Kurdish Kirkuk

The Future of Tamin Province and the Future of Iraq,” by Spencer Ackerman, Iraq’d, http://www.tnr.com/blog/iraqd?pid=2501, 20 January 2005.

Great, great, great news out of Iraq.

One of the tragedies of Ba’athi rule was the ongoing ethnic cleansing programs instituted by Saddam. Ancient cities, including the Kurdish city of Kirkuk, were cleared of Kurds are “Arabized.” In great, great, great news, the Iraqi government has announced that Kurds returning to Kirkuk can vote in the upcoming elections.

This all but guarantees the Kirkuk will eventually be the capital city of a future Kurdistan

THE FUTURE OF TAMIM PROVINCE AND THE FUTURE OF IRAQ: It’s looking more and more like the most important election on January 30 won’t be the one that determines control of Baghdad. It’ll be the one that determines who controls the northern province of Tamim. And a decision by the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq makes that a foregone conclusion.

Tamim is the province that contains the multiethnic and oil-rich city of Kirkuk, which is claimed by Arabs, Turkmen and especially Kurds. The province has a population of about 1.2 million people, split roughly evenly between Arabs and Kurds. That equivalence, however, is in no small measure the result of Saddam Hussein’s genocide of the Kurds, which encouraged Arabs to move into formerly Kurdish areas. The Kurdish leadership, which routinely refers to Kirkuk as the Jerusalem of the Kurdish people, has as a first-tier objective the control of the city.

Control of the city is tied up in control of Tamim province. Since the invasion of Iraq, a delicate ethnic balance has held over the 40-seat provincial council: Fifteen seats have gone to the Kurds, eleven to Arabs, nine to Turkmen, and seven to Christians, with the remainder distributed amongst smaller factions. But also since the invasion, tens of thousands of Kurdish refugees have been returning to Kirkuk and the surrounding areas; in several cases, returning Kurds have in turn created Arab refugees. The electoral status of these refugees has been in question for months. Recently, the Kurdish leadership threatened to boycott the provincial election entirely unless their refugees were enfranchised in Tamim. This caused no end of bitterness among Kirkuk’s Turkmen and Arabs.

On Saturday, the Iraqi electoral commission, apparently deciding that the risk of a Kurdish boycott was unacceptable, announced a deal allowing up to 100,000 Kurdish refugees to vote in Tamim province. The deal effectively guarantees that the Kurds will dominate the Tamim council and the prized city it contains. And that, in turn, has massive implications for the future of Iraq: Under the Transitional Administrative Law, the final status of Kirkuk–that is, whether it is or isn’t part of Kurdistan–will be determined after the ratification of a permanent constitution and the holding of a census in the province and the city. That census is now guaranteed to show a Kurdish majority. As George Packer recently wrote in The New Yorker, what comes next is “a foregone conclusion”:

[T]he province of [Tamim] will vote to join the autonomous region of Kurdistan, and the city will go with it.

The article goes on with typically inane warnings of a civil war. There is a civil war on, now. Denying there is one, and preventing pro-democracy forces from achieving there due, is little more than pro-insurgent appeasement.

Europe on Red States

The American Scheme erm… I mean dream,” by Metin Danny Balli, et al, The Depixion, Metin Danny Balli, http://thedepixion.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/01/14/the_american_scheme_erm_i_mean_dream.html, 20 January 2005.

A fascinating discussion on the “red state phenomenon” on a blog hosted by a Britisher. It swings into UK politics a bit, but its very well worth checking out.

While at it check out Chad’s and my take on Red State welfare, or Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 of my discussion of the President’s second inaugural address.

Aborting Democracy

The abortion battle was decided centuries ago,” by Chad M Schuldt, tdaxp, http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/01/16/if_that_isn_t_right.html, 20 January 2005.

(Apologies to anyone experiencing problems with the site. BlogSpirit is acting up again. But as its free, I shouldn’t be complaining. 🙂 )

Chad believes we should not go back centuries on abortion laws

The abortion battle was decided centuries ago. There are going to be situations where women want to end pregnancies. It is unfortunate. Should we put them in jail? Their doctors? I say we work to make this tragedy as rare and as safe as possible instead of attempting to legislate morality.

