Commentary Magazine


Contentions

End the Thuggery in Iraqi Kurdistan

Today was Day 60 of protests in Iraqi Kurdistan. The protests erupted after Masud Barzani’s forces fired into a crowd after Kurds holding a demonstration of solidarity with the people of Tunisia and Egypt. The Iraqi Kurdish president apparently believes that, with international attention focused on Libya and Syria, he has free reign to crack the heads of anyone who dares to question his family’s rule and its embezzlement of Kurdish assets. Today, his militia sought to disperse the protestors by force. Meanwhile, Facebook reports suggest that Kurdistan Democratic Party militias have attacked protestors in the Kurdish capital of Erbil with knives and clubs, and that opposition parliamentarian Muhammad Kiyani has been seriously injured.

There’s a noxious mix in Iraqi Kurdistan of America’s own making. On one hand, the White House remains largely silent about Kurdish human rights and their struggle for freedom and democracy. On the other, former U.S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and former Coalition Provisional Authority official Dick Naab now do high-profile business with Barzani, and CPA-era Colonel Harry Schute now advises the security forces engaged in the bloody crackdown.

Given the behavior of Khalilzad, Naab, and Schute (and Peter Galbraith before them), Kurds would be right to be paranoid that American officials will turn a blind eye toward their oppression in the hope of keeping their own golden parachutes open. So long as the White House remains silent on Barzani’s assaults on journalists and the murders of students, the Kurds will assume that Obama’s commitment to human rights is cynical, and that senior National Security Council officials—and perhaps Vice President Biden himself—ingratiate themselves to Barzani only so that they might finance their retirement with Kurdish oil.

That’s not good for America’s image, but there is an easy remedy: It’s time for the Obama administration and Congress to demand an end to government-sponsored thuggery in Iraqi Kurdistan.



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.