 21, 2006

Jumping On Three: One...Two...

Is Kurdistan an inevitability? It seems to be. The northern section of modern Iraq was never a natural part of that country, ethnically or politically, but was cobbled onto it at the end of World War II, by the British, over the objections of the Kurds, whose territory was divided between Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria. My information comes from Michael Totten, writing at Reason Online, who says that it's only a matter of waiting for the right moment to jump, because Iraqi Kurds have already made up their minds to declare Kurdish independence. Kurdistan is already a reality in practice, if not in name. It has its own government, military, security, and state of being. It is safe, new, and optimistic, highly pro-American, highly pro-democracy, and does not see itself as having a bond with other Iraqis. In an informal referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan in January of 2005, in which there was 80% voter turnout, 98.7% of those casting a ballot voted to secede. Totten says it's not a matter of what the people intend to do; it's a matter of when they intend to do it. Their hunger for independence isn't a transient thing:

It’s hard to overstate just how long and how badly the Kurds have wanted out. Barzani’s father, the guerilla leader Moula Mustafa, once told Jim Hoagland of The Washington Post, “We can become your 51st state and provide you with oil.” That was back in 1973.
Read Totten's whole article. It's fascinating, and explains exactly what the Kurds are waiting for, and gives some perspective on what the rest of Iraq thinks of the idea of an independent Kurdish state splintering off from the Arab one. Hint: The main point of contention is oil.