We should not go back centuries. We should rejoin the world and outlaw infanticide. Some Europe abortion laws.

Britain – legal up to 24 week
Denmark – legal on demand through the 12th week.
Germany – legal only after counseling, which may come from a church, the Red Cross, of the government
Ireland – illegal
Italy – illegal after 12th week
Poland – legal only for strict medical reasons
Romania – legal through the 12th week.
Spain – legal up to 12 weeks in cases of rape, deformed baby, or danger to the mother’s life or mental health.
Switzerland – legal only to save the life of the mother

There’s a difference between legislating morality and legalizing infanticide. I personally oppose the murder of human beings, and bank robberies, burglary. I also believe those actions should be criminal.

None of these countries have the hysterics on either side we have, because their laws are generally agreed on by the people through their legislatures. In the United States, we suffered under a judicial tyranny that it may take a century get over. I oppose South Dakota’s proposed law as such, but I understand that such counterextremism is a natural byproduct of Warren’s murderous recklessness.

The World in Summary

India and Israel strengthen military ties.

Red China allows citizen to use and read TypePad blogs.

Vietnam applauds U.S. trade relations, but complains about rules regarding catfish-dumping.

Dozens die in another Salafist-Baathist terror bombing.

There is a growing, interconnected world that peacefully pursues trade, freedom, and democracy. Not everyone is at the same place, but everyone is on the right track.

While the tribal neo-Klansmen of Iraq kill people to drive out the world. To [re]impose a hateful tyranny on the masses who despire them.

We are fighting for the free world — for the globalized world. Our enemies fight against it.

The Customer Wins

Damascus prostitutes go to war,” Al Bawaba, http://www.albawaba.com/en/news/178725, 4 January 2005.

In a price war, the customer wins

The fall of Stalinist Iraq has disrupted the certain aspects of the Syrian service sector, as newly mobile Iraqis create a lower equilibrium wage

In recent months, the whores working in Damascus have complained about the “aggressive conquering” of their clientele by foreign workers. The market of whores, as well as other markets, has suffered due to the wave of immigration from neighboring Iraq.

Businesses often resort to FUD — fear, uncertainly, and doubt, to discourage competition. Globalization and expanding free trade means competitors can come from anywhere. “Microsoft Internet Explorer will give you viruses.” So will Iraqi Irene

In the past few months, a mini “world war” has been taking place between prostitutes in Syria: the many immigrants from Iraq have simply “stolen” the jobs of the local girls. However, the Syrian whores have decided not to surrender and have engaged in war by spreading rumors, claiming, “The immigrants are all sick with AIDS”.

Sadly, there are government failures. Well-intentioned government regulations prohibit often prevent true price competition. In the U.S. only licensed doctors can give certain advice. In Syria, only men can get prostitutes out of jail.

It seems that in one of the areas in which this business flourishes, a systematic system has been developed. Syrian or Iraqi pimps “marry” up to four whores (either from Syria, Iraq or Tunisia). In exchange for 10,000 dollars a year, the whores commit themselves to serve any client, anytime. In exchange, the pimp promises her that if she is arrested, he will release her after identifying himself to the police as her “husband”.

But the free market finds a way. Is pimpery becoming gender-neutral?

The Iraqi whores work in a few centers, according to reports. In the A-Thal neighborhood of Damascus, for example, one can find night clubs in which Iraqi and Syrian women perform sensual dances. According to the reports, one can even spot women in their 50s sitting by the stage smoking nargilas. Perhaps these are the mothers of the dancers that came to watch after their daughters or perhaps to mediate between their girls and the eager clients…

Wow. I got through that entire article without one comparison between Syria and John Ashcroft’s America!

Social Welfare

Democratic Underground is a wonderful site. Somewhere between the “Zarqawi is imaginary” rhetoric and hilarious hatred of Free Republic, it manages to come up with insightful comments. Below are three pulled from a discussion on social security. I agree (at least partially) with everyone one

When was the last time anyone felt proud to receive an SSI check?

means test and folks will be told by others that if they had pride they would leave the money for those that really need it.

