RealNews

A U.S. Ally Caught Between Two Goals in Iraq

If insurgency splinters the country, ethnic Kurds will have to weigh Washington’s dream of unity against their own dream of independence. The iconic image of the Kurd is a man in billowy trousers with a rifle, a knife and a will to fight to the death. He has battled throughout the generations, and Kurds say he may be called upon again. Kurds fear that Shiite and Sunni Muslim insurgencies against U.S. troops in Iraq could splinter the nation. If that happens, the Kurds — who account for just 19% of the population but control the country’s largest ethnic army — will be forced to choose between their risky dream of independence and the Bush administration’s goal of a unified Iraq. With the June 30 deadline for Iraqis to regain sovereignty little more than a month away, a U.N. envoy is putting the finishing touches on an interim government representing all of the country’s main religious and ethnic groups. Kurds are expected to hold prominent positions in the government, but they are uneasy about whether Iraq’s disparate factions can hold the country together. Full Story

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