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US To Turkey: Submit Timeline For Defeat

US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, asked Turkey to wrap up operations against the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) terrorist organization in Northern Iraq. Talk about gall. Turkey should “stay until the job is done.”

The Bush administration's insistence on Turkey broadcasting "a timeline for surrender to terrorists" is more than ironic. Gates says that Turkish operations could upset stability in Iraq -- as if the US presence hasn't already done that. Seriously, Turkey should refuse to withdraw as long as the PKK terrorists could "follow them home" -- or until the US finally withdraws.

It's a fact that the US presence in Iraq has been a boon to terrorist organizations. The sooner we draw down, the sooner they'll fade away. Until then, under the Bush doctrine, Turkey has the right to invade Iraq to suppress a clear terrorist threat to their homeland -- something 'al-Qaeda in Iraq' has yet to demonstrate it's even remotely capable of doing to the US.

Posted by American Pundit at February 28, 2008 8:42 PM
Comment #246711

Dubya certainly has a set of ‘em!!!

Posted by: Jane Doe at February 28, 2008 9:50 PM
Comment #246713

IMHO, Turkey should tell the U.S. to take a hike. They are defending themselves against an organization that has already shown itself to be a terrorist group. Turkey, as a soveriegn nation, has the right, and duty, to defend against terror. Again, IMHO, if the U.S. had invaded, say, Mexico after having incntrovertible proof that it was responsible for 9-11, we would be in the right, as is Turkey. However, by invading and occupying a soveriegn nation half a world away that posed no legitimate threat to the U.S., we have, in the vernacular, screwed the pooch. And, we are all paying for it.

Posted by: Old Grouch at February 28, 2008 10:06 PM
Comment #246715

Old Grouch,
Turkey is a good ally, with a very strong military.

The Kurds fighting the Turks do not have a strong military. They resort to asymmetrical warfare, which includes terrorist attacks.

Ever wonder why the Kurds are fighting the Turks?

The Turks seek to establish a unified, Turkish culture, and this means suppressing any minorities who oppose that agenda. Their efforts to completely destroy Kurdish culture are not welcome by the Kurds living in Turkey.

Turkey is a country with many minorities. A century ago, the Armenians were such a minority, and we all know how that ended. Ironically, the Kurds were enthusiastic participants in the Armenian genocide.

We have no problem recognizing injustice when a country which is not an ally follows such a course, obliterating a large indigenous culture. Shouldn’t we be asking the same about the Kurds in Turkey?

Posted by: phx8 at February 28, 2008 10:23 PM
Comment #246717

The war on terrorism becomes an excuse for creating huge deficits on our side, to fight against the newest named boogeyman, while grabing some oil wells.

The Turks are just settling old scores. We should have supported independence for Kurdistan at the time of the first Gulf War, but the Turks didn’t want it, and we wanted all the allies we could get.

How does their incursion plays in the rest of Iraq?

Posted by: ohrealy at February 28, 2008 10:33 PM
Comment #246718

AP and Grouch, you’re exaggerating by a mile the extent of the US-Turkey disagreement on this issue.

Turkey is, has been, and will continue to carry out their operations with US support and permission, including the US sharing intelligence with Turkey to aid in their operations. The US has simply advised Turkey to “end their operations as soon as possible.” They haven’t been told to get out now. And the US hasn’t even threatened to cut off intelligence assets to Turkey’s forces. If anything, they’re being asked to ramp up, intensify, and finish the job in a timely fashion. They’re not going to tell the US to “take a hike” because the US and Turkey are on the same page here and share the same goal.

Turkey’s goals in Iraq are far different and far simpler from the US goals—they’re simply trying to kill terrorists, not leave behind a stable and functioning society.

Interesting remarks, though. Would those who say that Turkey is “defending themselves against an organization that has already shown itself to be a terrorist group” apply the same standard to Israel? Applying this standard, Israel would have the same right to invade virtually all of their neighbors.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at February 28, 2008 10:39 PM
Comment #246734

Bush betrayed the Kurds long ago, and now they feel they have a right to opt-out of their responsibilities.

Turkish “lawmakers voted 507 to 19 to give Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan permission to order strategic strikes or large-scale invasions of Iraq for a one-year period,” the Washington Post reported.

The Turkish government’s ruse for war-making is the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. The PKK are separatist rebels, who’ve waged a decades-old campaign of terror against Turkey. Essentially, Turkey is threatening to visit on Iraqi Kurdistan what Israel had no right to inflict on Lebanon: Level the country and kill hundreds of innocent civilians for the actions of a few militants, acting in defiance of the central government.

But why now? Why would Turkey disturb the détente, and threaten to destabilize the only stable region in Iraq?