Which hypocritical South Dakota Senator managed to provoke the greatest “anti-millionaire” campaign in the state since Steve Kirby lost last time, in spite of the fact that Janklow, Diedrich, and, er, everybody in South Dakota politics is either a millionaire or an aparatchick?

I heard Tom Dashle give an interview once and he bragged how his Mom uses medicare. I almost fell out of my fucking chair! He and his wife are millionaires!

Which party is on the wrong side of a demographic debacle, for short-term gain?

Then why is Ted Kennedy saying that….

there will have to be a 20% reduction in benefits?

…answer

The baby-boomers out number the gen-xers.

Which party supports a rich cabal?

The “dirty little secret” about age-based entitlements is that they generally benefit the rich. Eighty-seven percent of the wealth in this country (ie, real estate and securities) is owned by people 55 and above. And yet over two-thirds of government entitlements are going to the same folks. Do you lament that the rich are getting richer? The biggest culprit in increasing the disparity between rich and poor is the federal government, as they use our employment withholding to subsidize ocean view condos in Tampa Bay, plantation homes in Myrtle Beach and golf course haciendas in Sun City.

Sadr and Happier

Two Iraq cities await elections, Steven Komarow, USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2005-01-11-cover-usat_x.htm, 11 January 2005 (from Chrenkoff through Iraq the Model).

Austin Bay Writes…,” by Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit, http://instapundit.com/archives/020575.php, 19 January 2005.

As Iraq journeys to becoming a normal county, the Shia have realized: democracy means the end of Sunni tyrant. The Sunni have realized: democracy means the end of Sunni tyrannt.

Sadr City and Fallujah illustrate both the hopes and risks of Iraq’s march toward democracy. One place embraces the politicking; the other ignores it. One sees how a new government could benefit it; the other fears elections will lead to oppression or worse. As the vote approaches, one sees itself as a potential winner. The other’s already lost.

Ironically, through much of the U.S. occupation of the past 21 months, Fallujah and Sadr City have followed parallel paths. Although Fallujah is a Sunni Muslim enclave, a stronghold of deposed dictator Saddam Hussein, and Sadr City is dominated by the rival Shiite sect, both exploded into rebellion against the occupation.

Last April, there was open warfare in both places. Skirmishes raged into the early fall in both. U.S. military convoys regularly were ambushed and troops were killed in both. But then Sadr City’s and Fallujah’s paths diverged. The Shiites have begun embracing elections; many Sunnis fear them.

Now a U.S. officer, Brig. Gen. Jeffery Hammond of the 1st Cavalry Division, says Sadr City is the safest place in or around Baghdad. About 18,000 people have reconstruction jobs, he says, earning about $6 a day. “Sadr City is what the future of Iraq can look like,” he says.

Those who were once taking up arms are now talking democracy. “Before, the men were buying black cloth for their (martyrs’) banners. Now for the election, we are buying white cloths” for posters, says candidate Fatah al-Sheikh.

Now, who in American history do the Salafists-Islamists remind you of…

Craig Henry: “How are the ‘insurgents’ in Iraq different from the KKK in Mississippi circa 1963? And aren’t the nameless election workers who are dying everyday in Mosul and Baghdad heroes like Chaney, Goodman, Schwerner?”

Yes, and there were even people calling the Klansmen “patriots” and comparing them to the Minutemen.

Lousiana for the Louisianers

Louisiana reinstates anti-gay marriage amendment,” Associated Press, http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/nation/2999778, 19 January 2005 (from DU).

A decision everybody should hail

NEW ORLEANS — The Louisiana Supreme Court today unanimously reinstated the anti-gay marriage amendment to the state constitution that was overwhelmingly approved by voters in September.

The high court reversed a state district judge’s ruling in October striking down the amendment on the grounds that it violated a provision of the state constitution requiring that an amendment cover only one subject.

