Friday, November 23, 2012

Like They Don't Have Enough Problems Already

The Iraqi government and the Kurdish regional government continue to throw elbows at their border. I worry more about this development than I do of Iran dominating the Iraqi government.

We're trying to dampen the crisis, but without our troops up there to be a physical buffer and reassurance to both parties, can we cope yet again?

Talks to defuse a standoff between Iraqi troops and forces from the country's autonomous Kurdish region made little progress on Thursday with both sides further reinforcing positions on their disputed internal border. ...

Washington intervened to end a similar standoff in August and is now again in contact with Iraqi and Kurdish officials to ease tension mounting over the formation of a new command center for Iraqi forces to operate in the disputed areas.

The Kurds need to be patient. They are landlocked. Do they really want to count on the Turks to provide their access to the outside world? Or Iran? If the Kurds are to have an independent state, they need good enough relations with Turkey, Iran, and Iraq so that at least two out of three are interested in competing for Kurdish foreign trade.

In time, the rest of Iraq may be doing well enough to think the Kurds can separate and there will be no ill will. Czechoslovakia broke up peacefully, after all.

Until then, the Kurds of Iraq need to be part of a unified Iraq that gets along well enough with the central government. I hope we have the capacity and interest to buy time for things to work out.

As for the central government. Really? Syriam Iran, al Qaeda, and corruption aren't sufficiently difficult to cope with already?