On Monday of this week, what had been feared transpired: Paramilitary units supported by elements of the Iraqi army attacked in the vicinity of Kirkuk.
Baghdad’s putatively federal army put into action the threats of the country’s leaders and, at the risk of ruining any chance of future coexistence with the Kurds, responded to the peaceful referendum of Sept. 25 with a dumbfounding and vengeful act of force.
Not long ago, it was Saddam Hussein operating with gas and deportations. And then on Monday Saddam’s Shiite successors, answering to Tehran, sent tanks, artillery, and Katyusha rockets into the oil fields that are the lifeblood of Kurdistan. Today they are doing the same in the Sinjar mountains, in the southern city of Jalawla, and in the Bashiqa area on the Plain of Nineveh, which the Kurds only just reclaimed from ISIS.
Of course, this disaster would not have occurred had the Kurds not been tragically divided. We know today that Baghdad’s quick victory is largely due to what President Masoud Barzani, in a statement released Oct. 17, called the “treason” of several commanders loyal to the PUK, the party founded by Barzani’s old rival, former President Talabani. The Iraqi-Iranian coalition was able to take advantage of these dissensions, using the commanders close to Talabani as Trojan horses to gain entry to Kirkuk and other targets. Be that as it may, the main issue—and the real scandal—lies in the fact that the central government of the pseudo-state of Iraq, whose sovereignty consists of little more than vague and hollow rhetoric, have used force to crush the country’s Kurdish citizens.
And now, scandal mounts around the fact that Kurdistan’s “friends,” the countries that for two years running relied on it to keep the Islamic State at bay and then to defeat it, the people who swore by the Peshmerga, by its heroes and by its dead, have, as I write these lines, responded with nothing more than deafening silence, appearing willing to abandon to their fate the men and women who fought so valiantly for them...