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Radicalism on Rise
by the deep rift between Mas'ud Barzani and fatal Talabani, Iraqi repression, and the dwindling prospects for an autonomy agreement wilh Baghdad, local Kurdish tribal leaders and small rebel groups are taking more independent or extreme measures to oppose the Iraqi Government anday in Kurdish politics.
Claiming lhc old-guard Kurdish opposilion leaders are ignoring iheir interests.nbal chic's this month formed ihe Kurdish Tribal
remain politically independent from lhc Kurdish From, led by Bar/ani and Talabani. but will support the front's aniircgimc military operations. Talabani is encouraging the group's leaders, probably to gain thetr support against Bauani. whom many chiefs view as having sold out to Saddam Husai n. J
The Icfiwing. anti-Turkish Kurdish Workers' Parly is offering disaffected Iraqi Kurdsan even more radical option. It has formed ihc Kurdistan Freedom Party in northern Iraqi
Irustrated by the apparent inability of the old-guard leaders to obtain concessions from the regime in the autonomy talks. |
With no autonomy agreement in sight, boih political and military Kurdish infighting is likely to increase. Moreover, living conditions of the morealf million displaced Kurdish civilians in northern Iraq will deteriorate with the arrival of winter, putting more pressure on their leaders toolution acceptable to most Kurds. Barzani probably will continue toaiercd-down agreement so as to speed the return of refugees to their original homes. Talabani appears steadfastly opposed to ihe current draft agreement but probably would soften his position if hehift in the Kurdish political climate
Whatever the outcome of the autonomy debate. Kurdish violence and political squabbling almost ccnainly will increase as rebel factions, local tribal leaders, and other individual Kurds maneuver for territorial control and poliiical influence. Security in Kurdistan has grcath^eieriorated over the past several weeks.have occurred this weekof thetribes thai traditionally have supported the government bui largely abandoned it during the March rebellion; this may indicate ihat some tribes are quitting the opposition and realigning with the regime.