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Kurdistan: The Best Hope for What is Left of Iraq

Stashed in: Middle East, International Incidents

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A secret CIA dossier entitled "The Kurdish Minority Problem" has come my way. It says that "the mountain tribes known as the Kurds are now and will continue to be a factor of some importance in any strategic assessment" of the Middle East. It concludes that the Kurds are "belligerently independent, distrust the governments over them, and have stubbornly resisted efforts to disarm them or restrict in any way their relative freedom." 

The document's assertion that the Kurds "....give an initial impression of being stolid, taciturn and even stupid: the men usually appear politically naive," and frequent references to Soviet subversive activities give the game away. The document dates from December 1948 and was declassified thirty years later. 

The language of the report is archaic but is a very useful contrast with the far better situation of the Kurds today, certainly in Iraq. They have massively expanded their relative freedom: they endured and survived genocide, formed their own autonomous region, developed a vibrant economy and society, got the oil out of the ground - with gas and minerals to follow - and are the best hope for what is left of Iraq.

So does Iraq as we knew it cease to exist?

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