August 5, 2002


Saddam wants Kurds neutral (John Diamond, 8/04/02, USA TODAY)
Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has stepped up efforts to persuade Kurdish rebels to remain neutral if the United States attacks his regime, a move that is complicating U.S. planning for a possible invasion, U.S. intelligence officials say.

In the latest sign that he is taking President Bush's threat to oust him seriously, Saddam has used intermediaries in northern Iraq in recent weeks to appeal to the rebels he terrorized for decades.

The Kurds, who are 15%-20% of Iraq's population, seek independence and have cooperated with the United States. But now they are enjoying an unusual degree of autonomy and revenue from Iraqi oil with Saddam's tacit blessing.

Saddam has signaled the Kurds that they will continue to be able to govern themselves, teach their children the Kurdish language, collect taxes on commerce passing through the region and get a share of Iraq's oil revenue only if they do not support U.S. efforts to remove him, two U.S. intelligence officials say.

It will infuriate the Turks, but we should lift the Northern no-fly zone and recognize the independent state of Kurdistan immediately. Let Saddam try to explain to his people how what started out as a bid to claim Kuwait has ended up costing them a fifth of their population and the northern third of their country. Or, let him try to take it back by force, which provides the ideal cover for our simultaneous attack on him. Posted by Orrin Judd at August 5, 2002 1:50 PM
Comments for this post are closed.