Sign the petition for Iraq's three-region solution September 23, 2008 "Iraq" 

Kurdishaspect.com - By Peter Stitt 

Did I not say recently in an article that American voices should be listened to but should be treated with caution?  The Iraqi army's recent "anti-Kurdish" operations, for that is what they are, the developments in Diyala Province and particularly Khanaqin represent a step backwards away from democracy on the part of the Iraqi government.  It also represents a betrayal of promises made. 

The American government is supporting a regime that is now doing a "U-turn" on the agreed de-Arabisation of areas such as Khanaqin and Kirkuk, an administration that is now denying people of the most basic and necessary right to self determination. 

What do the Americans and the Brits want?  To get the hell out of the area and to be able to say that they left the place with a stable government.  They will leave as ignorant of the religious, cultural and ethnic divisions that exist in the illegitimate state of Iraq as they were when they entered in 2003.  The Americans have their election and their "credit crunch", with their government financially propping up greedy Wall Street bankers at the American tax payers' expense.  In Britain we have a similarly inward looking leadership just trying to survive.  Do they care about Kurds?  Shia Arabs?  Sunni Arabs? Turkomen?  Assyrians?  Alawi?  Not at all, it's domestic business as usual. 

Nearly one hundred years ago Sevres and Lausanne ensured another hundred years of dispute in the area.  That was down largely to the British and the French with a huge nudge from the Turkish hero Kemal Ataturk who was a great leader for the Turks but was very clever at making those around lose out.  Now is very different, the western powers have little direct control over the government of the area and simply want to get their soldiers home so it is up to the people of the area known formally as "Iraq" to decide the region's future.  Can the leadership in Baghdad come up with anything better than those idiotic colonial powers did in 1923? 

Mr Maliki, I challenge you to reverse your current policy regarding those regions affected by "Arabisation" during the Saddam years and withdraw Iraqi troops and hold referenda in each area to decide the region of "Iraq" to which these areas wish to belong to.  If you do not do so then you are breaking your word, you are denying people their innate and moral right to self-determination, and you are sewing the seeds for another hundred years of dispute. 

To the Kurdish communities in those areas I would issue a request that they make closer links with minority groups within those areas to negotiate as equal citizens and find common grounds, common aims and a vision for the future in each of the areas concerned so that all ethnic communities within those areas might flourish under affiliation with the Kurdish Regional Government.  "Enemies" fester and become worse and more hardened enemies if there is no communication but "enemies" can become friends when you sit and talk and realise you want the same things for yourselves and your children.  Look at the English with the Scots and the Irish.  It does work.  I am not being blindly idealistic.  I've seen it happen on the street, I've made it happen on the street.... 

The bottom line is that this is up to "Iraq" whatever "Iraq" might mean to people.  America and Britain simply want out without leaving chaos.  A peaceful and equitable settlement is possible if people stand by their word (Mr Maliki) and everybody sits down to talk at a regional level and does so honestly and in good faith.  There must be potential leaders on all sides (Kurd, Turkoman etc) who can see clearly through the crap of the past and realise that the only way forward is together.  The KRG, for all of its failings, has an excellent record of looking after ethnic and religious minorities.  I pray to Allah/God (same boss to me), for all the decent and good people in the disputed areas, that sensible leaders can come together and sort this out.  I can say in all honesty that, as a Scottish/Irish Roman Catholic, I would feel completely free and equal as a citizen (should I ever be granted that honour) to walk within areas controlled by the Kurdish Regional Government even though I am one of the KRG's most outspoken critics.  As a Scottish/Irish man, I would be proud to have Kurdish citizenship.  Surely it should not be so difficult for a Turkoman if he or she enjoyed the same rights as Kurds (and that is what is on offer) to accept the same regional government? 

In any negotiations I would advise the parties to use mothers as their representatives.  They are the ones who go through nine months of carrying the weight of a baby, then the agony of child birth, and then years of caring for and building the child and then they see their offspring destroyed due to some regional or area conflict.  Who has more right to make such decisions? 

I think it is now fairly common knowledge that I see "Iraq" as three separate nations but, working with what we have got, surely the people are the most important issue and therefore self-determination seems paramount.  Mr Maliki, we are waiting for the referenda you promised.  Get your troops out of Diyala Province and get the ballot boxes in there as soon as possible. 

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