Monday, February 12, 2007

Perspective: Kurd fighters may add muscle to Baghdad offensive

Above: Kurdish Army forces. The Kurds and Sunnis have a long-standing ethnic enmity, and each claim ownership of oil-rich Mosul. In 2004 Kurdish President Barzani offered to send 30,000 fighters to clean out Sunni Fallujah.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - When U.S. and Iraqi forces step up an offensive against militants in Baghdad, 4,000 Kurdish soldiers will be there on the frontlines, taking part in their first major operation under Iraq's new army.

Those soldiers, drawn largely from Kurdish Peshmerga militias in the northern autonomous region of Kurdistan, will have to navigate a different language, a largely foreign city and perhaps a hostile population.

But they will bring with them a reputation for discipline and in Iraq's bitterly split Shi'ite and Sunni Arab sectarian divide -- could be seen as neutral, even if some Kurdish soldiers have mixed feelings about their deployment.

Read the rest at the Washington Post