Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Good News From Iraq

I’m not trying to give credence to the Far Right’s favorite mantra, but there actually IS some good news from Iraq. No, our soldiers aren’t being greeted as liberators, and the insurgency isn’t on its last legs.

The Kurds of Northern Iraq are doing better than ever. Their economy is one of the strongest in the Middle East. The Iraqi Kurds are pushing development and Westernization, and they’re attracting investors from all over the Middle East, Europe and the United States.

The Kurdistan Development Corporation intends to “raise awareness of the Kurdistan region among the grassroots of America, to make people aware that the Kurdistan region exists — some people still mix us up with Kyrgyzstan and Kazahkstan — and that the region is peaceful and stable, and we are rebuilding.”

One spokesperson says Americans “haven’t heard the story, the heroic story, of Iraqi Kurdistan. It’s a virtual oasis in the middle of an area with pretty nasty neighbors.”

Another Kurdish group has a website which invites tourists and investors to “a place where the universities, markets, cafes and fair grounds buzz with progress and prosperity.”

Along with modernizing, they’re also hoping to bring more tourists to their museums, mosques and 12th century architecture.

The region has its problems. The government is a police state and is totally corrupt (this is the Middle East after all). An American Middle East scholar said that investing in Kurdistan is “sort of like investing in Chicago in the 1930s. It’s not a capitalist paradise yet.”

It isn’t perfect but it’s one of the few bright spots in the Middle East.


Blogger Ricardo said...

Yes I heard that these guys were doing pretty well. That part of Iraq has almost no insurgent violence either. They also don't seem to hate us much.

November 15, 2006 at 11:58 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Ricardo: Yeah, so far I don't think the Kurds hate us. I hope Bush doesn't find a way to change that.

November 15, 2006 at 2:01 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

It wouldn't surprise me if Kurdistan became an independent country. They probably aren't far from being ready for independence... I understand the Turks don't want in independent Kurdistan, though. Maybe trying to preserve Iraq as a nation, with autonomous regions, might work better. Who knows? I am really hoping the Democrats have some ideas about this, and that the Iraq group will have some recommendations Bush will listen to.

November 15, 2006 at 7:17 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: I don’t think independence is gonna happen any time soon for the Kurds. Their “turf” covers an area about the size of Texas, and it’s spread over 5 countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Turkey and Armenia. I think Turkey has always had the most hostility toward them, but I don’t think any of those countries are willing to let them secede and form their own nation.

I guess we’ll see what happens. I’m glad they’re doing better than most of that region.

November 15, 2006 at 8:06 PM  
Blogger PoliShifter said...

I hope it stays that way.

Turkey recently warned that if if Iraq is partioned into 3 states (Kurdistan, Sunnistan, Shi'astan) that there may be heck to pay.

Turkey has a problem with Kurds. They also have a large population of Kurds in Southern Turkey. I don't know what the problem is exactly but I hope Kurdistan can continue to flourish.

November 16, 2006 at 3:43 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

PoliShifter: Yeah, Turkey will probably be the biggest obstacle to the Kurds forming a nation. They may be better off just being an unofficial region and attracting as many tourists and investors as they can.

November 16, 2006 at 4:29 PM  
Blogger citizen shelly said...

Here is a great little video on Kurdistan that a friend of mine did...


he went there last year. He took all the photos himself too.

November 16, 2006 at 6:49 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Citizen Shelly: Thanks for the link. The connection didn't work too well; lots of stopping and pausing. That's probably because my internet connection has been slow the last few days because of storms in the area. I'll try again.

That sounds like an interesting trip. I've been to Turkey and Iran (not recently) but never to the Kurdish area of either country.

November 16, 2006 at 7:31 PM  
Blogger Jolly Roger said...

What does Kurdiatan have to do with anything? They'd been doing well for 12 years BEFORE El Shrubbo launched his Great Patriotic War on Iraq.

