Iraqi Kurdistan Assumes Responsibility for Security

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Cute peshmerga at the security transition ceremony

If you haven't heard about it, it is because for all intents and purposes a news blackout has been imposed on this event. No Defense press release. No CENTCOM press release.

Why? Who knows?

The three Iraqi provinces that make up Iraqi Kurdistan, Sulaimaniyah, Arbil and Dohuk, took responsibility for their own security operations yesterday.

According to DoD these three provinces join four other provinces, Maysan, Muthanna, Dhi Qar, and Najaf, now completely responsible for providing their own security.

Read on.

According to Agence France Presse:

In a blaze of pomp showcasing Kurdish military muscle, US forces handed over responsibility for security in Iraq's three northern provinces to the Kurdish regional government on Wednesday.

Iraq's Kurds have long cherished separatist ambitions and, while officials said the region will work closely with the national government in Baghdad, the symbolism of the moment was not lost on the former guerrilla fighters.

"It's a sort of independence," Colonel Shadman Ali of the peshmerga, the Kurdish security force, told AFP. "We are very glad and proud and have been waiting for this day for so long. It gives us a great source of hope."

I was on a conference call this morning with USAF Major General Kurt Cichowski on the security transition in Iraqi Kurdistan this morning and must admit that more questions were raised than answered about the situation in Kurdistan, internal and external.

The role of the peshmerga were played down while AFP's story and photo array highlight it. Maybe the peshmerga, or what is termed CPA-91 militias, were just more colorful.

He and his deputy, British Brigadier Neil Baverstock, denied stories that peshmerga had checkpoints and were turning back all Arabs from entering the area. From the transcript:

BRIG. BAVERSTOCK: I don't know how they can actually close the border. There is no border between the Kurdish region and the rest of Iraq, and there are checkpoints but there are checkpoints in a lot of places, and those checkpoints are there for internal security reasons. They're perfectly legitimate, and we've heard no reports they're actually turning people away on the basis of their ethnicity.

Q Okay.

Q Sir, it's with all due respect -- this is David Axe -- I've been to Kurdistan twice and I think that's not true. The checkpoints do turn Arabs away.


GEN. CICHOWSKI: Well, gosh, that would be interesting because I have to tell you that's one of the issues that we have talked a lot about, and there are Kurds on our committee. There are Kurds that have come down and visited us and our going out there -- that's certainly an area that we will look into but I will tell you from the internal that we have not heard that.

Regardless, this is a positive accomplishment. Now seven of 18 provinces are under Iraqi rule for all purposes. The stability and the economy of Iraqi Kurdistan offer a stabilizing influence in Northern Iraq which will allow the local authorities to deal with the PKK problem.

Of course, the transference of security responsibility to these three provinces at once is laden with symbolic independence. But I think the noises being made by Turkey and Iran will probably convince the Kurdish political leadership that their future lies in a unified Iraq rather than in declaring independence and becoming the slowest wildebeest at the waterhole.

Organisers had planned to raise the Iraqi national flag to symbolise the transfer of authority but many Kurds wanted to raise their own regional flag, a horizontal tricolour of orange, white and green with a golden sun motif.

In the end, no flag was raised.

So the jury is still out.

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Iraqi Kurdistan Assumes Responsibility for Security 18 Comments (0 topical, 18 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

Not the least bit surprising why the partisan media would not carry that, since it reflects favorably on the US, the military, Bush, the GWOT - i.e., the left's enemies. Ya know, gotta keep plugging that body count.

But it's a strange and nuanced situation that bears watching. Very good read, and also good to know since yes, I was totally unaware that this handover happened.

It's war -- so when can we start shooting back at the enemy Democrats?

will lead "Iraqi Kurdistan Assumes Responsibility for Its Own Quagmire."

Envisioning when all that is Left is the Right.

Or "Mean Bush makes Iraqi Kurdistan be responsible"

Real change requires real change. -Newt Gingrich

of running dog Yankee imperialists.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

"Bush Cuts Kurdistan Loose - Ethnic Minority Province On Its Own"

The media may be left-leaning, but they're not that stupid (except on the op-ed pages).

"To all those whom I have not yet offended: Please stand by, and I will work to remedy the situation as soon as possible."

Patiently waiting for a Fred Thompson / John Engler ticket.

just in case you're interested.

"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

The story of Iraqi Kurdistan is one that everyone should know of . While the MSM has its obvious faults for not reporting this, isn't this what Pres. Bush should be stumping on?

"In war, my dear friends, there's no such thing as compromise. You either win or you lose."
-John McCain

of good things adding to the right direction in Iraq. Yet much needs to be done this summer as relates to the new strategy (surge) and the final installment of additional troops now coming together. I am hoping that General Petraeus will engage the enemy in Iraq with John McCain's words above in his mind!

The World's Ruined

Great news, but to be honest with you I assumed the Kurds had security control over their region years ago- but all the same great news!

I have one question though- I seem to remember reading about Iraqi "federal" troops not being allowed in "Kurdistan"- is that true- does anyone know?

I asked about that on the conference call.

There are 3 Iraqi Army divisions with zones of operation that include Iraqi Kurdistan. Two of the divisions are made up of soldiers from all over Iraq. One of the divisions is majority Kurd.

"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

I'm glad to hear there are mixed Iraqi divisions in Kurdistan-

I don't know, something about the look and the passion is kind of a turn on.

Here are some links to other reports of this story.
The last link contains the following...

The US military confirmed the handover in an invitation to the event sent out to local media.

Very strange that no US or international media seem to have been included.

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it. -T. Jefferson

Don't know that I ever mentioned it, but my wife is an Arab. Hot.

who inspired me to learn to read and write Arabic, a tall Christian doctor living in Damascus. She disappeared from the introduction service during that time but that was my motivation. This was in the year 2000 when things were different, just before Arafat's last intifada and shortly after Bashar took over from Hafez Assad and there was some belief that things might be on the right track.

Actually, there's a woman behind every attempt of mine to take on a new language. Somehow it motivates me more than money or any other incentive.

We don't hear much about Kurdistan in the MSM, probably because it is, for the most part, a success story. Of all places, 60 Minutes had a highly informative piece on Kurdistan (search for Kurdistan strives for autonomy), breaking a virtual MSM blackout on the region. Their "president" seems politically savvy. They'd love to break off from Iraq but they know they face huge risks in doing so.

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