The leader of Iraq’s Kurds said his forces won’t relinquish territory they are defending against Sunni rebels, adding to worries that continued fighting could speed the breakup of Iraq along ethnic and religious lines.
After Sunni insurgents led by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham launched their military offensive in northern Iraq three weeks ago, Kurdish fighters stepped into the breach left by the Baghdad government’s ineffective and retreating armed forces.
On Friday, Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdish region, said that control of Kirkuk and other towns now guarded by Kurdish forces wouldn’t revert to the central government in Baghdad when the crisis subsides.
“Now this [issue]…is achieved,” he said, alluding to the Kurds’ long-running aspiration for self-rule in their northern Iraqi stronghold.
I’m not convinced this is all bad. The Kurds know who’ll defend the territory against invaders and terrorists—and it’s not the Iraqi army. After all, aside from both Shia and Sunni animosity toward the Kurds, the Iraqi “army” is showing it’s not capable of defending much of anything, as their failing attempt to resecure Tikrit is demonstrating.
An aside for Mr Bradley’s benefit: these aren’t “Sunni rebels,” nor are they “Sunni insurgents;” they’re ISIS terrorists. It’d be good to cut out the disingenuous euphemisms and refer to a shovel as the shovel that it is.