Kurdistan: Federalism Within Iraq Or Independence?

2393 words - 10 pages

The failure of many states to provide a functioning central government suggests that not all nations can or should have states. However, the breakdown of the state is not just a result of the aspirations of nations to statehood. Rather, the failure of states to provide adequate government for the nations, tribes, and sects within its boundaries is as much a failure of state philosophy as it is of sectarian strife. Ironically, the emphasis on stability over democracy has led directly to the inability of states to govern adequately. Thus, in order to prevent all nations from desiring statehood, a liberal approach, emphasizing democracy and power-sharing must be established.A premiere example ...view middle of the document...

Evidence of the severity of the atrocious attacks against the Kurds was found in the University of Colorado's (UC) archives. 18 tons of paperwork and photographs were tucked away, in a secret location, in the warehouse. The paperwork was of President Saddam Hussein's Secret Police: orders for mass murder, rebels' arrest reports, and lists of people turned in by informants. The archives also contained seven colored photos of a black-bearded man from different angles. This man had bloody wounds of torture and beatings on his open mouth, face, and bare chest (www.kdp.pp.se).Although the UC archives portrayed a very vivid display of the heinous acts committed against the Kurds, perhaps the worst and best known, was the chemical attacks in Halabja. Halabja was a Kurdish city, with an estimated population of 70,000. It is located about 150 miles northeast of Baghdad and 8-10 miles from the Iranian border. Over a three day period, in March of 1988, approximately 5,000 innocent civilians were killed with nerve gas, mustard gas, and cyanide in order to put down a rebellion (www.kdp.pp.se). The chemical agents used against the Kurds, was President Hussein's way of retaliating. Prior to the attacks, a group of Kurdish rebels had been fighting the Iraqi government, in hopes of gaining equality in Iraq. Thus, on the morning of the attacks, the Kurds seized control of Halabja. Therefore, because the Kurdish rebels had fought the Iraqi government for their rights, and had taken over their own land, they had to be punished.My great grandfather, Mullah Mustafa Barzani, experienced first-hand the terrible discrimination. While in Iraq, he was treated as a second-class citizen. Opportunities for educational, professional, and economic advancement were extremely limited. His children were denied the right to speak or learn Kurdish in their schools, and successive Iraqi governments actively tried to destroy the Kurdish culture and identity.Moreover, after the first Gulf War, the Kurdish people thought themselves free of President Hussein's gruesomely brutal attacks. Just after the end of Gulf War I, a rebellion, led by the Kurdistan Front against the Iraqi Central Government, liberated almost all of Kurdistan. However, the Kurds did not get the opportunity to rejoice over their victory because the Iraqi army quickly retaliated. In hopes of successfully escaping President Hussein's regime for good, a mass exodus of Kurds fled to the Turkish and Iranian borders. In response to the brutal attacks of the Iraqi forces, The U.S government created a no- fly zones above the 36th parallel and labeled northern Iraq as a "safe haven,' and the Kurds were safe from Saddam (www.kurdistan.ws.com).The brutal repression suffered by the Kurds at Halabja and after the end of Gulf War I reveal the failure of the realist philosophy of stability in Iraq. The chemical destruction in Halabja was so dire, that even after 15 years, the city still has no growing trees or flowers. Many of the...

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