A shocking scoop from David Ignatius. It turns out that northern Iraq is inhabited my members of an ethnic group known as “Kurds.” Many of these so-called Kurds also live in the adjacent nation known as “Turkey.” Turkey, in turn, is a longstanding strategic partner of the United States. But the Turkish government and these Kurds have a bad relationship! Yes! There’s even a Kurdish terrorist and guerilla organization called the PKK that the Turks have been trying to suppress for years. And Iraqi Kurds, it turns out, have a lot of nationalistic sentiments and are pushing for as much autonomy as possible from Iraq. Turkey looks askance at this, fearing it will boost separatism among their own Kurds. And those fears aren’t crazy! The Kurdish nationalists in Iraq, being Kurdish nationalists, turn out to be rather sympathetic to the PKK. And now Turkey’s mad. And the USA is stuck in the middle.
Trouble, in short, is brewing. And yet, shockingly, all throughout the years of denial about Iraq, respectable mainstream opinion was weirdly loathe to note this gobsmackingly obvious flaw in the elite vision of Iraq. The Kurds are our friends, the Kurds are secular, Kurdistan is quiet and secure, Kurdistan is democratic, we have to invade Iraq for the Kurds, etc., etc., etc., etc. even though it was always perfectly clear that this problem was going to arise. Ignatius doesn’t even mention that the Kurds are trying to take over Kirkuk and Mosul and that there will probably be a new fighting front in Iraq once we get closer to the scheduled Kirkuk referendum date.