Kurd Sellout Watch: Day 459

No more Mister Nice Kurd.

The Kurds have laid down an ultimatum. If they are not granted the rights they’ve enjoyed since March under the Governing Council’s Transitional Administrative Law, they will, in effect, secede from Iraq.

The rights in question (which Chatterbox spelled out at greater length here) include control over Iraqi Kurdistan’s police forces and taxation. The TAL further allows Iraqi Kurdistan to amend any laws passed by the central government of Iraq so long as they don’t involve the following: foreign policy, the defense of Iraq’s borders, currency, weights and measures, telecommunications, immigration, natural resources (read: oil), and the Iraqi judiciary. These rights are not guaranteed in the latest draft resolution  on Iraq’s interim government, which the United States and Britain submitted to the United Nations June 4.

On June 1, Masoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani, the leaders of Iraqi Kurdistan’s two governing parties, sent a letter to President Bush making various complaints about the treatment Kurds have received from the United States. Most of these appear to be bluster aimed primarily at appeasing Barzani and Talabani’s more agitated constituents. But the letter states one serious-sounding ultimatum:

If the TAL is abrogated, the Kurdistan Regional Government will have no choice but to refrain from participating in the central government and its institutions, not to take part in the national elections, and to bar representatives of the central Government from Kurdistan.

If the United Nations adopts a resolution that fails to include the protections the Kurds seek, will they follow through on this threat? Chatterbox has no idea. But it’s clear that Barzani and Talabani are tired of seeing Shiite leader Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani get rewarded again and again for his petulance. Two (or, in this case, three) can play that game.

Kurd Sellout Watch Archive:
May 25, 2004: Day 449
May 19, 2004: Day 443
April 27, 2004: Day 421
Feb. 20, 2004: Day 355
Jan. 6, 2004: Day 310
Nov. 8, 2003: Day 251
Oct. 24, 2003: Day 236
Oct. 20, 2003: Day 232
Oct. 7, 2003: Day 219
July 27, 2003: Day 147
July 23, 2003: Day 143
May 16, 2003: Day 75
May 1, 2003: Day 60
April 25, 2003: Day 54
April 23, 2003: Day 52
April 18, 2003: Day 47
April 10, 2003: Day 39
April 3, 2003: Day 32
March 26, 2003: Day 24
March 25, 2003: Day 23
March 23, 2003: Day 21
March 21, 2003: Day 19
March 20, 2003: Day 18
March 17, 2003: Day 15
March 14, 2003: Day 12
March 11, 2003: Day 9
March 6, 2003: Day 4
March 4, 2003: Day 2
March 3, 2003: “How Screwed Are the Kurds?”