The biggest uncertaintly for the Kurds of Iraq, like the world that also awaits, is the outcome of weapons inspections and the United States' threat of war against Saddam.

The Iraqi Kurds unanimously want to see the regime overthrown and most expect the Americans to do the job militarily. Whilst the Kurds are actively training a regular army, in addition to the fierce Peshmerga militias, they are none the less lightly armed and no match for Saddam’s mechanized army.

Most Kurds make no secret of their for a democratic, federal Iraq. Most are ready to fight for that end and don’t fully understand the Western powers' reluctance to invade.

The Kurds’ open opposition to Saddam and their strategic region inside Iraq would be essential to any American lead invasion. But the leadership is understandably wary of committing to another war with Saddam. They have been left hanging by the West before.

The situation has changed in this uncertain land – The Kurds of Iraq need, and want, assurances from any would-be invaders that their golden age will not become just a fleeting interlude in a long history of betrayal and suffering.

Words and Photographs © JB Russell

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