RealNews

Kurd Underground Prepares to Fight

Kurdish militia leaders in northern Iraq have begun intense preparations for participating in a war against President Saddam Hussein’s government despite repeated pledges to heed U.S. appeals to stay out of the way. Officials from the two main Kurdish political and military organizations here say their uniformed militiamen will remain in defensive positions across this 17,000-square-mile zone, which they have run autonomously for the last decade. But they also say an armed Kurdish underground already in place will be activated to rise up in territory farther south, which is still controlled by Hussein’s administration, particularly in the strategic city of Kirkuk. Moreover, they say, Kurdish refugees who have sought a haven here plan to return south with arms in case they need to fight their way back to their home villages in the Kirkuk region and beyond. Apparently aware of the Kurdish plans, Iraqi government officials have begun to round up Kurdish youths in the Kirkuk area to head off the uprising, refugees from Iraqi-run territory said. Kurdish officials said about 600 Kurds have arrived and sought asylum over the past three days. Most were men. Women who fled said their male relatives were hiding or planning to arrive in the near future. Full Story

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