Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Kurdistan: the Plot Thickening

Turkey's parliament voted overwhelmingly today to approve an offensive against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, authorizing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to order the Turkish military to cross into Iraq over a one-year period. Yesterday we already mentioned that the plot in the region is thickening amidst moves in the U.S. to complicate matters even further, quite unnecessarily so, one might add.

While NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and other diplomats are falling over one another to press upon Turkey to pull punches, Turkish leaders have stressed that the vote would not mean there would be an immediate cross-border attack on members of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK. Over the summer period Turkey has amassed forces along the border that far outnumber the American troops in Iraq.

NewsMax in the meantine published two exclusive interviews that their correspondent Kenneth R. Timmerman just recently had with Kurdish rebel forces in their camp, hidden on a hillside near the village of Marado in the flank of 10,000-foot Qandil mountains, by no means Marxist PKK, but Party of the Free Life of Kurdistan, PJAK. Perhaps not entirely surprisingly it would appear that Turkey and Iran have made common cause against the Kurds.

For your convenience above historical map from this source, which just might raise a few eye brows in the region.

- "Kurdish Rebels Strike Iran"- "Kurdish rebels based in the rugged mountains along Iraq’s northeastern border with Iran told Newsmax in exclusive interviews at secret guerilla bases that they have killed 200 Iranian Revolutionary Guards troops during clashes over the past two months. Guerilla leaders of the Party of the Free Life of Kurdistan, PJAK, said they have clashed with Iranian forces 21 times during this time. Iran has not admitted to the losses. The intense fighting began on Aug. 16, when Iran and Turkey began jointly shelling villages inside Iraq where rebels from those countries have their bases. Both Iran and Turkey are currently massing troops on their sides of the border with Iraq, in preparation for a ground and airborne assault on the rebel bases inside Iraq, according to published reports and information from local sources. >>>

- "Turkey Forms Alliance With Iran Against Kurds" - "U.S. ally Turkey and U.S. arch-enemy Iran have formed a military alliance to drive opposition Kurds from bases in northern Iraq they have used since 2004 to launch guerrilla operations inside Iran, rebel leaders told Newsmax at a secret base in the Qandil mountains. Both Iran and Turkey have vowed to send troops into northern Iraq, but until now evidence of active military cooperation between them has remained a closely-held secret. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stepped up political and diplomatic threats in recent days, telling the United States he would cut off U.S. access to the strategic Incirlik airbase in eastern Turkey if the U.S. tried to prevent Turkey from sending troops against the Kurdish bases in northern Iraq." ...

"The goal of the Iranians is to drive us from the border area,” rebel leader Biryar Gabar told Newsmax. “They want to turn this area into a no-man’s land, so they can use it to smuggle weapons and Islamist guerillas into Iraq to fight the Americans. He called the Iran-Turkey entente “an anti-American alliance,” not just an anti-Kurdish agreement, and said that it resulted from deliberate decisions from the ruling Islamist AKP party of Prime Minister Erdogan to transform Turkey into an increasingly Islamist state."

"A senior European official, who was involved in talks to bring Turkey into the European Union, told Newsmax recently he had been “stunned” by the hard-line toward the Kurds taken by AKP party leader Abdullah Gul, now Turkey’s president. “He was totally uncompromising,” the official said. “He took a harder line than the Turkish military.” Iran has been offering Turkey an economic agreement with Iran in July to build a strategic pipeline that will bring Iranian natural gas to Europe, in defiance of a U.S. led effort to increase the economic squeeze on Iran." >>>

Keeping you posted.


Life in the Northwest said...

The Kurds are an interesting group who have lived in essentially the same area since the time of the Medes. and not once in that time have they ever really had complete autonomy. Always there has been a nominal or actual overlord.

You have to ask yourself why that is, apart from suicidal stupidity.

How else can you explain why, they would risk the best chance they have had since the treaty of Sevres to gain a free state, by attacking their mortal enemies the Turks?

It seems impossible that the Turks won’t cross the border, with the revelation that there are missing Turkish troops. The Turks will not rest until they feel that their national honour has been satisfied, and that involves violence. At the very least this could involve fighting with other Kurdish groups i.e. Non PKK forces and at worse real Iraqi forces.

The principle of there being a state called Iraq is fragile enough, without the idea that its borders can be crossed in pursuit of terrorists established by Turkey, Iran or Syria. One has to wonder at the PKK’s thinking in provoking Turkey, because it puts Iraqi Kurdistan at risk after all its progress since the invasion of Iraq.

The map on your blog is a somewhat ambitious in its extent, and modern maps show a smaller area

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