The Turks are cross with Congress, which had planned on scheduling a vote to recognize as genocide the mass murder of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks a century ago. Contemporary Turkey is to Armenians as the Institute for Historical Review is to Jews: Holocaust deniers. Even though support for the symbolic vote has waned in Washington, Ankara has recalled its ambassador and seized the opportunity to do what it’s clearly been itching to do since the Iraqi Kurds gained autonomy: cut them down to size. For some time now, Turkey has also been shelling Southern Kurdistan.

Iraqi Kurds have cause for concern. The Armenians are not the only ethnic group to have suffered at the hands of the Turks. Turkey has waged systematic ethnocide against its Kurdish population as well. Although it has lifted bans on speaking Kurdish and wearing the traditional garb, Turkey still prohibits other forms of cultural expression by Turkish Kurds.

The Turks are not the only power to use and abuse the Kurds. Many a creative post hoc argument has been concocted to justify the unnecessary war the United States waged on a sovereign nation that had not attacked us, was no threat to us, and was certainly no match for us.

One such argument for the invasion of Iraq utilized the Kurds. Flaunting sham sympathies, unapologetic war apologists resurrected, In 2003, the Halabja massacre of 1988, during which “Chemical Ali,” then governor of Northern Iraq, released lethal gases on a Kurdish town. Over 5,000 men, women and children perished.

The hell Hussein unleashed on Halabja formed part of the genocidal Anfal campaign he initiated against the Kurds. Aside from convicting the Kurds for supporting Iran in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, Hussein coveted the oil-rich land around Kirkuk occupied by the Kurds. The area is crucial to the Iraqi economy. The Kurds, moreover, are a non-Arabic, if Muslim, people. To an Arab, that’s almost as incriminating as being an infidel. Ask the decidedly non-Halal victims of the Janjaweed in Darfur about Arab chauvinism! Over a 100,000 Kurds lost their lives during the Anfal onslaught, as Saddam razed hamlets, slaughtered their inhabitants, and scattered the survivors throughout Iraq.

Bush boosters now habitually use the fate of the Kurds, in 1988, as an excuse for their illegitimate 2003 invasion of Iraq. But back when images of Kurdish corpses on the streets of Halabja reached the West, the US opted to sit on the sidelines. Worse still: the US succored Saddam at his most monstrous, providing him with chemical and biological precursors, pesticides and poisonous compounds to carry out his deeds.

Before Halabja, the US had abandoned the Kurds to Iraq’s mercies in a 1975 covert operation involving Iran. After Halabja, the US forsook the Kurds in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The Kurdish militia, the brave Peshmergas, rose up against the Ba’ath government, only to be jilted by George the First.

The Kurds are the only sect in Iraq that has been consistently loyal to America—the Peshmergas assisted American forces in the north during the invasion. Not one American soldier has been killed in that region. Kurds are also the only group to have made good on their newly found freedom. Monocultural Iraqi Kurdistan is an oasis in the democratic desert that is Iraq, “where business is booming and Americans are beloved.”

“When visiting Kurdistan,” enthused the CBS’s 60 Minutes, “one can see nation-building wherever one looks—Kurds are building their country day by day. There are more cranes here than minarets and there’s a run on cement.” No wonder the constructive Kurds want nothing to do with the destructive Iraqi Arabs, who’ve persecuted them in years past and have now turned on one another.

The Prince of Darkness, aka Robert Novak, has divulged that Bush authorized “a covert operation of U.S. Special Forces to help the Turks neutralize the PKK.” The King of Darkness may be planning to sell the Kurds down the Tigris to pacify the Turks.

© 2007 By Ilana Mercer

October 19

Posted by: dobropet at February 29, 2008 8:58 AM
Comment #246747

dobropet, I’m not sure what your point is. If you’re lumping the Iraqi Kurds in with the PKK, forget it. The Iraqi Kurds don’t want anything to do with them.

They haven’t been told to get out now.

No LO, Gates gave them a period of a couple weeks to “surrender to the terrorists.” I say the Turks have a stronger reason to stay until the job is done than we do. ‘Al-Qaeda in Iraq’ never was and never will be a threat to the US homeland.

Posted by: American Pundit at February 29, 2008 12:40 PM
Comment #246752

In the Rugged North of Iraq, Kurdish Rebels Flout Turkey
By Sabrina Tavernise
The New York Times

Monday 29 October 2007

Raniya, Iraq - A low-slung concrete building off a steep mountain road marks the beginning of rebel territory in this remote corner of northern Iraq. The fighters based here, Kurdish militants fighting Turkey, fly their own flag, and despite urgent international calls to curb them, they operate freely, receiving supplies in beat-up pickup trucks less than 10 miles from a government checkpoint.

