After Threat of War, Iraq and Kurds Lower the Temperature

After Threat of War, Iraq and Kurds Lower the Temperature by Rod Nordland and David Zucchino – New York Times

The world could be excused for thinking that another war was about to break out in Iraq.

After Iraq’s Kurds voted in favor of independence, they took to the streets, waving flags and honking horns, and loudly scoffing at Baghdad’s threats of military action. Iraq shut down international flights into the region and sent its gendarmes to the Kurdish borders, while its neighbors threatened economic and military intervention.

More than a week later, however, the Kurds have taken no steps to actually declare independence, and Baghdad and its allies have done nothing to make good on their threats of intervention. The referendum on independence was a seminal moment in the Kurds’ long struggle for a homeland, but neither Baghdad nor the Kurds seem determined to force that moment to a crisis.

Kurdish oil is still flowing, despite threats by the Turks to shut down a vital pipeline; the Kurds’ pesh merga forces are still fighting alongside the American-led military coalition in Iraq, their borders are open, and the military maneuvers by Turkey and Iran have been viewed by all sides as little more than posturing. On Monday, Iran made a showy display of moving battle tanks to its vital Parvaz Khan border crossing into Kurdistan, but the border stayed open to civilian traffic all the same…

Read on.

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