True, precarious Western air protection is still provided, and Kurdish leaders are received courteously in Western capitals, but in practice very little has been done to reassure the Kurdish population.
There are more than 200,000 displaced Kurds unable to return to their homes which are in areas under the control of Saddam Hussein's forces; 80 per cent of Kurdish countryside remains totally destroyed. Despite the air protection, Iraqi incursions by troops and undercover agents continue to terrorise the population and a 20-month-old economic embargo by Baghdad has left the Kurdish liberated region severely short of essential supplies such as food, medicine, fuel, electricity, and viable currency.
Recent visits by Kurdish and other Iraqi opposition leaders to Washington, Paris, London and Saudi Arabia have so far produced nothing but promises. No wonder a prominent Kurdish leader said in a recent interview that if the situation of the Kurds continues we will have only two options, either to cross the borders and become refugees, or surrender to Saddam Hussein.
It is true that last time the Kurds befriended the West their reward was overnight betrayal and sudden death in 1975. I wonder what their reward will be this time round? Not a slow death, I hope.
Gillingham, KentReuse content