Monday, August 22, 2016

If Forced to Choose; Iraq vs. Kurdistan?

There was a little I&W last week that needs your attention.

From just a few sources, in this case Kurdista24, the Kurds are seeing a moment they don't want to let pass. I don't blame them, it was only a matter of time. This isn't a new issue, just another card being pulled out of the deck as facts on the ground are meeting centuries of desire.

If this continues forward, there will be a point when we will have to make a choice. 

Since 1991, there has been one part of Iraq that has been reliable; Kurdistan. There is one major ethic group in Iraq that is respectful of religious and ethnic minorities; Kurds. If there is one ethnic group in the Middle East that offers a view of how we wish the rest of the area would behave, there would be just one; the Kurds.

Things are moving in a direction that may force us to choose between backing the chimera of dysfunction that is what ever power holds in Baghdad, or the Kurds. Here's why.
A member of the Iraqi parliament stated on Thursday that Peshmerga forces will receive the same treatment as the Islamic State (IS) if they do not withdraw from liberated areas.

Mohammed Saihoud an Iraqi MP from the State of Law bloc, led by the former Iraqi PM Nuri al-Maliki, said that “if Peshmerga forces do not retreat from the liberated areas, they will be considered as occupiers, not liberators.”

“IS and Peshmerga forces are equal before the gunfire of the Iraqi security forces and Hashd al-Shaabi if they insist on the occupation of the liberated areas,” the Shia MP told an Iraqi news outlet.
The Kurds are known for understated firmness. They do not fail to deliver;
...KRG spokesperson Safeen Dizayee told Kurdistan24 that Peshmerga forces will not withdraw from the areas in their control because Peshmerga is the source of security and stability for people.

Dizayee stated that Peshmerga forces will make further advances towards the Islamic State (IS)-held areas surrounding Mosul that are considered outside of the Kurdistan Region administration.

“The areas were liberated by the blood of the Peshmerga forces. Peshmerga will not retreat,” he reaffirmed.
I'd take them at their word.

Here is the part that shows where the game is;
Arif Taifoor, the commander of Peshmerga forces in Khazir frontline told Kurdistan24 on Thursday that the Peshmerga forces will liberate all the areas included in the Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution, particularly IS-held Christian-populated areas and they will stay there.
What is Article 140?
Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution is supposed to deal with the country’s disputed territories – that is, land that Iraqi Kurdistan says is part of its quasi-independent region but which Baghdad says belongs to Iraq proper. This includes the much disputed area of Kirkuk. Article 140 outlines a series of steps that should be taken in order to resolve who exactly the disputed territories belong to – these are, firstly, normalization - a return of Kurds and other residents displaced by Arabisation – followed by a census taken to determine the demographic makeup of the province's population and then finally, a referendum to determine the status of disputed territories. Obviously whether a territory is home to mainly Kurds or mainly Arabs will have an effect on who can lay claim to the area.
As the Iraqis are learning, paper is paper.
“And if the Iraqi Kurdish region demands that Article 140 be implemented, then they would have to do that according to the Constitution,” Qurbani argues. “In which case, Iraqi Kurdish forces would need to withdraw from the land they are now occupying. But instead,” he concludes, “the Iraqi Kurdish are creating their own reality, on the ground.”
The scramble for the most land to negotiate with is well underway.

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