The Kurds have readied their troops not only because they've long yearned to establish an independent state but also because their leaders expect Iraq to disintegrate, senior leaders in the Peshmerga -- literally, ''those who face death'' -- told Knight Ridder. The Kurds are mostly secular Sunni Muslims, and are ethnically distinct from Arabs.
Each successive round of triumphalism among war supporters - the first after the Mission Accomplished stunt, the second after the "transfer of sovreignty" stunt, the third after the capture of Hussein, the fourth after the January 15 elections, the fifth after the semi-adoption of a semi-constitution in October - has been progressively more pathetic and counterfactual.
But the crowing on pro-war op/ed pages after the recent elections in Iraq handed almost unchecked control over Iraq to allies of the most powerful hostile theocracy in the region (as That Other Blog predicted at the beginning of 2004) really takes the cake, not only because the elections were a resounding defeat for all of the U.S.'s supposed goals in Iraq, but also because the picture you get from reading actual eyewitness reporting from people inside Iraq is now so bleak, so explosive that there is a sense that absolutely anything could happen, and that it probably won't be very good.
Now we learn from Knight-Ridder that the Kurds, our putative allies, are mounting an actual fifth column inside the Iraqi military (which your tax dollars are paying for, by the way) with the intent of turning on the central government at a decisive moment and plunging into an inevitable pissing match and probably an eventual hot war with Turkey over the fate of the Turkish Kurds.
Oh yeah, and meanwhile, in the South...
[The Kurds'] strategy mirrors that of Shiite Muslim parties in southern Iraq, which have stocked Iraqi army and police units with members of their own militias and have maintained a separate militia presence throughout Iraq's central and southern provinces. The militias now are illegal under Iraqi law but operate openly in many areas. Peshmerga leaders said in interviews that they expected the Shiites to create a semi-autonomous and then independent state in the south as they would do in the north.
Hey, look on the bright side, America. At least we got Afghanistan licked.
The winter fight is the latest sign that a group now calling itself al-Qaida in Afghanistan is trying to emulate the aggressive tactics used against U.S. forces in Iraq.
Messages from the Afghan group have recently appeared on the same jihadist Internet sites as those of al-Qaida in Iraq, led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, said terrorism expert Rita Katz.
"They see in Iraq what's successful, so they say, 'Let's do the same thing in Afghanistan,'" said Katz, who heads the SITE Institute, which seeks to educate the public about Islamic terrorists.
It's the Reverse Flypaper Theory! We fight them over there so they can go over there to that other over there, and... Ah, fuck.