mardi 4 mars 2008

Iraqi Kurds not ready to deliver on the PKK

Iraqi Kurdish leaders want to mend their relationships with Turkey but are still not on the same page with Ankara regarding the necessity to fight the outlawed PKK (A terrorist organisation), said a senior analyst.

Iraqi Kurds feel they are trapped between Iraqi Arabs and Iran and believe they have been let down by the Americans, said Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute.
Cagaptay was in northern Iraq last week as a delegation from the Washington-based think tank went to the region to talk with Iraqi Kurdish authorities.

The delegation was in Ankara Thursday to brief officials from the Turkish government.
Our first finding is that the Kurds have lost their numerical strength and political weight within the central Iraqi administration, said Cagaptay in an interview with the Turkish Daily News. The end of the boycott of the Iraqi parliament by Sunni Arabs seems to have eroded the numerical strength of Iraqi Kurds. Thanks to the surge of American troops, northern Iraq is no longer the only stable region in Iraq, as the rest of the country has become largely stable, despite exceptions in certain areas. Add to this fact the increasing cooperation between the United States and the Sunnis, and this explains, the erosion in Kurds' political weight, said Cagaptay.

The authorities of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) feel they bump into an Arab bloc on every issue, said Cagaptay, who held talks in Arbil, Suleymania and Dohuk. The KRG is facing a Sunni-Shiite bloc mainly on the government budget, the hydrocarbon law, and the issue of the status of Kirkuk. Payment of the salaries of the Peshmerga, the Kurdish military force, by the central administration is also an issue of contention between Baghdad and the KRG.Kurds are very disappointed that they are losing their former weight in the Iraqi central administration, said Cagaptay.

They are frustrated that their earlier gains are being reversed, he added. The new American attitude is another cause of disappointment for the Kurds. They feel they have been let down by the Americans, said Cagaptay. We were told to convey the message to the U.S. administration that Washington should not leave them.

(Source : Hurriyet English / March, 03, 2008)

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