Wearing the emblem of the Kurdish flag on his lapel, as he often does, Hitchens described the Kurdish areas of Iraq as the most civilized and progressive in the 'Arab' Middle East.
--report on a lecture at Kenyon College by Christopher Hitchens, 11/18/04
Christopher Hitchens: This is the flag of Kurdistan in my lapel but my Kurdish comrades say that the--their main responsibility is for the new Iraq now. And they who would have every right to say we want to get out of this prison house of the state are willing to still cooperate to help to emancipate the rest of it. I think that's an extraordinary sacrifice on their part. Deserves more recognition than it's had.
--conversation with Peter Robinson under the aegis of the Hoover Institution, 3/25/05
Across northern Iraq, Kurdish parties have employed a previously undisclosed network of at least five detention facilities to incarcerate hundreds of Sunni Arabs, Turkmens and other minorities abducted and secretly transferred from Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city, and from territories stretching to the Iranian border, according to political leaders and detainees' families. Nominally under the authority of the U.S.-backed Iraqi army, the militias have beaten up and threatened government officials and political leaders deemed to be working against Kurdish interests; one bloodied official was paraded through a town in a pickup truck, witnesses said.
--Washington Post today
(The Post article, by Anthony Shadid and Steve Fainaru, concerns militias run amok and deeply infiltrating the Iraq army and police -- not just Kurdish militias in the north but Shiite militias in the south. Billmon says the article describes "the transformation of Iraq into the new, juiced-up Lebanon." Well put. And read the rest of Billmon's post -- as he notes, we're providing huge amounts of military hardware "to the Iraqi Army -- and thus, indirectly, to the militias.... Try to imagine, just for a minute, the Crips and the Bloods armed with tanks.")