Bomb attacks that killed 29 people outside of Shi’ite mosques in Baghdad today came on the heels of Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ trip to Iraq, where he said the U.S. may accelerate troop withdrawal. A senior American military adviser in Baghdad chimed in as well, circulating a memo calling “for the U.S. to declare victory and go home”—a statement at odds with Obama’s timetable. Gates also met with Kurdish leaders to discuss increasing tensions with Baghdad as he assessed the Iraqi situation. But Maysoon Al-Damluji, a member of the Iraqi Parliament, says the whole trip was nothing but smoke and mirrors.
In short, the public couldn't care less. They have too many worries, from continuing violence on the streets through unemployment, to poor services, especially water and electricity in this very hot and dusty summer.
As for politicians, they publicly denounce external interference in internal matters, yet privately look forward to a fair solution brought by Gates or anyone else in regards to the Kurdish problem.
Personally, I feel that politicians, both Arabs and Kurds, are using Kirkuk to shift our attention from more serious issues, such as the continuing construction of dams on the Tigris and Euphrates, Iranian and Saudi interference in Iraqi politics, the steady move back to dictatorship, the Kuwaiti land and sea borders, and the entire Iraqi- Kuwaiti dossier. Kirkuk, as far as I am concerned, is not the most pressing Iraqi issue, and Kurds and Arabs are able to come to a conclusion that satisfies all, eventually.
Maysoon Al-Damluji is an Iraqi Member of Parliament and lives in Baghdad, Iraq. A liberal Iraqi politician and women's rights campaigner, she was Iraq's Deputy Minister of Culture from June 2004 until March 2006 and is the president of the Iraqi Independent Women's Group (IIWG) and comes from a long line of Iraq politicians.