Saturday, December 16, 2006

We Have Been Here Before

I am heartened by reports that President Bush is rejecting key elements of the Baker report, such as negociating with Syria and Iran. In fact, the report has come under greater critical scrutiny than I expected. Of all the critics, the ones that interest me the most are the Kurds. They oppose centralizing political power in Baghdad and negociations with Iraq's hostile neighbors, both of which are advocated in the Baker report. They also criticize the Baker group for not visiting Kurdish regions. These objections have led the Iraqi Kurdish Leader, Massoud Barzani, to declare: "We do not accept anything that opposes the constitution and the interests of the Iraqi and Kurdistan people."

Could one source of Kurdish uneasiness stem from the identity of some members of the Baker group and those who helped bring it about? The group was organized by the Foreign Policy team of the first Bush administration. This is the team that brought about the postwar settlement of the First Gulf War. The Iraqi government remained in power and many Kurds were allowed to be slaughtered. This fact cannot be lost on the Kurds as they see the western press laud the group and its report. They must be saying to themselves, "We have been down this road before with these guys. We saw where that led us. We do not want to travel that way again."

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