Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Another Victim of the Middle East's New Order - The Kurds

Joining Israel and the Lebanon March 17 government as victims of Annapolis and the Bush Administration's new order in the Middle East are some of our best allies in Iraq...the Kurds.

When US Secretary of State Condi Rice made a sudden trip to Iraq, she was scheduled to meet with Kurdish President Masoud Barzani. Instead, Barzani withdrew from the meeting in protest over the Bush Administration's “tolerance” of Turkish air strikes this weekend against Kurdish villages in northern Iraq on the grounds they were harboring PKK seperatists. A number of Kurdish civilians died in the strikes, but no PKK fighters, who were long gone.

“It is unacceptable that the United States, in charge of monitoring our air space, authorized Turkey to bomb our villages,” said Barzani.

`Authorized' is the right word. Apparently the US gave the Turks military intelligence and opened up Kurdish air space for the strikes, according to Turkish army chief General Yasar Buyukanit.The Turkish army also sent soldiers about 1.5 miles into northern Iraq in an operation on Tuesday.

Proving once again that she has become one of the biggest liars on two feet,Secretary of State Rice said that while the US supports efforts against the PKK, it was a "Turkish decision" to act.

As if the Turks would have done so without a US OK!

Aside from upsetting the Kurds, these actions also upset the Iraqi parliament which passed a resolution condemning the bombing and calling it an "outrageous" violation of Iraq's sovereignty that killed innocent civilians.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said his government thought Turkey would coordinate with it before striking the rebels inside Iraq.

Of course, this tacit approval of the US was appreciated by the Turks and the Iranians, who have their own `Kurdish problem' and have been shelling Kurdish villages from their side of the border.

As for the Kurds, this is the second time they've been sold down the river by a president named Bush.

I can't help but wonder whether we'll have any real allies left in the region by the time this is all over.


Anonymous said...

this may be somewhat off topic......
i wonder if shrub is going to open this, thankfully last, state of the union address with "allah ah-akbar".

Anonymous said...

Of course Turkey would have done this without US okay. Turkey does not take orders from the US nor does the US have the moral confidence in its position to give orders to the Turks.

As I have said before redeployment to Kurdistan is not an option for the US at this time. This would risk war with Turkey.

"It is unacceptable that the United States, in charge of monitoring our air space, authorized Turkey to bomb our villages," said Barzani. According to US officials they were not aware of this until the operation was already underway. I'm inclined to believe them. In other words, Barzani is incorrect. What Barzani should have done is to ask the US to commit a larger force structure to his region. The problem with this from the beginning has been three fold. The US has to much military force in Iraq to avoid the responsibility for its security but it lacks a large enough force to do the job adequately, every where, all the time.

Personally I would be quite pleased if the Kurds could give the Turks a huge black eye, however, the notion that the US authorize this attack or that Turkey asked the US for permission is ridiculous. I pray Mr. Barzani is not dumb enough to believe what he said. If he is this dumb, Kurdistan will not survive once the US withdraws. The complete US withdrawl should be complete by the end of September 2008.

I'm assuming the PKK does exist and that it is a threat to Turkey but if it did not exist the Turks would need to invent it. They need the PKK as a pretext to capture oil rich areas in Kurdistan.

Finally, the US is often accused of indiscrimately bombing civilians the way Turkey apparently has been but I don't expect the kind of world outrage to be directed against Turkey that is typically directed against the US.

I will need more information on who was killed in the attacks and how they may threatened Turkey. If these really were PKK, Turkey might have had a legitmate reason to undertake their mission. They are not going to infomr the Americans becuase the Americans would inform the Iraqi government. The more people who are informed the greater the risk there is of compromising the mission.

Instead of falsely accusing the US of authorizing Turkish operations the Kurdish leadership should have asked for more troops and military resources to provide an adequate defense of their territory. In additon to this, some type of long range security dealy between the US and Kurdistan probably should be considered. If the Kurds are concerned about a US withdrawl, they will be more inclined to support the PKK, as they will want to have some type of defense against incursions by Iran and Turkey. With this type of long range deal the Kurds may be less inclined to support the PKK, however, this type of deal greatly increases the prospect of US forces being involved in a direct fight with Turkey or possibly Iran. There is virtually zero support among the US populace or among US allies to be engaged in a hot war with Turkey or Iran. This is a very vexing situation for US officials.

For the Kurdish official to accuse the US of authorizing something they did not authorize is unhelpful in this situation and could even be construed by the Turks as disrespectful to them. It assumes the Turks take orders from the Americans. They do not. Some people might find such accusations insulting. What is needed is for Turkish officials, Iraqi officials, and US officials to work together to find out what happened. Who was targeted? Was it the PKK? If it was the PKK, what threat did they pose to Turkey? What intellegence was this based on? Also we should have better coordination betwee all parties involved in the future. Better coordination would seem to be paramount, at least until the US withdraws. After the US has withdrawn, we will not have this problem. Of course we will likey have other problems when this occurrs.

Anonymous said...

What it seems to me has happened here is Turkish forces were pursuing what they thought to be PKK forces. The Turks, the Iraqis, and the Americans are supposed to be coordinating efforts to go after the PKK. Going after the PKK is a bit complicated for Kurdistan as the gouup likely enjoys widespread support in Kurdistan. The Americans take the blame for any fall out because pretty much everyone knows the Americans will be leaving the region by the end of 2008 and it generally costs nothing or very little to blame the Americans. This is in contrast to the Turks. As Iraq's neighbors, Iraq and Turkey will have to find some way to get along.