“Our condition is good,” said one fighter, putting a heaping spoonful of sugar into his steaming tea. “How about yours?” A giant face of the rebels’ leader - Abdullah Ocalan, now in a Turkish prison - has been painted on a nearby slope.

The rebel group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., is at the center of a crisis between Turkey and Iraq that began when the group’s fighters killed 12 Turkish soldiers on Oct. 21, prompting Turkey, a NATO member, to threaten an invasion.

But the P.K.K. continues to operate casually here, in full view of Iraqi authorities. The P.K.K.’s impunity is rooted in the complex web of relationships and ambitions that began with the American-led invasion of Iraq more than four years ago, and has frustrated others with an interest in resolving the crisis - the Turks, Iraqis and the Bush administration.

The United States responded to the P.K.K. raid by putting intense pressure on Iraq’s Kurdish leaders who control the northern area where the rebels hide, with a senior State Department official delivering a rare rebuke last week over their “lack of action” in curbing the P.K.K.

But even with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice scheduled to visit Istanbul this week, Kurdish political leaders seemed in no hurry to act.

An all-out battle is out of the question, they argue, because the rugged terrain makes it impossible to dislodge them.

“Closing the camps means war and fighting,” said Azad Jindyany, a senior Kurdish official in Sulaimaniya, a regional capital. “We don’t have the army to do that. We did it in the past, and we failed.”

But even logistical flows remain uninterrupted, despite the fact that Iraqi Kurdish leaders have some of the most precise and extensive intelligence networks in the country. As the war has worsened, the United States has come to depend increasingly on the Kurds as partners in running Iraq and as overseers of the one part of the country where some of their original aspirations are actually being met.

Iraqi Kurdish officials, for their part, appear to be politely ignoring American calls for action, saying the only serious solution is political, not military. They have taken their own path, allowing the guerrillas to exist on their territory, while at the same time quietly trying to persuade them to stop attacks.

“They have allowed the P.K.K. to be up there,” said Mark Parris, a former American ambassador to Turkey who is now at the Brookings Institution. “That couldn’t have happened without their permitting them to be there. That’s their turf. It’s as simple as that.”

The situation poses a puzzle to the United States, which badly wants to avert a new front in the war, but finds itself forced to choose between two trusted allies - Turkey, a NATO member whose territory is the transit area for most of its air cargo to Iraq, and the Kurds, their closest partners in Iraq.

The United States “is like a man with two wives,” said one Iraqi Kurd in Sulaimaniya. “They quarrel, but he doesn’t want to lose either of them.”

Kurds are one of the world’s largest ethnic groups without a state, numbering more than 25 million, spread across Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria.

Most live in Turkey, which has curtailed their rights, fearing secession. The P.K.K. wants an autonomous Kurdish area in eastern Turkey, and has repeatedly attacked the Turkish military, and sometimes the civilian population, since the 1980s, in a conflict that has left more than 30,000 dead.

In this small town a short drive from the edge of rebel territory, and in Sulaimaniya, 55 miles to the south, it is business as usual. A political party affiliated with the rebel group is open and holding meetings. Pickup trucks zip in and out of the group’s territory, and a government checkpoint a short drive away from the area acts as a friendly tour guide. Its soldiers said they had waved through eight cars of journalists on one day last week.

Mala Bakhtyar, a senior member in the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the party that governs this northeastern region, said there had been no explicit orders from Baghdad to limit the P.K.K., and scoffed at last week’s statement by the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, that Iraq would close the P.K.K.’s offices, saying they had already been shut long ago.

“They are guests, but they are making their living by themselves,” Mr. Bakhtyar said. “We don’t support them.”

He added: “We don’t agree with them. We don’t like to make a fight with Turkey.”

Fayeq Mohamed Goppy, a leader in the Kurdistan Democratic Solution Party, an offshoot of the P.K.K. that still operates freely, argues that Iraqi Kurdish leaders are only paying lip service to wanting the P.K.K. to leave. In reality, the politicians want the separatists around as protection against Sunni Arab extremists, who most Iraqi Kurds believe will move in if the P.K.K. leaves the mountains.

Noshirwan Mustafa, a prominent Kurdish leader, said the area was as impenetrable as the mountains in Pakistan where leaders of Al Qaeda and the Taliban are thought to be hiding. “For me, the P.K.K. is better than the Taliban,” he said.

Local Kurdish authorities have asked Mr. Goppy to keep a low profile, including canceling a planned conference in Erbil, he said, but otherwise have not limited his activities.

“They really don’t want P.K.K. to go,” he said in an interview in his home in Sulaimaniya. If the group is eliminated, the Iraqi Kurdish area “is a really small piece for eating, very easy to swallow.”

Mr. Parris argues that the Kurdish leader of northern Iraq, Massoud Barzani, ever astute, is holding onto the P.K.K. as a future bargaining chip with Turkey, and will not use it until he absolutely has to.

