That’s what’s happening in Iraqi Kurdistan right now. Here is a YouTube video (graphic) of KDP forces in Chamchamal firing into a crowd, reportedly killing a 12-year-old boy. The United States is going to lose all credibility in Iraqi Kurdistan if it does not demand an explanation from regional leader Masud Barzani, as well as from Qubad Talabani, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s representative in Washington. Iraqi Kurdistan may call itself a democracy, but Masud Barzani should realize that what is depicted here is not what democracies do; it is what Muammar Qaddafi does.
The issue is not just Kurdistan; regional leaders are drawing lessons about accountability from the revolutions. Some, like the King of Jordan, are trying to speed up reform. Others, like Qaddafi, are cracking down harder. It is now apparent that some moderate leaders, like Barzani, have concluded not that they should embrace reform but rather that they should crack down without mercy. If this is not the lesson Obama wants the moderate rulers in the Middle East to draw, he has to speak up now and not, as in Libya, wait until the body count is in the thousands.