October 5, 2006

STRATEGYPAGE ON WHY THE KURDS ARE DOING BETTER than the rest of Iraq:

When asked, Kurds attribute their peaceful neighborhood to the fact that Kurds are not Arabs. But this is not the main reason, for the Kurds have, in the past, been as factious and violent as the Iraqi Arabs are now. But during the 1990s, when the U.S. and Britain agreed to keep Saddam’s forces out of the north (to prevent another large scale massacre of Kurds), the Kurds sorted out their differences and learned the benefits of cooperation and law and order. In effect, the Kurds had a ten year head start on the rest of Iraq, in the “how to create peace and democracy” department. The Iraqi Arabs, Sunni and Shia, who come north on business, or for a vacation, note this. The Arabs believe they are superior to the Kurds (“a bunch of hillbillies,” to most Arabs), and find it irritating that the Kurds have made things work, while down south, especially in central Iraq, things are still a mess. Given another seven years, the Iraqi Arabs will probably catch up. But this is not a popular solution to the “Iraq problem,” and no career-conscious journalist is going to talk about it.

You can hear Michael Totten talk about Kurdistan in our podcast interview from last week.

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