“Each provision of the amendment is germane to the single object of defense of marriage and constitutes an element of the plan advanced to achieve this object,” the high court said.

The court’s ruling puts the amendment in the constitution.

Its a federalist victory because Lousiana is able to change their constitution as they see fit. It’s an antihomosexualist victory for obvious reasons. It’s even a “creeping homosexualist” victory because it slow momentum for a federal amendment (why bother when states can do so on their own?).

Congrats Louisiana!

EUpower

EU pulls back from Lisbon goal,” EUPolitics, http://www.eupolitix.com/EN/News/200501/84ad29ce-d444-4894-82fb-1e47991ab22c.htm, 18 January 2005.

Tsunami-hit Thais told: Buy six planes or face EU tariffs,” by Fraser Nelson, The Scotsman, http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=66782005, 19 January 2005.

Jaque Chirac and others want a “multi-polar world.” A world with many great powers and no super-sized super-power. What sort of great power would Europe be?

Cruel, heartless, tactless

TSUNAMI-struck Thailand has been told by the European Commission that it must buy six A380 Airbus aircraft if it wants to escape the tariffs against its fishing industry.

While millions of Europeans are sending aid to Thailand to help its recovery, trade authorities in Brussels are demanding that Thai Airlines, its national carrier, pays £1.3 billion to buy its double-decker aircraft.

The demand will come as a deep embarrassment to Peter Mandelson, the trade commissioner, whose officials started the negotiation before the disaster struck Thailand – killing tens of thousands of people and damaging its economy.

While aid workers from across Europe are helping to rebuild Thai livelihoods, trade officials in Brussels are concluding a jets-for-prawns deal, which they had hoped to announce next month.

As the world’s largest producer of prawns, Thailand has become so efficient that its wares are half the price of those caught by Norway, the main producer of prawns for the EU.

To ensure the Thais cannot compete, EU officials five years ago removed its shrimp industry from the EU’s generalised system of preferential tariffs – designed to share Western wealth with developing countries by trade.

Slow, inefficient, antigrowth

The European Commission has quietly dropped a five year old EU pledge to make Europe the world’s most competitive economy by 2010.

An internal Brussels paper drops the target and instead calls for a simplification of economic goals which have ballooned into an increasing number of unrealistic social and economic targets.

The pledge was first made at a Lisbon economic summit of EU leaders in 2000 – with the city giving its name to a sweeping agenda aimed at boosting growth and research investment.

China may eventually be a world-power. This will force the U.S. to respond with ever greater measures, from greater encouragement for savings to political union with our American sister republics. But Old Europe? It’ll be a nice play for a vacation, as long as it avoids Sharia law.

Tom Friedman on Iraq

Ballots and Boycotts,” by Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/13/opinion/13friedman.html, 13 January 2005.

Tom Friedman is a genius. Author of both From Beirut to Jerusalem and The Lexus and the Olive Tree, his take is always fascinating. He so understands and explains the world than even people who disagree with him, or don’t even care about his beliefs, end up using his terminology.

This week he has a more practical piece in Nyt calling for the elections to be held as scheduled

It is on the basis of these rules that I totally disagree with those who argue that the Jan. 30 Iraqi elections should be postponed. Their main argument is that an Iraqi election that ensconces the Shiite majority in power, without any participation of the Sunni minority, will sow the seeds of civil war.

That is probably true – but we are already in a civil war in Iraq. That civil war was started by the Sunni Baathists, and their Islamist fascist allies from around the region, the minute the U.S. toppled Saddam. And they started that war not because they felt the Iraqi elections were going to be rigged, but because they knew they weren’t going to be rigged.

They started the war not to get their fair share of Iraqi power, but in hopes of retaining their unfair share. Under Saddam, Iraq’s Sunni minority, with only 20 percent of the population, ruled everyone. These fascist insurgents have never given politics a chance to work in Iraq because they don’t want it to work. That’s why they have never issued a list of demands. They don’t want people to see what they are really after, which is continued minority rule, Saddamism without Saddam. If that was my politics, I’d be wearing a ski mask over my head, too.

Amen.

The tDAxp eXPerience