Friday, January 12, 2007

Bush Is Also Irritating the Kurds

About the only allies we truly have in Iraq are the Kurds and Bush came close to undoing our good relations with them when he ordered the attack on the Iranian consulate (that's the kind of thing that can only come from the top). Juan Cole has an article in Salon; here's an excerpt on the near disaster with the Kurds:
The consulate raid, meanwhile, seems to have alienated some of America's best friends. Members of the Kurdistan Regional Government maintain that the Americans did not contact them about this operation beforehand, and Kurdish leaders protested the raid. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, who is of Kurdish heritage, said on the Al-Arabiyah satellite television channel, "What happened ... was very annoying because there has been an Iranian liaison office there for years and it provides services to the citizens."

The U.S. definitely failed to coordinate the raid with Kurdish security forces. When American troops went to the airport, the Kurdish peshmerga who were guarding it, alarmed at the approach of unauthorized foreign troops, came very close to firing on them. Whether or not the raid was intended to provoke Iran, it almost turned into yet another Bush gambit with unforeseen, disastrous consequences. The fallout from a big firefight between U.S. soldiers and the Kurdistan paramilitary could have been serious, since Kurds are among the few strongly pro-American populations left in Iraq.

Americans in the November elections gave George W. Bush a vote of no confidence. A majority of Americans no longer trust the president. Bush's failure to listen to his own nation is hardly an example of democracy. The failure to listen to the Iraqis is also a poor example of democracy. Congress must make clear in the strongest terms that we expect a rational policy and that Bush cannot, and must not, begin a war with Iran at this time. Bush, and Bush alone, is responsible for his failures and trying to find others to blame for his Iraq fiasco is not in our national interest.

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