General Trinh is delivering papers
by: Walter Guest
Ahmed traveled all through Kurdistan. He looked, he listened and, to Kurdish people everywhere, he spoke of his vision of a united Kurdistan.
It was in Iraq that he found the wind to be the weakest. It was there that he called a council of all the Khans.
"The Iraqis are weak," he told them. "The long war with Iran has worn them down. You can see their armor rusting in their camps. Their will to fight is gone. You can defeat them. If you rise against them all Kurdistan will support you."
"How do you mean, support us?" one of the Khans asked sarcastically. "Do you mean all Kurdistan will pray for us?"
"I mean Kurdistan will provide ten thousand men, many arms and money for more arms."
There was a heavy silence in the council. There were twenty Khans at the meeting but the one who had spoken first was the most powerful. All eyes turned to him.
"Why would Kurdistan do this?" the first Khan asked. "What does Kurdistan have to gain? What do you have to gain?"
"In the fighting I will gain training for my men. When you win, I will have gained a strong ally. You will then help me in my fight."
There were many nods of agreement among the Khans.
"Produce the arms," the first Khan said. "Produce the men. When you do that, we will fight."
"It shall be done," Ahmed said.
Ahmed sent word to his brother and to Kurdish leaders in Turkey and Russia and Syria. "Send your men," he told them. "The war is about to begin."
With the little money he had, Ahmed went to the west to buy arms and ammunition.
Soon the men were pouring into northern Iraq. But the flow of arms and ammunition was never more than a trickle. Ahmed got whatever was available from whatever source. But that meant many different types of weapons with ammunition that wasn't interchangeable.
Just as they were about to launch their war an incredible thing happened. The mad man, Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait. Virtually the entire world threatened retaliation. All the Iraqi armed forces were moved to the south to prepare for "The Mother of All Battles."
The Kurdish council in northern Iraq was thrown into confusion. Many wanted to attack immediately. Just as many wanted to await developments. Even Ahmed could not say who was right.
Two mysterious Americans arrived in the area and asked to talk to the Khans. Of course they were welcomed to the great council of Khans. The Americans advised the Kurds to wait for the attack from the south before they moved down from the north.
"When will the attack come?"
They would not say.
"Where will the attack be?"
They would not say.
They only advised the Kurds to be ready. On a large map, the Americans showed the Kurds what area they wanted occupied.
Ahmed quickly objected. "We only want Kurdistan," he said, 'no more, no less."
A more diplomatic Khan interceded and politely explained at length to the Americans why the Kurds did not wish to rule over Iraqis. The Americans asked him to draw on the map the boundaries that the Kurds would find acceptable. Much of the boundary was easily drawn. Some of the lines were settled only after arguments. One town was discussed for two hours. Some Khans wanted historic Kurdistan. Other Khans thought it more practical to only include present day Kurdistan.
It was finally settled, and when it was settled the Americans took their large map, with the boundaries of Kurdistan drawn on it, and left.
"It is that simple?" one Khan asked in amazement. "After a thousand years, Kurdistan is restored to us by two strangers and a map?"
"They are Americans," Ahmed warned. "Americans have betrayed us before. We Kurds are a small, unimportant people to them. They come to us when we are of use to them. When people more important, of more use to them, come along, they will betray us."
Most of the older Khans agreed with Ahmed because they knew he was right. Most of the younger Khans did not agree with him because they did not know he was right.
When the attack started in the south, the Kurdish forces moved down from the north. The Kurds met little or no resistance. They soon occupied all the area that had been indicated on the large map; no more, no less. They awaited developments.
To their surprise, the offensive in the south ended after only four days. A large portion of the Iraqi army was allowed to escape. Entire armored divisions were still intact and heading north. Had they been betrayed again"
The Kurds dug in, preparing for an attack by immense forces.
But the attack never came. The unreliable Americans were sending air patrols over their area, denying air support to the Iraqis and threatening air support for the Kurds. The Iraqi units that had barely escaped with their lives in the south were totally demoralized. And there was an uprising in the south that totally occupied all the remaining effective Iraqi armed forces.
The occupation of Iraqi Kurdistan by Kurds was soon taken as a fait accompli.