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.
--Christopher Hitchens, March 25, 2005
...Kurdish soldiers from northern Iraq, who are mostly Sunnis but not Arabs, are deserting the army to avoid the civil war in Baghdad....
...[Ameen] Kareem said he knew that deserting was risky, but he said he'd rather be behind bars in Kurdistan than a "soldier in Baghdad's fire." Without the language and with his Kurdish features, he was sure he would stand out, he said. He's a Kurd, he said, and he has no reason to become a target in an Arab war.
...Farman Mohammed, 42, celebrated the Muslim Eid holiday with his family last month and didn't go back when he heard that he might be deployed to Baghdad. Afraid for his life, he found a new job and settled in with his family.
"The fanatic Sunnis in Baghdad kill the Shiites, and vice versa. Both of them are outraged against the Kurds. They will not hesitate to kill us and accuse us of being collaborators with the occupiers," he said. "How can we face them alone?"
Those who are planning to go to Baghdad said they didn't want to be considered cowards....
--Leila Fadel and Yaseen Taha for McClatchy Newspapers, story published today
(McClatchy article also available here.)