Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Masters of Kurdistan

This fact was not known to me before reading Luizard's The Iraqi Question: that Kurdistan is divided into two areas of control. The northern mountainous region, with its capital at Erbil, is under the complete control of the PDK, led by Massoud Barzani. The southern region, with its capital at Sulaymaniyya, is controlled by Jalal Talabani's PUK. Nominally, the PUK portrays itself as a leftist alternative to Barzani's right-wing nationalism.

Both organizations run a couple of thriving activities: collecting tolls and tariffs at the Turkish frontier (Baghdad does not see a dime!) and smuggling out contraband oil. Luizard notes that flood of income is so high that local farming and industry have been abandoned.

Anyway, today Juan Cole is outraged on a decision by Barzani, a virtual warlord, to send a Kurdish-Australian journalist to prison for having criticized him. This Barzani character is a power-hungry, duplicitious SOB, so no surprise there. Barzani's claim to infamy is a march into Erbil in 1996 allied with Saddam Hussein's troops and supported by Turkey to combat the "Iranian-dominated" PUK, followed by a push into the PUK heartland at Sulaymaniyya, forcing Talabani into exile. The USA negotiated with Iran and Turkey to force Barzani back, but he has succeeded in claiming Erbil as his own. BTW, it is the PDK which intimidates Iraqi Christians living in the north by confiscating their land.

Of course this is not the whole tapestry of Kurdistan: There's also Kurdish Hezbollah, Kurdish Communist Party (links to the PKK), Islamic Union of Kurdistan, Islamic Movement of Kurdistan (linked to Iran), Socialist Democratic Party of Kurdistan, Iraqi Turkmen Front, Islamic Union of Turkmen (supported by Tehran), and the Assyrian Democratic Movement. But they are all minor characters in a PDK-PUK script.


Blogger Charles Chapman said...

I have covered the Qadir (aka Karim) affair at some length in an article on my weblog entitled, An open letter to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) from a friend in the U.S.

My weblog, The Is-Ought Problem, primarily covers Iraqi-Kurdistan from the perspective of Western philosophy. I have a number of articles regarding Dr. Qadir, as well as the issues of "honor" killings and fatal fatwas in Iraqi-Kurdistan. The above is only the most recent.

10:35 AM  
Blogger chicago dyke said...

so what's your take, nur? do you have any faith in either party, or hope that kurds will enjoy peace/autonomy under the leadership of one or both of these men?

titter: the security protocol letters i have to type to post this spells "oiljob"

7:26 AM  
Blogger Pocho said...

Thanks for the comment on wrong post notice Nur. I moved it. You can delete this.

9:55 AM  
Blogger Postman said...

It appears that one thing the illegal invasion by the forces of the Coalition of the Partly Willing, and the hopelessly Bribed was to unite the warring elements of Greater Kurdistan.

Now they have some income rolling in and something to fight about.... and some Arabs to kick about.

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Griffon said...

Do you know who buys the contraband oil, Nur?

2:45 AM  

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