Kurds on the way to Baghdad

PATRICK BARTH/Getty The Iraqi government is deploying 4,000 Kurdish peshmerga militiamen to Baghdad as part of its strategy to reverse the city’s deteriorating security situation. The peshmerga (“those who are ready to die”) know plenty about the other side of guerrilla warfare, having waged an extensive campaign against Saddam in the 1970s and 1980s. Their ...

604121_peshmerga_kirkuk_05.jpg
604121_peshmerga_kirkuk_05.jpg

PATRICK BARTH/Getty

The Iraqi government is deploying 4,000 Kurdish peshmerga militiamen to Baghdad as part of its strategy to reverse the city's deteriorating security situation.

The peshmerga ("those who are ready to die") know plenty about the other side of guerrilla warfare, having waged an extensive campaign against Saddam in the 1970s and 1980s. Their arrival in Baghdad could signal the Kurds' desire to reengage in Iraqi politics. More likely, however, Kurdish troops—many of whom don't even speak Arabic—will simply fuel Baghdad's sectarian volcano. Sunni Arab insurgents have little love for the Kurds, whom they claim drove their brethren out of oil-rich Kirkuk. And many Shia who settled in Kurdish areas as part of Saddam's Arabization campaigns (and have since been driven out) also have an axe to grind. This could get ugly.

PATRICK BARTH/Getty

The Iraqi government is deploying 4,000 Kurdish peshmerga militiamen to Baghdad as part of its strategy to reverse the city’s deteriorating security situation.

The peshmerga (“those who are ready to die”) know plenty about the other side of guerrilla warfare, having waged an extensive campaign against Saddam in the 1970s and 1980s. Their arrival in Baghdad could signal the Kurds’ desire to reengage in Iraqi politics. More likely, however, Kurdish troops—many of whom don’t even speak Arabic—will simply fuel Baghdad’s sectarian volcano. Sunni Arab insurgents have little love for the Kurds, whom they claim drove their brethren out of oil-rich Kirkuk. And many Shia who settled in Kurdish areas as part of Saddam’s Arabization campaigns (and have since been driven out) also have an axe to grind. This could get ugly.

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