November 29, 2004

The Kurds Are Alright

Like everyone else following Iraq who speaks poor Arabic, I rely on IWPR's Iraqi Press Monitor for all my Iraqi Press needs. Today's edition has an interesting item from Al-Adala, SCIRI's main newspaper:
Head of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq Abdul Aziz al-Hakim last Saturday met with Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zibari to discuss the issue of elections in detail. The minister, who is a leading figure in the Democratic Party of Kurdistan, emphasised that the Kurdish parties do not accept postponement of the elections as had been reported by different media, and that they would deny any such claim. Zibari added that the transitional administrative law gave no one the right to postpone the elections.
Now previously it was thought the Kurds wanted to postpone elections, which makes senseā€”if a January 30th date means that Sunnis may not participate, then the National Assembly will be dominated by Shiites, which would in turn weaken the Kurdish bargaining position. (If the Shia get over 75 percent of the vote they can modify the constitution at will -- it's like having two thirds majorities in the House and Senate.)

But now the Kurds are saying "bring it on!" Um, why? Maybe they have reason to think the Shiite leaders will prove amenable to their demands. That's encouraging. Or maybe they're just confident that, no matter what happens on January 30th, they still have the best-trained troops in Iraq and they can get their way regardless. That's... not so encouraging.
-- Brad Plumer 4:07 AM || ||