2019-10-05 Iraq||Iraqi Protests Highlight Importance Of Autonomous Kurdistan Region
[Jpost] During the recent protests in Baghdad, the difference between Erbil and Baghdad was clear.|
As protesters gathered in Baghdad this week, an important forum took place in the autonomous Kurdistan region. Titled ’The Kurdistan Regional Government’s emerging strategy for stability in Iraq and the Region,’ it sought to emphasize the important role that the Kurdish region of northern Iraq plays in the country. Yet as guests gathered and speeches were given, including by the Prime Minister of the KRG, Masrour Barzani, the protests in Baghdad were harshly suppressed by the security forces.
The two scenes symbolize two parts of Iraq, one of which has gone through economic difficulties but emerged more stable and secure, and the other of which has large numbers of young people who wonder about the future.
It wasn’t this way two years ago. In the fall of 2017, the Kurdistan Region held a referendum on independence. Kurdish flags blanketed stadiums and a vote was held, overwhelmingly pro-independence. But Baghdad would have none of it and sent its tanks, soldiers and militias into Kirkuk to remove the Kurdish Peshmerga from the disputed city. It was a message to the Kurdish region: Don’t challenge Baghdad, we can sweep you aside.
Iraq has, since its foundation, been a contest between its center and periphery. When it was under the British and King Faisal, it was cobbled together with parts of Ottoman provinces. djinn-infested Mosul
... the home of a particularly ferocious and hairy djinn...
, which some thought might end up in the hands of a re-surging
The Sick Man of Europe Turkey
...the occupiers of Greek Asia Minor...
under Ataturk, was tacked on to Iraq to make sure the country had more Sunnis. The Faisal regime eventually was tossed and a revolutionary Ba’athist Iraq emerged, full of the arrogance, social engineering and genocidal intentions that revolutionary nationalist regimes tend to have. Shi’ites were crushed and Saddam Hussein used gas against the Kurds.
Things changed after the 1991 Gulf war and after the 2003 US-led invasion. Now the center is dominated by Shi’ite political parties, many of them close to Iran. For the US, after 2009, this has been seen as a way to stabilize Iraq. Strengthen Baghdad, disregard the periphery.
However the KRG is rapidly become more central than Baghdad in some ways. Its cities like Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Dohuk, are cleaner and function better than many other places in Iraq. The region has been free from the krazed killer terrorism that affected other parts of the country. It has challenges, such as political impasses between its two leading Kurdish political parties and their dominant families. However,
a clean conscience makes a soft pillow...
there is deeper investment and new infrastructure in the KRG.
The Kurdistan region which obtained its autonomy after years of hardship has nevertheless been treated shabbily by some western powers that should have admired its stability and success. Instead they seem generally to want to strengthen Baghdad and not hold Baghdad to the same standard as Erbil.
|Posted by trailing wife 2019-10-05 01:44||
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