Friday, February 07, 2003

Good Kurds, Bad Kurds

Recently, filmmaker and photojournalist Kevin McKiernan went looking for human rights abuses against the Kurds. They had been much touted as a reason for why Saddam was an evil bastard. He did find them - being committed by the Turkish military. Of course, the U.S. media didn't care about Kurds in Turkey, the bad ones, just Kurds in Northern Iraq - the good ones.

It looks like they soon may all be Bad Kurds, as Andrew Sullivan's wailing about their plight grows a bit more silent each day.

American diplomats are engaged in delicate negotiations here that could allow tens of thousands of Turkish soldiers to occupy part of northern Iraq behind an advancing A merican army, Turkish and Kurdish officials said today.

A United States official confirmed that the negotiations were under way, but said that the Turks would be restricted to a limited area close to the border and that the numbers discussed by the Turks and Kurds were exaggerated.

The plan, which is being negotiated in closed-door meetings in Ankara, the Turkish capital, is being bitterly resisted by at least some leaders of Iraq's Kurdish groups, who fear that Turkey's leaders may be trying to realize a historic desire to dominate the region in a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq. The Kurdish officials say they fear a military intervention by the Turks could also prompt Iran to cross the border and try to seize sections of eastern Iraq.


The Turkish officials echoed comments made Wednesday by the Turkish prime minister, Abdullah Gul. He suggested that the Turkish Army's role would go beyond humanitarian concerns to protecting Turkish interests in the region.

"Turkey is going to position herself in that region in order to prevent any possible massacres, or the establishment of a new state," Mr. Gul told Turkish reporters.


UPDATE: Nathan Newman is on this as well.