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The Position In Kurdistan

While always being wary of Judith Miller's objectivity and the integrity of the senior sources who use her as a mouthpiece, I have to say that her latest effort -- Kurdistan, in WSJ's Opinion Journal -- left me feeling better informed than I had been before I read it.  I was particularly interested in the signs of economic revival in the region. 

"Kurdistan is literally exploding with confidence and new projects befitting its ambitions: Almost $2 billion in Turkish trade and investment--the result, partly, of his outreach to Ankara--is financing the construction the Middle East's largest new conference center, a new international airport, hotels, parks, bridges, tunnels, overpasses, a refinery and an electrical plant. The Kurdistan Development Council is even advertising Kurdistan as a tourist destination. There are over 70 direct flights a week to the region's two airports from the Middle East and Europe."

However, strangely to us,

most cities still provide only two to three hours of electricity a day. The rest comes from private generators, which the poor can ill afford.

An interesting read.  She seems, though, to downplay the importance of what may happen with regard to Kirkuk.  Not so this article by Michael Howard for the Guardian.

"There are few more sensitive issues in Iraq today than what happens to Kirkuk," said a Western diplomat in Iraq who works closely with the issue. "All eyes are on it, and all the ingredients for either consensual agreement or a devastating discord are there. If Kirkuk survives, then there's hope for Iraq" ...

Colonel Patrick Stackpole, who commands 5000 US troops in a province of about 1.5 million people, said the "violence is mainly by outsiders, though undoubtedly they have facilitators inside the city.  "Jihadis from east and west, belonging to groups such as Ansar al-Islam and Ansar al-Sunnah, are targeting the city, trying to stoke civil war," he said. "But there's also a large element of former regime loyalists who don't want the city to succeed."

The problem with Iraq, I believe, is that the worst is yet to come.

October 29, 2006 in America Inc, Bush Administration, Current Affairs, Iraq | Permalink

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