Kurds uneasy in New Iraq
The Kurdish minority in Iraq fought enthusiastically alongside US troops to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Its two simple demands are that Iraq become a loose Federation in which there is a consolidated Kurdish province (the Kurds are now largely scattered through four separate provinces), and that it be free from intereference by Turkey. The US has been the most fickle friend imaginable to the Kurds, using them and discarding them on numerous occasions. The US support for a fairly centralized government in Baghdad, and US wooing of Turkey to send troops to Iraq, put the US at loggerheads with the Kurds once again. Since US troop presence in the Kurdish north is weak, since the US depends heavily on the Kurdish paramilitary, the peshmerga, to provide security in the Kurdish regions, and since the Kurds are the strongest allies the US has in Iraq, it is highly unwise for Washington to alienate them. Angry anti-US Kurds in addition to all the other things happening in Iraq could make the country ungovernable. Yet the US seems unwilling to even so much as take Kurdish popular sentiment into account as it formulates policy. Inviting the Turkish troops into Iraq was a major blunder on the part of the US. It cannot afford many more such.