Tim Judah writing in The New York Review Of Books offers a fascinating look at the politics and life in Iraqi Kurdistan:
Among the people I met at Kalak were Dilshad and Haider, both in their twenties. Dilshad was driving a sputtering old East German motorbike, and Haider, who has only one arm, clung to the back. He told me that he had lost his arm ten years ago when he had been shot by Iraqi troops as he tried to smuggle car parts from Kurdistan into Saddam Hussein's territory. The two men had just been to Mosul, which is only forty-seven kilometers away in Saddam-controlled Iraq but takes two hours on the bike. They do this journey four times a week and stock up on items that they can sell back home in Kurdish-controlled territory. Today they had 180 brightly colored plastic dustpans stacked in their sidecar. They buy them because Iraqi Kurdistan has no plastics factory of its own. According to Dilshad, over in Mosul "things in the market are very slow, because people are afraid of American attacks." What frightens people most, Kurds and Arabs alike, is the prospect of civilian casualties. Still, according to Haider, "people want America to attack because they are hungry and suffering a lot from Saddam."
The final footnote of the article demonstrates just how willing the UN is to appease dictators the world over:
Unfortunately I was unable to speak to anyone among the large number of UN officials in Iraqi Kurdistan. The reason for this is that the UN has agreed to a policy by which its officials will not speak to foreign journalists unless they have entered Iraq on an official Iraqi visa. But Saddam Hussein's regime gives hardly any journalists visas; and even if they did it would be virtually impossible for them to get to Iraqi Kurdistan. This disgusting policy means that Saddam Hussein has a veto on which journalists the UN can speak to in Iraq. I entered Iraqi Kurdistan from Iran.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2002 September 18 11:55 AM|