Kurds Prepare for Civil War

How else can this be explained?

ARBIL, Iraq, March 17 (Reuters) – Kurds are digging a huge trench around Arbil to help prevent attacks like last month’s twin suicide bombings that killed 117 people in the northern Iraqi city, a Kurdish official said on Wednesday.

“We have the right to do what we think is suitable to defend our cities from terrorists,” Tariq Ghardi, an official at the Kurdish regional government’s interior ministry, told Reuters.

I fail to see how a 6′ deep trench around a city of a million people is going to deter a suicide bomber. It might stop a tank for a while, though. Or you could fill it with oil and light it. That makes conditions difficult for bomber pilots.

Despite the CPA’s feeble attempts to disband the Kurdish peshmerga, the Kurds have rebuffed every effort to deprive them of their defacto regional army.

Mahmoud Othman, a council member and leader of the Kurdish National Struggle, said he considers the peshmerga a freestanding army, not a militia.

“Almost half of them have been killed and those remaining have always helped the coalition,” Othman said. “You can’t tell them, `Go away, that’s it, your job is done.’ How could the coalition so quickly forget them?”

“Peshmerga” translates as “those who face death” – a label taken seriously by Kurdish fighters whose stories of armed struggle date back more than 50 years. Today, about 60,000 peshmerga remain, funded by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party.

The information noted above, combined with recent reports of Kurdish riots in Syria, whose harsh putdown by Syrian authorities sparked a massive protest in Arbil yesterday are ominous, though not unexpected, developments , especially in light of the concessions won by the Kurds in the “interim basic law” signed recently by the Puppet Council in Baghdad.

It is unlikely that KDP leader Mesut Barzani was joking in this statement, reported by AFP today:

Iraqi Kurdistan Democracy Party (KDP) leader, Mesut Barzani, said yesterday that he is pleased with the federalism described in the constitution, but says Kurds have the right to independence as well.

Barzani told French News Agency (AFP) correspondents in Selahattin,where the party is headquartered, that “establishing democracy and protecting the autonomy of Kurds on the way to federalism” is pleasing.

Barzani went on to say, “As a nation, Kurds, have the right to federalism, but also to independence. Because of current realities and conditions, independence has not been on the agenda yet. The KDP Leader defended, “they would not accept any revisions to the interim Constitution about Kurdistan and Kurds.”

The same article reports a survey from Oxford International Research Institute indicating that 79% of Iraqis believe that the country will break up.