Wei En Lin on Kurdistan situation

Rosser Jr, John Barkley rosserjb at jmu.edu
Wed Sep 4 00:07:33 MDT 1996

     In response to Wei En Lin's comments I would note that
     1)  Iraq is not the only Arab nation with a majority
Shi'is.  Yemen is also, although they are of the Zay'di
sect of Shi'i Islam.  Also, Shi'is outnumber Sunnis in
Lebanon and are the largest single group in Lebanon at
around 40% of the population, but not a majority there.
     2)  It remains unclear whether or not there really has
been an incursion into Iraq by Iran and if so by how far,
despite the claims by Massoud Barzani.  Certainly the split
between the Iraqi Kurdish factions runs very deep and they
have been fighting with each other since 1994.  Talabani
had been tilting increasingly towards Iran and given that
it appears that Saddam is not about to be overthrown
anytime soon, it was not unreasonable for Barzani to tilt
to him and gain an advantage in the dispute as a result.
     3)  Another reason why the US may not be bombing the
northern Iraqi "assets" may be strictly
military/diplomatic.  The bases from which to do so easily
are located in Turkey which has not given permission for
their use in such strikes.  My guess would be that Saddam
did not make his move without some such assurance along
such lines from the Turks, for precisely this reason.  That
means the US has had to use its Gulf-based ships and
bombers from there would have been at greater risk having
to overfly much of Iraq to get to Kurdistan.  But cruise
missiles into southern Iraq from the Gulf are no big deal
for Clinton politically who certainly does not want any
dead American boys (or girls) in this electoral season.
Barkley Rosser

Rosser Jr, John Barkley
rosserjb at jmu.edu

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