So we have this story in the NYT today about Kurdistan, about how the Kurds are making moves towards independence. Nothing too shocking about that, and I’d write more about it but I’ve been traveling last couple days, and will be traveling the next couple days. So just wanted to highlight a report that came out earlier this week from the International Crisis Group about the same subject. Here’s the key graf that matters to Americans:
If the U.S. administration wishes to leave Iraq without being forced either to maintain a significant military presence or, worse, to return after the country disintegrates, it should craft an exit strategy that both encourages and pressures Iraqis to reach a series of political bargains. These deals, as Crisis Group has consistently argued, concern a federal hydrocarbons law, a settlement over Kirkuk and other disputed territories and agreement over the division of powers that jointly would pave the way for consensus on amending the constitution. In the interim, it should take urgent steps to help Baghdad and Erbil improve their mutual communications and security cooperation in disputed territories and persuade them to engage in substantive negotiations on the status of these areas. At the same time, it cannot exclude finding itself, against U.S. military commanders’ better judgment, standing between the two sides to prevent armed escalation.