IRAQ REFLECTION: Speculations on what the New Year holds for Iraq

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CPTnet

3 January
2012

IRAQ
REFLECTION: Speculations on what the New Year holds for Iraq

 By Amy
Peters

In the
last weeks of 2011, the United States officially withdrew the last of its
troops from Iraq.  Within a couple of days, news reports from Baghdad were
filled with more violence, death and destruction.  On December 22, a series
of bomb attacks killed 63 people in the capital city.  These events seemed
to confirm speculation that conditions in Iraq will worsen with the departure
of U.S. troops.

We in CPT
have been curious about the thoughts and feelings of Kurdish people on the
current situation in Iraq.  One person told me, “The Kurdish people do not
like that the Americans are leaving.  They came without a plan, but now
they are leaving and there is still no plan.”  Because of this, many
people in Iraq think that civil war is inevitable.

Another person
told me that there is no foundation for peace, that “this land is like magma,
ready to erupt, the ground is ready for war”.  I heard similar thoughts
from a high school student and a lawyer.

I have not
seen U.S. soldiers in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and so sometimes I have a
hard time believing that their departure will have a big impact here. 
When I say this, Kurds respond, “It will be worse in the south, but anything
that affects southern Iraq will be felt in the North.  The central
government still controls us. If it is unstable, we will be too.”

Kurdistan
is a region that has survived chemical bombing and genocidal campaigns, and
continues to endure cross-border attacks.  Most recently, on December 29,
while most people were preparing for New Year’s celebrations, Turkish warplanes
killed 35 young people along the Turkey-Iraq border.

War has
been a lifelong lesson for the Kurdish people.  So now it seems their
automatic response is, “You can’t talk about peace in war time.  War
forces you to reorganize your whole life.  We know war. We have learned
it.”

We
speculate on the year to come and wonder if this year will see a continuation
of violence and oppression.  But we continue to work and live in the hope
that this year can be the one that challenges history and shows us all new ways
of doing things.

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