April 23, 2007


Kurds Cultivating Their Own Bonds With U.S. (Rajiv Chandrasekaran, 4/23/07, Washington Post)

With Sunni and Shiite Arabs locked in a bloody sectarian war, Iraq's Kurds are promoting their interests through an influence-buying campaign in the United States that includes airing nationwide television advertisements, hiring powerful Washington lobbyists and playing parts of the U.S. government against each other. A former car mechanic who happens to be the son of Iraq's president is at the center of Kurdish efforts to cultivate support for their semi-independent enclave, but the cast of Kurdish proponents also includes evangelical Christians, Israeli operatives and Republican political consultants.

In the past year, the Kurds have spent more than $3 million to retain lobbyists and set up a diplomatic office in Washington. They are cultivating grass-roots advocates among supporters of President Bush's war policy and evangelicals who believe that many key figures in the Bible lived in Kurdistan. And they are seeking to build an emotional bond with ordinary Americans, like those forged by Israel and Taiwan, by running commercials on national cable news channels to assert that even as Iraq teeters toward a full-blown civil war, one corner of the country, at least, has fulfilled the Bush administration's ambition of a peaceful, democratic, pro-Western beachhead in the Middle East.

But elements of the Kurds' campaign run counter to the policy of a unified Iraq espoused by the U.S. and Iraqi governments.

We should have recognized them as an independent state when we imposed the no-fly zone in '91.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 23, 2007 7:50 AM

They seem to get it and it would be in the Wests' interest to grant their independence, along with a fair share of the Iraq oil pool.

Posted by: Genecis at April 23, 2007 9:47 AM

How is Turkey going to react to that?

Posted by: Bartman at April 23, 2007 12:59 PM

Give Turkey western Iraq in compensation. Big new oil finds there and few people. They will need a land corrider through eastern Syria so they wil get rid of Assad for us.


Posted by: Bob at April 23, 2007 2:23 PM

There is no Turkey.

Posted by: oj at April 23, 2007 5:12 PM

If you think you are a nation...you are.

Posted by: Bartman at April 23, 2007 6:06 PM

The Kurds are the new Poles.

Posted by: Gideon at April 23, 2007 6:22 PM

Then who are the Poles?

Posted by: erp at April 23, 2007 7:00 PM

If Harry were here, he would tell us who the Poles are. With all the bitterness he could muster.

Recognizing the Kurds in 1991 would have sped things up quite considerably in Iraq (and elsewhere). But that wasn't on James Baker's agenda. Or Colin Powell's. And certainly not Gorby's.

The Turks will have to recognize the Kurds soon, or they will have a restless neighbor to the south in a few years.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 23, 2007 10:44 PM