Sunday, October 09, 2005

Newsweek Article: Kurdish Complications

Friends in the Mountains
Northern Iraq is a stable land where people love America and Americans. So why doesn't the U.S. military make itself at home?

By Babak Dehghanpisheh and Christopher Dickey, with Owen Matthews in Baghdad, Scott Johnson in Haro, Michael Hastings in Mosul, John Barry and Michael Hirsh in Washington, and Sami Kohen in Istanbul

Oct. 17, 2005 issue - For a brief spell last year, small groups of American soldiers fresh off the battlefields of Fallujah and Samarra got a chance to rest and relax at the Jiyan Hotel in the highlands of Iraq. They could swim laps, play tennis, shoot pool and generally just chill as they looked out on the dramatic snow-covered peaks that have always been the refuge of the Kurds. ("We have no friends but the mountains" is a well-known Kurdish proverb.) Kids mobbed the soldiers, asking for candy; adults began every conversation with "My friend." Indeed, there are few places anywhere in the world these days where American troops get a warmer welcome.
When you hear that Iraqis are sick of the U.S. occupation, remember the Kurds. They love the U.S.A. They want these American occupiers, and really do think of them as liberators. Top Kurdish officials have practically begged the U.S. military to make itself at home in their land. "I do not ask that Americans build bases in Kurdistan—I demand it," says Abdel Beg Perwani, a Kurdish member of Iraq's Parliament and deputy head of the defense committee....

Question of the moment: When you've read the whole article, I'd be interested to know how close you think the United States should get to the Kurds.

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