United They Stand

BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP

ERBIL: At parliament, a sentry beside a portrait of Mustafa Barzani

Shahob Karim's farm in Chamadubez, a Kurdish village in northern Iraq, is a picture of pastoral tranquillity. Sheep loiter in the fields, a cow dozes under a tree, and children in bright traditional dress play in the shade of a mud house draped with violets. Yet Karim, his wife and six children are ready to flee from their farm at a moment's notice. They listen intently to the daily radio news bulletin, waiting for word that a U.S. assault has begun.

The Karims have run from Chamadubez four times in the past 11 years. The Zaibadninan River that...

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