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19.2.03

Flashback For The Kurds

But the Bush administration may have gotten the power calculus wrong. The Kurds have established a real state within a state, with an administration that performs all governmental responsibilities, from education to law enforcement. Their militias number 70,000 to 130,000, and there is a real risk of clashes with any Turkish "humanitarian" force. The democratically elected Kurdistan assembly has already completed work on a constitution for the region that would delegate minimal powers to a central government in Baghdad, and could submit it for a popular vote. Short of arresting Kurdish leaders and the assembly, an American occupation force may have no practical way of preventing the Kurds from going ahead with their federalist project.

And now it seems Turkey's financial demands may exceed what Washington is willing to pay, and Turkey will sit out the war. That could weaken Turkey's influence in creating a postwar Iraq, and improve the Kurds' prospects for self-rule.


Finally, some good news about Kurdish prospects -- though it's buried in a pretty grim article.

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