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« Analysis of Truck Bomb in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan | Main | If the Iraq Panic Bubble Bursts »

May 13, 2007

More Attacks on Kurdish Political Control

-Patrick S Lasswell

The second attack in four days on Kurdish political control occurred in the town of Makhmoor near Mosul at the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) offices, killing at least 32 and wounding more than 115. The city of Makhmoor is not under formal Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) control, but the area is almost entirely composed of racial Kurds. According to CNN, political meetings were taking place at the KDP offices when a suicide truck bomber struck. Although firmly in the red zone of active conflict, Makhmoor and other ethnically Kurdish areas have mostly been spared this kind of violence. It appears that Al Qaeda cannot accept any peace in Iraq.

This attack is significant in that it indicates a pattern of deliberate targeting of Kurdish government and political control. In my last visit to Iraqi Kurdistan, people went out of their way to tell me about corruption in the political process there. Although the KRG spokesmen are adamant that the attacks are driven by Al Qaeda, the possibility that dissatisfied Kurds are being exploited to aid attacks is very real. Government officials are seen as being corrupt from the top down in Kurdistan and by Kurds abroad. A higher casualty count could have been achieved at softer targets like the local markets. These two attacks on semi-hardened government facilities in four days strongly suggests that whoever is behind these attacks made a deal with Kurds infuriated by government failures and corruption.

Twisted Wreckage Near Makhmoor Bomb Site.

According to the BBC, the mayor, prominent Kurdish writer Abd al-Rahman Delaf, was among the wounded. The targeting of the meeting of local politicians and a noted writer shows that government aid distributed by the Kurdish leaders is not going far enough. In many cases this is a matter of people's expectations exceeding the capacity of any government to meet. Although some people in the Kurdish Autonomous Region are doing very well, lack of transparency causes suspicion that is rapidly becoming anger, especially among the uneducated. Without a clear indication of how honest people can do well and government indifference to local producers of goods, dissatisfaction is growing in Iraqi Kurdistan. Especially galling to locals is the widespread importation of goods that can be produced in Iraqi Kurdistan including wheat, water, and produce. Although many are benefiting from the inexpensive free market, the society is moving towards being exclusively consumers. Since the conditions of Iraq's oil revenue distribution are still uncertain, many are worried that the Kurdish Region will find itself unable to produce for itself and without other revenue.

Destroyed Parking Lot in Makhmoor.

As more details of this attack become available I will make updates.

Please Support Independent Reporting from Iraq
Email address is mrs.risk at gmail dot com

UPDATES: According to sources in Suliamaniya, the terrorists used a truck with sheep in the back as their cover. Checkpoints passed them because this method had not been used before.

Makhmoor Traffic Accident.jpg

A convoy of PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) leaders was struck by an out of control truck on their way to see the attack site. Three PUK leaders were killed and fifteen wounded. Among the wounded was Saadi Ahmed Pira, a legendary PUK politician and Peshmerga. Kak Saadi treated me as a brother in his home and served me dinner from his own hand. I wish him a speedy recovery.


I very strongly disagree with you that there is any liklihood that disgruntled Kurds would help Al Qaeda because of financial corruption in the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Financial corruption may boost moderate Islamists in Kurdistan (they exist, I have met them), but not mass murdering maniacs who wish to destroy the KRG and replace it with a Taliban regime.

There are Iraqi Kurds who join Al Qaeda in Kurdistan, formerly known as Ansar Al Islam. They do because they are fascists, not because they are angry about money and corruption.

Never assume Al Qaeda or its assistants commit mass murder because they have legitimate grievances. They do not. There are other and far more reasonable outlets for people who have legitimate grievances.

The idiots who burned the Halabja memorial because of financial corruption and neglect in the KRG are a problem, but they are not on the same planet as those who want to enslave everybody.

You have far too black and white a view of how terrorist enablers act. They don't grow a mustache, put on a cape, and start tying young women to the railroad tracks overnight.

