by Larry C. Johnson

Just like a doomed relationship between a wife beater and a woman knocked senseless too many times, the Kurds are discovering that they are in a bad marriage with an abusive spouse. According to various press reports Kurdish leaders, including President Talabani, have complained to Shia Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari that the coalition’s Shia parties, known as the United Alliance, are welching on promises to start work on resettling Kurds in the northern city of Kirkuk and to fairly distribute government positions between the coalition parties.

Gee whiz. The Shias promised to share and now they, by virtue of their status as the majority population in Iraq, are laying claim to their self-perceived right to rule the country as they please. It seems that the Kurds have fallen victim to the same fantasy based approach to policy and politics in Iraq that afflicts the Bush Administration.

Wait! It gets worse. Friends in the intelligence community tell me that some of the more moderate Shias are beginning to grumble because Shia groups allied with Iran are becoming more assertive. In short, Iran will do whatever it takes to ensure that it’s supporters in Iraq come out on top.

Notwithstanding the loud whistling past the graveyard of Iraqi democracy by Bush Administration offiicials and neo-con cheerleaders, the central fact is that the upcoming election to ratify the Iraqi Constitution will do nothing to solve the insurgency and civil war. In fact, regardless of the outcome on October 15, the Iraqi civil war will continue.

The reality of the civil war and the failure of the Iraqi Army to serve as a credible force for the security of the new nation trying to emerge will hit the world square between the eyes. Our senior political and military officials in the United States continued insistence on proclaiming that black is white and up is down is hurting both the American and the Iraqi peoples. We cannot keep saying the Iraqi military is getting stronger when the number of units capable of operating independently decline. We cannot keep saying we are winning the war on terrorism when the number of terrorist attacks keeps increasing and the number of jihadist terrorists expands. And, we cannot continue to describe what is going on in Iraq as the “birth of democracy.”

This kind of delusional mindset may be tolerated in the rubber rooms of psychiatric hospitals but it has no place in the White House or the Green Zone. It would appear that the Kurdish leaders are finally waking up to confront what has been the reality for almost two years–i.e., that the Shia are in a strong position to control the new Iraq and will assert their power in support of their own kind. Maybe President Talabani can talk some sense to President Bush, Secretary of State Rice, General Casey, and General Abizaid about the reality on the ground in Iraq. Until then, we’ll just have to grit our teeth as we watch the “wife beaters” run amuck while our leaders sing the praises of family harmony in Iraq. This is beyond sad, it is dangerous.

Larry C. Johnson
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