Friday, February 18, 2005

Death and Democracy in Iraq

News out of Iraq via the NYTs:

Two mosques were attacked by suicide bombers a day before the holiest day of the year for Shiites. The tally so far is near 20 dead and near 50 wounded. The attacks came on the eve of Ashura, the day Shiites' celebrate the 7th century martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Muhammad. Once again this shows the extraordinary and vicious lengths the insurgency will go to foment anarchy. That anyone right thinking could call these elements liberation forces is beyond the scope of my intelligence.

The NYTs also reports the Kurdish demand for autonomy in northern Iraq. With the Kurdish Alliance [the joining of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)] garnering a quarter of the seats in Iraq's new parliament, the Kurds seem positioned to get a good portion of their demands met if the Shiites want to form a government. Yet, many of the Kurdish demands are outlandish if Iraq is to maintain its territorial integrity and function as one nation, particularly their demand to retain the peshmerga or their militia. For right now, the Kurds hold the cards. Let's hope what they're doing is nothing more than salesmanship, bidding high with the full knowledge that their demands will be moderated in negotiations.

One thing's for sure, Turkey cannot be happy with this development.