Iraq

Up North in Iraq

| Fri Jul. 10, 2009 1:28 PM EDT

Violence may be increasing in Baghdad, but it's up north in disputed Kurdistan that Iraq's bigger problems are likely to erupt.  Here's the LA Times:

The worst attack Thursday occurred in Tall Afar in Nineveh province in the north, where a double suicide bombing killed 34 people, prompting a senior Iraqi official to express concern that the country's security forces, now fully responsible for protecting the cities, had been penetrated by armed groups.

....Militants appear focused on the north, where Arabs and Kurds are locked in a dispute over a 300-mile stretch of land where Saddam Hussein's regime expelled Kurds and settled Arabs in their place. Iraq's semiautonomous Kurdish region wants to annex those areas, an idea Arabs oppose.

And the New York Times:

With little notice and almost no public debate, Iraq’s Kurdish leaders are pushing ahead with a new constitution for their semiautonomous region, a step that has alarmed Iraqi and American officials who fear that the move poses a new threat to the country’s unity.

....The proposed constitution enshrines Kurdish claims to territories and the oil and gas beneath them. But these claims are disputed by both the federal government in Baghdad and ethnic groups on the ground....Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., sent to Iraq on July 2 for three days, criticized it in diplomatic and indirect, though unmistakably strong, language as “not helpful” to the administration’s goal of reconciling Iraq’s Arabs and Kurds, in an interview with ABC News.

I don't have any special comment on this.  Just pointing it out.  Kurdistan has always been the wild card in Iraqi politics, but despite lots of warnings it's never quite erupted.  It always seemed to be a problem for tomorrow.  Now, though, it's possible that tomorrow has finally arrived.

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