Friday, October 06, 2006

 

Condi Finds Actual Middle Eastern Moderates

It was nice to see that, during the Bush Administration's ridiculous venture to find, nurture and create moderates--as if such a thing is possible--where none exist among the PLO, Hamas, and within the larger Arab world, Secretary of State Rice did stop off in Iraqi Kurdistan to meet with Kurdish leaders.

The Kurds, with their separate national identity, language, music and culture, deserve independence from Iraq. Despite having suffered greatly at the hands of the Arabs, the Kurds, with the exception of the fringe PKK, have eschewed terrorism, proving that terror isn't the natural result of desperation. They took advantage of the 12 years of American no-fly zones in Northern Iraq to build a better society after years of genocide, the destruction of thousands of Kurdish villages and the forced Arabization of the Kurdish cities and people. No one will confuse the Kurdish regions with Western Europe. Still, Sulymania doesn't have much in common with Damascus, Cairo, Amman and Baghdad. And that's a good thing.

In addition, the Kurds are largely pro-American, loyal allies who share the same enemies (Sunni Arab nationalists/Islamists, Iran, Syria), and more moderate in their practice of Islam than others in the region. I don't have much hope for the long-term success of democracy in the Muslim world, but Kurdistan could be the exception.

While I tend to be somewhat conservative on many issues of national security and foreign policy, it is clear to me that the war in Iraq has been a major waste of American lives, treasure and morale. Our extended stay in Baghdad, with its difficulties in quelling the violence, has decreased our deterrence in the region. Yet if one positive outcome can result from our intervention in Iraq, a Kurdish state would not only serve American interests, it would be a great act of justice long overdue for this determined, loyal and moderate Muslim people.

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