Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Monday, January 27, 2003

Remember that if we follow the path France and Germany desire, it would be a short time before the push for an end to sanctions and an end to the Northern and Southern no-fly zones, which would leave the millions living in those regions open to Saddam's wrath. The Kurds know this and they know what Saddam's wrath entails. Understandably they are fully in support of a war to end his regime.

Kardo Anwar, a nervous 24-year-old in his best suit, ties a bouquet of white roses to the hood of his father's blue Opel as he waits to drive his new bride to their wedding banquet.

When talk switches to the possibility of war, he stops fidgeting and grows steely. ''Let it begin right now,'' says Anwar, a member of Iraq's Kurd ethnic group, which has long been persecuted by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (news - web sites).

The estimated 4 million Kurds living in northern Iraq are riveted by the diplomatic endgame being played out between the United States and Iraq. In bazaars and in their homes, they leave little doubt that they have had enough of United Nations (news - web sites) weapons inspections and a bellyful of French and German resistance to any war. They are disappointed by anti-war demonstrations and bitter about a lack of support from other Muslims. Most of all, they're impatient with debate over whether it's time to crush Saddam.

''Our only fear is that Saddam will get another chance,'' says Fouad Baban, a physician and professor in Sulaymaniyah, an administrative capital of one of two Kurdish regional governments in northern Iraq.

Mullah Mohammad Amid Chamchamaly, a leading Kurdish cleric, says there is no doubt Saddam has banned weapons. ''He has already used them on us repeatedly. Why are the inspectors wasting time asking Iraqi officials where the weapons are?'' he asks.

Asked whether his government is working with U.S. forces, Abdulkadir smiles and gestures to a bowl of fruit in his office. ''Have a banana,'' he says.

Kurds can't afford to see Saddam remain in power, and neither can the United States, says Chamchamaly, the cleric. If the United States holsters its guns and leaves the dictator in place, he says, ''nobody will ever trust you again.''

< email | 1/27/2003 11:27:00 AM | link

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