Iraqi Kurds Fear a Resurgent Baghdad

Arab-Kurdish tensions intensify as country's safety improves
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2009 1:45 AM CST
Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani speaks with the news media in Irbil, 217 miles north of Baghdad in 2007.   (AP Photo/Yahya Ahmed)
camera-icon View 5 more images

(Newser) – Now that violence between Sunni and Shia Arabs is declining across Iraq, tensions are mounting again between Arabs and Kurds, who want Barack Obama to step in to cool off conflicts, the Economist reports. Oil and land disputes, political losses and an empowered central government have weakened the Kurds, who complain of Arab bullying. One official called Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki “a second Saddam.”

Maliki has been consolidating his power, recently deploying Iraqi troops to disputed regions. The prime minister of the autonomous Kurdistan region is urging Obama to appoint a special envoy to mediate the conflict. “We love them, but they don’t care,” he said of US officials. Washington will likely  “kick the issue down the road," said an American general.