April 7, 2005


A landmark for the Kurds (Kathleen Ridolfo, 4/08/05, Asia Times)

The Iraqi National Assembly elected Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) head Jalal Talabani to be the country's new president on Wednesday. Talabani's rise is a milestone in the history of Iraq's long-oppressed Kurds. He is the first Kurd ever to fill the seat and has worked hard to maintain Kurdish autonomy within a federal Iraq.

A Kurdish patriot, Talabani had a history of organization and - at times - confrontation to oppose the regime of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. But he has worked alongside fellow Kurd Masud Barzani to maintain autonomy within a postwar federal Iraq.

"It is a right of the Kurdish people to demand that the region of Kurdistan, as it is known in terms of geography and history, become the region over which the Kurdish people would exert their federal rule," Talabani told RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq on February 24. "We believe that these [currently] existing problems can also be solved by consensus and dialogue, in a brotherly political way. There is no problem in Iraq that would be unsolvable, in our opinion." [...]

A constant proponent of reconciliation between Iraq's divergent groups, Talabani told fellow parliamentarians at the National Assembly's first session on March 16, "A serious patriotic task stands before all of us: It is re-establishing the previous Iraqi national unity on the principles of free choice, consensus, and national reconciliation between Iraqis of good will who are against dictatorship and terror."

Peeling off the Kurdish region of Syria would be an appropriate goal too.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 7, 2005 9:48 AM

With Latakia as their port of entry.

Posted by: Genecis at April 7, 2005 10:39 AM

Just seconds after reading this post, the "United States of Arabia" popped into my head.

Rather than view the 'break up' of these regions as a bad thing, why not direct the break up toward a "Federation" of democratic states.

This offers a wonderful opportunity to create a strong & growing movement, with a built in incentive to allow separatism with out civil strife.

Ok, perhaps a bit optimistic, but it would make a great chapter in an Orson Scott Card book.

Posted by: BB at April 7, 2005 12:02 PM

Don't forge the Kurdish area of Iran. According to my 2003 Brittanica Almanac, both Syria and Iraq have about 7 percent Kurds, so there would be a much larger number of them in Iran (population 63 million) than in Syria (population 16 million).

Posted by: Jim Miller at April 7, 2005 12:27 PM

Wouldn't giving Latakia to the Kurds pose a few problems with the Alawites?

There is going to have to be some kind of re-shaping of the map of the region. There is no reason for the borders of former colonial masters like France, Britain, Russia and the Ottomans to be inviolate. The Kurds, like the Armenians, deserve their own state and, like the Armenians, are going to have to accept half a loaf, a state significantly smaller than the territory where they can be found in significant numbers. A Kurdish state based around Mosul with slices of Syria, Iran and perhaps Turkey is not unreasonable.

The Turks have behaved in a very unfriendly fashion to us in the last few years and do not deserve to have their interests kowtowed to.

Posted by: bart at April 7, 2005 2:35 PM


Yes. That's the point.

Posted by: at April 7, 2005 3:45 PM