Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Kurdish Constitution & the Rights of Iraqi Women

Is this photo disturbing? Well, i
f you read my post yesterday about Liz Cheney, you will have noticed that I derided Dick’s daughter for her America-is-on-the-side-of-democracy-and-human-rights-and-judge-us-by-our-actions bullshit. She definitely has her father’s gift for meaninglessness.

What I took issue with was her work for Bush and her father’s re-election in 2004 from a woman’s perspective claiming that women have enlarged their scope of political issues and yet supported a controversial draft of the Iraqi constitution in her position of Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs.

As I mentioned yesterday, the Iraqi constitution diminishes the rights of women. There is an obvious contradiction here. She works for Republicans and attempts to get votes by claiming voting for Bush-Cheney in 2004 enlarges the role of women and could care less about the role of women in Iraq.

Let’s say in the near future, some foreign power, like the U.N., only a super-militarized version, tried to force through war, the U.S., Mexico and Canada, into becoming one single country and wanted to change everything we believed.

As you may have gleaned from my July 1 post, I spent some time back at the beginning of the Iraq war kind of working toward the goal of Kurdish sovereignty. Back then I believed the Kurdish region in the north should be an independent, autonomous and sovereign country. I still do. Given how America’s protection under the No Fly Zone under Clinton and Bush allowed the Kurds some large measure of self-determination, we saw what the Kurds developed. I still believe real democracy in the Middle East is the best way to stabilize the region and prevent American and war profiteering on the bloated corpses of Iraqi and Kurdish children, women and men.

Given some of the press last week, there seems to be some alarm brewing that Kurds in Iraq are looking at having their own constitution. But the Kurds have had a federal constitution for many years now—even before there was ever any hint of the Iraq war. This is not a new development. The Kurds’ constitution is not a reaction to or a development out of America’s war in Iraq.

Perhaps their constitution is different from the one I always new. Despite the rash of honor killings among Iraqi Kurds recently, the Kurdish constitution I had several years ago guaranteed the rights of women, whereas the Iraqi constitution, which would be binding on the Kurds, is about destroying the rights of women, according to Iraqi women’s rights activist Yanar Mohammed.

The history of the Kurds is important in understanding their deserved quest for independence and democratic institutions as Kevin McKiernan’s book,
The Kurds: A People in Search of Their Homeland will tell.

The U.S. twice encouraged the Kurds to rebel against Saddam Hussein only to abandon them, which resulted in Saddam persecuting the Kurds mercilessly, which later—finally—resulted in some protection for the Kurds via the No Fly Zone. And despite the genocide when America betrayed them, the Kurds still love America. But the Kurds do not trust Baghdad.

America wants one central government to make it easier on America, and with which to have access to all the oil in the region. They do not want independence for Kurds because then the Sunnis and Shiites will want independence and that may invite sanctuary for Al Qaeda or Iran will begin controlling, depending on who you listen to.

The more immediate problem is the growing distrust between Kurdish people and the corruption of the
two major political parties: the PUK, headed by former Iraqi president Jalal Talibani, and the KDP, led by Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, and son of the now-deceased former Kurdish nationalist leader Mustafa Barzani.

At the beginning of America’s founding, was there not more than one faction that sought to determine the very type of our existence? Kurds are faced with the same questions and reality.

My fear is the U.S. will subvert the PUK and the KDP, and then the Kurdish people’s will toward democracy will be left to rot and languish. Apparently Noam Chomsky
feels the same. This Chomsky linked story is very brief. Anyone wanting a longer and relatively recent interview with Chomsky about Kurds should click here.

In fact, a New York Times
story last Thursday states that Joe Biden went to Iraq to handle this emerging threat to America’s Iraq and tried to talk the Kurds out of it.

The U.S. has done worse to the Kurds than just prohibit or interfere with autonomy, independence and democracy. My belief, and that of Chomsky’s, is that the Obama administration will be the same toward the Kurds as Bush was.

Democracy is good for convincing the American public to go along with war when it is only bandied about as a word or abstract concept (think lie), but as we all know any legitimate move toward true democracy will be crushed by America in favor of oil companies, and the profits of KBR, Halliburton, etc., and the multitude of
military bases in Iraq.

The New York Times story also states that the constitution creates in a Kurdish national leader, an “’absolute’ ruler”. But isn’t that just like American democracy recently? George Bush isn’t elected as much as steals elections twice and subverts our constitution to spy on us (and commits worse crimes) using terrorism as an excuse. And the guy we vote for after Bush decides not to fulfill his campaign promises, instead perpetuating some of Bush’s same old policies without offering any reasoning.

A people at odds with their corrupt but democratically elected leaders…?

For shame! Yes, we as America must prevent that! How dare it be allowed to happen in any country other than America?!

As I’ve stated before in this space, John McCain admonished Obama for not being vocal enough about siding with the will of the Iranian people in their recent efforts to change their government, but would McCain insist on the U.S. being the “moral leader of the world” with regard to the will of the Kurdish people?

I think not.