Places in World Most Likely to Secede Kurdistan Part 2

About Kurdistan a place in the world likely to secede from Russia, size, population, and history of conflict.



Meanwhile, the shah of Iran, having received Nixon's go ahead for unlimited arms purchases in 1972, had yet another request. The Iranian monarchy had long-standing grievances against Iraq, particularly the terms of a boundary agreement fashioned by the British in the 1930s which gave Iraq sovereignty over the Shattal-Arab, the river which flows into the Persian Gulf at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates. Would the U.S. help the shah gain some leverage over the Ba'ath regime by supplying the Kurds? They did not trust the Persian monarch, he said, but they did trust the word of the U.S. According to a report by the House Select Committee on Intelligence, "the U.S. acted in effect as a guarantor that the insurgent group [the Kurds] would not be summarily dropped by the foreign head of state [the shah]," whose assistance "dwarfed the U.S. aid package."

Under conditions of unprecedented secrecy, members of the high-level Forty Committee (which usually reviewed projects of this kind) "were simply directed to acknowledge receipt of a sparse, one-paragraph description of the operation." Nixon then quietly dispatched former Treasury Secretary John Connally to advise the shah that the U.S. would cooperate. The Dept. of State, which had consistently opposed such ventures in the region, was kept in the dark, and the CIA began supplying Barzani-across the open border between the Kurdish areas of Iraq and Iran-with some $16 million worth of Soviet and Chinese arms and ammunition collected by the agency mainly in Cambodia.

The Israelis, too, were delighted by the Nixon-Kissinger initiative, because they were already training Kurdish insurgents on Iranian territory. Tying down the Iraqi military in civil warfare was an eminently desirable objective from the Israeli point of view. But when the Yom Kippur surprise attack on Israel was launched in October, 1973, and the Kurds were willing to launch an attack of their own which might have won their freedom as well as taken some heat off the Israelis, the shah and Kissinger kept their Kurdish pawns in check. At that very moment, in fact, the shah was making common cause with the Iraqis in quadrupling the price of oil.

On Mar. 23, 1974, Soviet Defense Minister Andrei Grechko went to Iraq to try to forestall renewed war between his clients, the Iraqis, and the Kurds, who had come to the conclusion that the 1970 agreement was a sham. Only a few token Kurds had been taken into the Baghdad government, thousands of Arabs were being encouraged to move into the Kurdish region to diffuse the population, the promised census in the Kurdish areas had not been carried out, Kurds were being fired from responsible positions in the oil fields, and the contemplated autonomous regional government had never materialized. On the strength of U.S.-Iranian assurances of continued support, Barzani refused to strike a deal. A CIA memorandum dated the day before Marshal Grechko's visit summarized U.S.-Iranian policy towards the Kurds: "Iran, like ourselves, has seen benefit in a stalemate situation in which Iraq is intrinsically weakened by the Kurds' refusal to relinquish semi-autonomy. Neither Iran nor ourselves wish to see the matter resolved one way or the other."

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