The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Iraq: under US occupation, Kurds keep kleansing (but kwietly)

Uncle Sam is finding out the hard way that running an empire is mostly outlay and humiliation.

From his core ally in his key area of power projection, nothing less than a Rummygram of elephantine proportions in the assassination attempt on Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi in Gaza City [1].

And in Iraq, his beloved Kurds are continuing to make a mockery of his pretensions of establishing the rule of law beneath the billowing Stars and Stripes.

For example, there's a piece from Michael Currie Schaffer in the Inquirer (June 9) from Domiz [2]. US forces are in place, and the Kurds are biding their time. The Yanks have even managed some rollback in the cleansing done to date: the piece has a quote from
Nashwan Hamid Khalil, the town's Arab interim mayor, whose eloquent protests helped persuade U.S. authorities to evict the armed Kurds who had seized Arab houses.

It also quotes
Ahmed Ali Mahmud, 52, one of a growing number of longtime Arab residents who returned to Domiz, only to sell their homes and move away for good
as saying
We are afraid that if the Americans leave this area, the Kurds will drive us out.

In less than a week, Khalil said, 66 Arab families sold their homes to Kurds.

And wouldn't you know that, according to the good old USA, this ethnic cleansing is all in aid of the great god diversity!
American officials in Domiz say the plan was to create a mixed community.

In the cause of which
Under a deal that secured the cooperation of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, a leading Kurdish faction whose members had been the squatters, houses in the village now may be sold only to Kurds.

In other words, the peshmerga were offering the Arabs a kind of 'protection' - and Uncle Sam thought they should take it!

And don't think the Army guys have lost their sense of humour: I like to think that the spokesman
Lt. Straus Scantlin, 31 [3], a civil affairs team leader with the 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Ky.
had a Rummy twinkle in the eye when he said
It's very democratic...The people who want to stay have stayed. The people who want to leave have left.

Of course, the fact that the Americans have teamed up with the KDP cutthroats - and that they are unlikely to remain one day longer than needed to set things up so that the peshmerga Cleansing Department waits for a decent interval after US departure before they get to work - do not exactly encourage local Arabs to wait around for a buyer at a proper price to come along:
People are selling at very cheap prices just to leave this place
one Arab says. That's Free Enterprise for you!

The Arabs in Domiz had it easy - in the sense that US forces decided to intervene on their behalf. The piece says
In most cases, American troops did not intervene. U.S. officials said competing land claims would be sorted out once a legal system and a political process were in place.

Another Rummy twinkle in the eye there!

And this nonintervention was not merely a temporary, wartime thing:
Col. Joe Anderson, the brigade commander in charge of U.S. forces in Mosul...wanted Mosul's recently selected city government to deal with such issues.

The Kurds are also biding their time out in the countryside, according to a piece in the Telegraph (June 4). The good ol' pesh - as apparently the US troops call them - know they will get their allies out of Kurdistan quickest by disappearing from the scene themselves.

And (Reuters June 10) 600 or so Arabs from the Suraifi tribe who were cleansed by the good ol' pesh are now holed up in the former Khan Bani Saad prison near the Iranian border!

The White Man's Burden gets no lighter....

  1. The story according to Ha'aretz (June 10) is that Bush refused to stick to the neocon script during the big Akaba pow-wow. One great zinger that I've never heard any so-called tough interviewer put over on the GOI attack-dogs: when Abu Mazen referred to Palestinian funds being blocked by Israel,
    Sharon then interrupted and said: "The insertion of new funding must be dependent on your good behavior."

    Bush was again visibly irritated: "You should release their money as soon as possible. This will help the situation."

    Sharon shook his head: "We have to deal with security first, and we will condition the release of their monies on this alone."

    Bush peered at Sharon: "But it is their money ..."

    Sharon said: "Nevertheless, Mr. President ..." and Bush interrupted him: "It is their money, give it to them."

    Of course, it may just a Jayson - but it would explain the Rantisi attack. (On which the key point is made by another Ha'aretz piece (June 11):
    This was not an operation that required hard-to-get, up-to-the-minute, intelligence information or a one-time opportunity. Rantisi's home address is not a secret, he appears in TV studios and on the street - anyone who wanted an opportunity could have seen Rantisi and Sheikh Ahmed Yassin on the main street in Gaza City on Monday having a long conversation.

    Not only was the timing of the operation deliberate - but the targeting information was such that Bush (and everyone else) would know it was deliberate. Now (as Crocodile Dundee would say) that's a Rummygram!

  2. The place exists; and, though the guy's some way off home turf, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt that he's not filing from his armchair back in Philly...

  3. Why give the guy's age? To suggest that a 31 year old who was still a lieutenant, and in civil affairs, was not perhaps the highest flyer (pun intended) in the Division?

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