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Don’t Mind the Sharks

Knight Ridder’s Tom Lasseter slipped away from US government minders for a walkabout in the Kurdish controlled regions of Iraq. And what he found wasn’t exactly Lincoln Group approved information.

Kurdish leaders have inserted more than 10,000 of their militia members into Iraqi army divisions in northern Iraq to lay the groundwork to swarm south, seize the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and possibly half of Mosul, Iraq’s third-largest city, and secure the borders of an independent Kurdistan.

Five days of interviews with Kurdish leaders and troops in the region suggest that U.S. plans to bring unity to Iraq before withdrawing American troops by training and equipping a national army aren’t gaining traction. Instead, some troops that are formally under U.S. and Iraqi national command are preparing to protect territory and ethnic and religious interests in the event of Iraq’s fragmentation, which many of them think is inevitable.

To say this article is an eye-opener is a serious understatement. But it shouldn’t exactly be a shock, considering the deep-rooted ethnic and tribal divisions in Iraq that have existed for longer than it has been a nation-state. (You know, one of those things we should have been contemplating before we went into Iraq in the first place.)

Additionally, Sunnis are refusing to take part in any government coalition talks until a full review of allegations of voting fraud is undertaken. The UN has certified the elections as valid, before all the votes have even been counted — and the Sunnis are far from happy with this.

Swopa and Juan Cole have much more on these issues.

Sure, the US troop reductions and allies leaving the country are due to the Iraqis stepping up and doing really well, and have nothing to do with the continued instability there and the upcoming 2006 elections and substantial nervousness on the part of Republicans in Congress over election prospects.

Things are clearly going swimmingly in Iraq. So long as you don’t mind the sharks.

UPDATE: Congratulations to Dan Froomkin and his wife on the birth of their son, Max.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com