Land's End

Rubin, Elizabeth
April 2003
New Republic;4/21/2003, Vol. 228 Issue 15/16, p24
A friend from Kurdsat, the TV station of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, which rules this part of northern Iraq, called the author, a journalist in Iraq, to say his friends in Kalar, at the southeastern tip of northern Iraq, will launch a big offensive against the Iraqi army's 5th Corps. So the author speed from Sulaymaniya through the mountains and around the lake at Darbandi Khan, down to the rolling plains and palm trees around Kalar. But the front is so quiet that they just sit and watch street fighting in Baghdad, being broadcast by Fox News on Kurdsat television, with the commander in charge, Mola Bakhtiyar. He's an old peshmerga, and he just threw away his jacket and tie and put on his peshmerga clothes two weeks ago. He's from Khaneqin, like the older men sitting in a circle around him--all civilians, a lawyer, an engineer, a mechanic--who've been summoned to take back their hometown and help the Americans with the human and natural terrain. Bakhtiyar was a rebel all his life and, in the 1970s, had to flee Khaneqin lest he be executed as a member of the secret underground. The next day, a friend calls from Irbil. The Americans and the peshmerga are advancing toward Mosul, the third-largest town in Iraq, heavily endowed with Baathists. It's a long drive, and, on the way, the author gets the bad news. A U.S. plane has accidentally bombed a convoy of peshmerga, American Special Forces, BBC reporters, and Wajih Barzani, the brother of Massoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, which rules the other half of northern Iraq.


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