That war has made the future of Kurdistan wobbly at best, non-existent at worst. Iran and Turkey are already cooperating when it comes to containing them, and Turkey has been ready to invade for years now. In addition, Kirkuk is almost certainly going to become a flashpoint for war between the Arabs and Kurds.

November 17, 2006 at 3:43 AM  
Blogger Jenn of the Jungle said...

I think that's wonderful, thanks for posting it.

November 17, 2006 at 12:07 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jolly Roger: The Kurds' success doesn't have anything to do with our 2003 Iraqi invasion. I just think it's poetic that a huge tribe that's been persecuted for generations is now doing better than most of its persecutors.

I cross-posted this at Bring It On! and a lot of rightwingers came storming in to say this vindicates our 2003 invasion and Dubya gets all the credit. What a crock. The 2 articles that I based this post on (I only linked to one of them) both said the Kurds' resurgence is because of our 1991 Iraqi invasion (which I was also against at the time). Bush 41 gets credit; his idiot bastard son gets none.

Jenn: Thanks, glad you liked it.

November 17, 2006 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

"I just think it's poetic that a huge tribe that's been persecuted for generations is now doing better than most of its persecutors."

Me thinks that sounds a lot like the Israeli's.

November 17, 2006 at 1:43 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Sure, there are some parallels; and some differences too.

November 17, 2006 at 4:59 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Tom, that was a nice Zappa reference:

"idiot bastard son"!

Thanks! Frank was a great man, in my not-so-humble opinion.

A fellow blogger, Damien Morgan, has been traveling in Iran and Afghanistan. At his excellent weblog "Couch Warfare", he has posted some pictures from his travels and some interesting information about those countries. Damien is also an extremely talented artist, with a very bright sense for left wing political issues. Please visit his weblog at


Damien is also an extremely talented artist, with a good sense for left wing political issues.

November 18, 2006 at 9:58 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: Cool! I thought “idiot bastard son” was a Frank Zappa title but I wasn’t sure. He was great. I have “Weasels Ripped My Flesh” and “Live at the Roxy.” I’ll probably end up getting lots of his other albums, since they’re all collector’s items now.

That’s a great link; thanks. I’ve seen his name in your comments pages, but I guess I just never followed the link to his site. I traveled over-land in the mid-’70s from Amsterdam to India. He’s probably going through a lot of the exact same places I was in. Iran and Afghanistan were sure a lot different 30 years ago. A lot more dangerous and hostile now undoubtedly.

November 19, 2006 at 1:09 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

Ahhh! "Live at Roxy and Elsewhere"!

"She's just like a penguin in bondage, boy... ooooh yeah, ooooh yeah, oooooh!"

"In the back of the bus, by the thirty-third seat, by the doo-doo room, with the reek replete..."

And re. the giant poodle dog, Frunobulax: "We can't let it reproduce! Somebody get out the pants!!"

And all the while, the band is playing amazing music behind those silly words. Frankie, we hardly knew ye.

November 19, 2006 at 1:55 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: Yeah, Zappa had some brilliant music to go with all those zany lyrics and sound effects. On that song about Frunobulax, it starts off with 3 or 4 fifties-rock songs juxtaposed on top of each other; sort of Buddy Holly meets Arnold Schoenberg. Totally mind-bending. “Weasels Ripped My Flesh” had some excellent jazz playing; some wicked trumpet and sax solos.

November 19, 2006 at 4:41 PM  
Blogger BaxterWatch said...

Isn't most of the oil drilling done in the Kurd controlled areas? That would be reason #1 why no one wants the Kurds to form their own country. They all want a peice of the crude oil pie.

November 21, 2006 at 7:02 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Baxterwatch: Yes, the Iraqi Kurdish region is loaded with oil. I don't know if this is related to their not being a country. They've been persecuted and ostracized for generations (by Turkey more than anyone else). This goes back much further than the energy crisis and the high price of oil.

But that's a good point -- if the Kurds' neighbors ever agreed to let them form their own country, the Western Powers might intervene for that exact reason.

November 21, 2006 at 12:02 PM  

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