THE PERMANENT U.N. cease-fire in Iraq in theory, closes the book on the issue of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. But it is hard to escape the feeling that a Pandora's box has been opened in the gulf, threatening to bedevil the region for years to come.
Baghdad's horrible war against Kurdish and Shiite rebels now lodges like an insomnia-inducing nightmare, disturbing any sense of allied accomplishment for Iraq's humiliating expulsion from "Province 19." Hundreds of thousands of Kurds are taking refuge on the Turkish-Iraq border, prompting the Bush administration to launch what is being touted as "one of the largest humanitarian efforts ever," in the Pentagon's effusive words.
Too bad that effort comes a bit on the tardy side, not only for the many Kurds and Shiites who are now dead or sure to die, but for the reputation of the Bush administration, which had been basking in the glory of the great U.S.-led victory.