I think there is a slow seduction of the failed Kurdish men who have strong religious feelings and nowhere to turn for relief. You keep thinking of Kurdistan as Suliamaniya because that is where you are most comfortable. Kurdistan is also Halabja where they just arrested people involved in terror enabling activities.

Give the terror organizers credit for learning how to manipulate weak men. Give the Kurds credit for being human and having weakness.

If you think any Kurds will join or assist Al Qaeda over financial corruption, show me where anyone else ever has from any country in the world.

You won't be able to. Everyone who works with or for Al Qaeda that we have ever heard about is a bigoted totalitarian fascist control freak.

Hezbollah gets traction over political corruption in Lebanon, but Hezbollah is the Easter Bunny compared with Al Qaeda.

Ansar Al Islam / Al Qaeda Kurdistan is composed of Kurds. I'm pretty sure they didn't all spring fully formed from the brow of Zeus. They came from Halabja and they didn't cut all their ties when they did. There wasn't a big ceremony where everybody in Halabja disowned their family members who joined Ansar.

So, I show you Kurdistan as a country where Kurds helped Al Qaeda, but the government and parties opposed them. Now the government and parties are getting bombed. Do the math.

Yes, Pat, I know there are Kurds in Ansar. (Also Arabs and Persians.) But they didn't join because of graft.

Religious Kurds who are turned off by graft join the KIU. That's what that party is for.

Al Qaeda is for Muslims who like fascism.

The people arranging the attack never joined Al Qaeda. Remember what they told us, some schmuck from Yemen or Libya doesn't know where in Iraq to attack. The local people tell them where to go. The locals telling these attackers of Kurdish targets have told them where two government/party locations are so far.

If a Kurdish Shia mosque like the ones we saw near Mosul got attacked, then it would be a different story. If a Turkish business interest got destroyed, that would say something else. If foreigners were getting killed or hotels detonated, we would have to look at a different attack pattern.

With the two attacks in Kurdish dominated region this week after a very long dry spell sharing notable characteristic...

To Pat & Michael:

Both of you are right -- and wrong at the same time.

You should ask about who is the puppet and who pulls the string.

The guy who pulls the string is definitely some sort of fascist, and to this respect I fully agree with Michael, he need not be motivated by graft.

But graft exists, Pat, and it is really a problem in Kurdistan, parallel to tribal animosities and still vigorous feudalism. And by graft a constant supply of puppets is constantly added to the strings.

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 05/14/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

Patrick, if an Al Qaeda guy wants to find out from a Kurd where the KDP office is, he doesn't have to introduce himself as a terrorist. If you show up among Kurds in Iraq and introduce yourself as Al Qaeda, it's straight to prison for you.

It's not that hard to find the address of a political party office. Any Al Qaeda nut who is stupid enough to say "I want blow up the KDP" will never succeed in blowing up the KDP.


I doubt they show up wearing their "I (heart) Bin Laden" t-shirts. They find family members, assemble a dossier, and approach the weak ones after a dissapointment. What do you think is on those laptops the intelligence wonks rejoice about capturing?

Did you notice many street signs in Kurdistan while we were there? Have you ever seen a city map that approached the quality of a AAA one? Do you remember getting into long discussions about where to go involving most of neighborhood? Do you remember getting lost and showing up at the wrong Komala? Do you think I was carrying the GPS on a lark?

Directions in Iraqi Kurdistan are hard. You don't need a local to find something. You need a local to find something quickly when you are driving an explosives laden car without getting lost. How many checkpoints do you think the homocide bomber is going to make it through before getting nabbed if he's lost?

You need a local to set up the run close to the target.

Dijla News says turkey was behind the hawler attack.

they say they have sources who told them a turkman who spoke kurdish fluently without any accents entered kurdistan with a turksih company and bought some meterials which match the ones that were used in the explosion.

The report also says this was done with help from alqaida.

the hawler cheif of police says they are not pointing fingers at any one for now.



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