Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Kurdization of the city of Kirkuk

The Washington Post profiles the Kurdization of the city of Kirkuk and the villages around it, and tens or hundreds of thousands of Kurds whom Saddam had earlier expelled are brought back and settled, often on private property. Saddam brought Arabs into the city and the area part of an effort to "Arabize" the northern oil-producing region, which he renamed the "nationalized" province (Ta'mim) in commemoration of the nationalization of Iraq's petroleum industry. Kirkuk is a traditionally Turkmen city, but Kurds became a major force there with the rise of the oil industry and labor migration. Because control of Kirkuk province would give the Kurds an enormous petroleum revenue, enabling their quest for an autonomous state, the Turkish government is very worried about all this. Any violence that targeted Kirkuk's Turkmen would produce a strong reaction in Ankara and perhaps drawn Turkey into the conflict.First the government of Italian Prime Minister and wealthy sleazeball Silvio Berlusconi's got involved in forging the Niger uranium documents that underpinned Bush's rationale for war. Then Berlusconi strongly backed Bush, and sent Italian troops to Nasiriyah (where o26 of them have been killed). Now, in an obvious sign that the Bush administration is a sinking ship, Berlusconi is abandoning it. He maintains that he tried to talk Bush out of going to war in Iraq before the fact. This allegation looks to some observers like a bare-faced attempt to run away from Bush in Italian domestic politics, where Berlusconi will face an election soon.Al-Hayat: The United Iraqi Alliance, the mainly religious Shiite coalition, will be made up of 17 parties. They include the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Sadr Movement, the Dawa Party, the Islamic Dawa Part (Iraq Organization), the Virtue Party, The Centrist Grouping, the Badr Organization, the Justice Grouping, Hizbullah in Iraq [no, not that Hezbollah], the Prince of Martyrs Movement, the Center Grouping, the Faithfulness Movement of the Turkmen, and the Turkmen, etc.