June 17, 2004


Iraqi People Must Take Responsibility, Kurdish Leader Says (Kathleen T. Rhem, 6/17/04, American Forces Press Service)

The Iraqi people must be responsible for their own security and not depend on American troops to defeat terrorism in Iraq, the leader of the People's Union of Kurdistan said today.

Following dinner with Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and other members of an American delegation, Jalal Talibani spoke with American reporters traveling with the group.

"Fighting terrorism must be the job of Iraqis; we must not depend on our American friends," he said, in English. "If we need their helicopters we will ask them, but it must be our responsibility."

He also said Iraqis must take responsibility for the state of their own affairs. "We can't always blame the Americans," he said.

Talibani said Kurdish attitudes toward Americans are different from those of many other Iraqis; the vast majority of Kurds want a continued American presence in Iraq.

Both Talibani and Wolfowitz stressed that a unified Iraq with a representative government is the only way forward for the country.

"The way to get unity is to give each party a reasonable degree of say in their own affairs," Wolfowitz said.

Talibani agreed, suggesting that people are able to look out for their own rights and at the same time recognize the rights of others. "We think Kurds within a democratic Iraq can play a role for their own self-interests and for the self-interests of Iraq," he said.

Lucky thing Kurds aren't Muslims or he wouldn't talk that way...

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 17, 2004 5:16 PM

Gonna take two to tango

Posted by: Harry Eagar at June 17, 2004 6:43 PM

Nice to hear people talking like this but the proof will be when the Iraqis are actually up to the task of policing and defending their own state. Recent articles on the failure of the Fallujah brigade and poor performance of Iraqi police do not inspire confidence.

Posted by: AWW at June 17, 2004 7:38 PM

Orrin's vision requires the Shia to distinguish between two others -- Sunni, bad; Kurds, good, or if not exactly good, tolerable.

Not the kind of subtley we've learned to expect from that region.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at June 18, 2004 2:24 PM