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Old 07-19-2006   #1
Jedburgh
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Default Iraq and the Kurds: The Brewing Battle Over Kirkuk

From ICG: Iraq and the Kurds: The Brewing Battle Over Kirkuk
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In drafting Article 140 of the constitution, Kurdish leaders believed they were gaining guaranteed acquisition of Kirkuk. However, because of the way the constitution was achieved – through a rushed process culminating in a political deal between the Kurds and a single Shiite party, SCIRI, to the exclusion of many other parties, communities and minorities, as well as civil society organisations and public opinion more broadly – it reflects imposition of a Kurdish template for Kirkuk rather than a consensus agreement. As a result, a Kirkuk referendum may not happen, certainly not by the December 2007 deadline, and Kurdish aspirations may well flounder.

For the Kurds, this deadline thus threatens to become a self-laid trap. Having raised expectations and convinced their people to defer their Kirkuk ambitions by a couple of years, Kurdish leaders must now deliver by the end of 2007 or meet their wrath. As a Kurdish official put it, “we concentrated so much on Kirkuk, we would lose face if we now lowered our position. This is the problem”.

This is a problem, however, not only for the Kurdish leadership, but for all Iraqis, as the Kurds’ failure to secure Kirkuk by lawful, constitutional procedure may drive them to reckless adventurism with the risk of violence, civil war and possibly (direct or indirect) foreign intervention...
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Old 07-19-2006   #2
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Default New book

Former USG official ( I think State or NSC) Peter W. Galbraith has a new book out arguing, essentially, for a partition of Iraq.

The End of Iraq

Galbraith is best known from the chapters on the Kurdish genocide in Samantha Power's book A Problem From Hell: America in the Age of Genocide
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Old 07-19-2006   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zenpundit
Former USG official ( I think State or NSC) Peter W. Galbraith has a new book out arguing, essentially, for a partition of Iraq.

The End of Iraq
Other articles discussing that option have been posted on SWC here and here

Cordesman of CSIS has also just published another short commentary, Losing the War in Iraq?
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Old 04-19-2007   #4
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ICG, 19 Apr 07: Iraq and the Kurds: Resolving the Kirkuk Crisis
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....The U.S. needs to recognise the risk of an explosion in Kirkuk and press the Kurds, the Baghdad government and Turkey alike to adjust policies and facilitate a peaceful settlement.

The studied bystander mode assumed by Washington, the Kurds’ sole ally, has not been helpful. Preoccupied with their attempt to save Iraq by implementing a new security plan in Baghdad, the Bush administration has left the looming Kirkuk crisis to the side. This neglect can cost the U.S. severely. If the referendum is held later this year over the objections of the other communities, the civil war is very likely to spread to Kirkuk and the Kurdish region, until now Iraq’s only area of quiet and progress. If the referendum is postponed without a viable facesaving alternative for the Kurds, their leaders may withdraw from the Maliki cabinet and thus precipitate a governmental crisis in Baghdad just when the security plan is, in theory, supposed to yield its political returns....
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Old 04-19-2007   #5
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Note that Galbraith writes from a very pro-Kurdish vantage point, for understandable reasons. I think he also serves as a sort of advisor for one or both of the Kurdish parties.
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Old 12-16-2008   #6
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My understanding is Galbraith is a paid lobbyist for the KRG. He writes well though and as someone with experience in Kurdistan, I find he is very accurate in his assessment of the situation.
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Old 09-28-2007   #7
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Default Security May Trump Ethnicity in Kirkuk

Security May Trump Ethnicity in Kirkuk - Borzou Daragahi, Los Angeles Times.

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A staunch Arab nationalist, Ismail Hadidi once dreaded the possibility that his ethnically diverse city would be swallowed up by the neighboring semiautonomous Kurdish region and cut off from the Baghdad government.

But the provincial councilman is also a practical man. And when he compares the chaos and violence in the Iraqi capital with the prosperity and peace next door in the three-province Kurdistan Regional Government area, teaming up with the Kurds doesn't seem like such a bad idea. He's even considering buying some property in the Kurdish enclave.

"The people of Kirkuk were afraid of this," said Hadidi, a Sunni Arab tribal leader. "But given the situation, I believe most people will move toward being part of Kurdistan, because what the people want above all is security."

Uncertainty clouds Iraq's future, but not so much here. The Kurdish region's exploding economic and political power has begun to shape northern Iraq's reality...
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Old 11-09-2008   #8
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ICG, 28 Oct 08: Oil for Soil: Toward a Grand Bargain on Iraq and the Kurds
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......Difficult negotiations over a provincial elections law in July-September 2008 were only the latest indication of the centrality of the Kirkuk question. A minority in Iraq, the Kurds have deployed all available legal and institutional mechanisms to facilitate their quest for Kirkuk. Still, they have failed to overcome the odds. The result has been a growing political standoff that is immediately destabilising – witness developments in and around Khanaqin in August-September – and, perhaps even more dangerously, challenges the foundations of the post-2003 order. The territorial dispute stems from a deeper Arab-Kurdish conflict that has its origins in the state’s creation almost a century ago and has yet to be settled, whether through accommodation or by force. At its core it is a struggle between rival nationalisms with conflicting territorial claims to border areas, which the two groups claim based on historical demographic presence rather than on established boundaries, which never existed. Today, the goal should be a negotiated, consensus-based accommodation enshrined in the constitution, ratified in a referendum and guaranteed by the international community.

Deadlocked negotiations over the hydrocarbons and related laws, the architecture of federalism and the constitution review, together with growing tensions in disputed territories such as Khanaqin, suggest that these negotiations ought to shift from their focus on single issues to a grand bargain. A comprehensive approach will demand painful compromises from key stakeholders – principally Arabs and Kurds – who will be unable to provide their constituencies all they had promised them. It also will require overcoming deeply entrenched fears and mistrust.....
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