“The single most important piece of negotiating capital may very well be his ability to take care of the P.K.K.,” he said.

Mr. Jindyany said local authorities would be happy to get rid of them if they could, calling the situation a sword of Damocles for Iraqi Kurds.

Throughout its history in northern Iraq, which dates back to the early 1980s, under an agreement with Mr. Barzani, the P.K.K. has had contentious relations with Iraqi Kurdish leaders. It fought in their civil wars, against Mr. Barzani in 1997, and three years later, against Jalal Talabani, a powerful Kurd who is now the president of Iraq.

But since the American invasion in 2003, the political landscape has changed. Iraqi Kurds, emboldened by their secure position, have stopped fighting each other and turned their attentions to other threats like Turkey, a state that has long oppressed its Kurdish population, and Islamic extremism from Baghdad.

This area of northern Iraq, which Iraqis call Kurdistan, in some ways eclipsed the P.K.K.’s struggle for an autonomous Kurdish area, Iraqi Kurds said.

“They were jealous of our autonomy,” said Goran Kader, a Communist Party leader in Sulaimaniya. “They wanted to do the same thing in Turkey.”

At the same time, the P.K.K. was reorganizing, after its leader, Mr. Ocalan, was captured in 1999, and a skilled group of military commanders took over day-to-day operations, said Aliza Marcus, the author of “Blood and Belief: The P.K.K. and the Kurdish Fight for Independence.”

The commanders were intent on military escalation, she said, and stepped up attacks, under Mr. Ocalan’s jailhouse orders, in part to remain relevant.

“They don’t want to be sidelined,” Ms. Marcus said. “That’s really what’s driven them since 2004,” when attacks resumed after a five-year cease-fire. “They want to say, ‘Turkish Kurds are important too - don’t think the Kurdish problem has been solved.’ “

The ambush of Turkish soldiers on Oct. 21, which took place just a few miles from the Iraqi border, served the purpose perfectly.

Public sympathy in Raniya and Sulaimaniya is enormous, and the fighters procure supplies and health care here with ease. Fighters do not go to hospitals, for fear of standing out - the ones from Turkey speak a different Kurdish dialect - but are treated in doctors’ homes, said one former fighter, an Iraqi Kurd who was recruited at age 14.

“Their organization is everywhere,” said the fighter, who now works as a police officer for the main political party, after surrendering to local authorities in 2003. “Their members are everywhere.”

To Iraqi Kurds, Turkey’s approach is pure politics. There is no military solution to the problem of the P.K.K., they say, because the terrain would never permit victory, and Turkey’s leaders know that.

The solution, Mr. Mustafa argued, lies with moderates in Turkey, who must push for an amnesty for the rebels. Militant Kurds, for their part, should take advantage of the political opening in Turkey - 20 Kurdish deputies are now serving in Parliament there.

“When you have the door to the Parliament open, why are you going to the caves?” he said.

To that aim, talks were held with intermediaries for the P.K.K., Mr. Bakhtyar said. Since then, the rebels have not attacked, and officials and security analysts say that if the quiet holds until Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meets with Ms. Rice on Friday and with President Bush three days later, he might not be pressured into military action.

“Soon there will be snow,” Mr. Kader said. “The roads will be blocked. That will be that until next year.”


Alain Delaquérière contributed reporting from New York.

My point being, this fighting between the Turks and Kurds should be left alone. This is only giving Bush another reason to feel as if his interests(corporate) are being jeapordized. Though the Iraqi Kurds may not support the PKK, this seems to suggest that the Iraqi Kurds are merely paying lip service to the U.S. and Turkey.

Posted by: dobropet at February 29, 2008 1:19 PM
Comment #246775

Ummm, are we supposed to copy and paste whole articles here? How about a link and a few salient quotes?

Posted by: womanmarine at February 29, 2008 4:18 PM
Comment #246862


Turkey is not at war with Iraq. Turkey crossed into Iraq in an effort to take out some terrorists.

Thus they are not surrendering in a war, they are merely in to do some killing then pull out. Having done some killing, blow up some terror infrastructure, pulling out can happen at any time.

The US is merely suggesting that this action complicates an existing war and it’s time to declare victory and pull back so Iraq does not fall apart over this issue.

Loyal Opposition is dead on in his analysis.

I believe, however, that root causes of such conflicts get rather messy. And there is usually enough blame to go around. But ultimately it comes down to, in the Arab world anyway… invade and attack us, we are forced to fight you back. The terrorists could not possibly believe they would have unlimited ability to bring terror to Turkey without retaliation by the Turkish military.

Turkey didn’t have much choice. We can only hope that they work toward finding a diplomatic solution rather then simply continue to be forced to respond to the violence of the terrorists.

Terrorism is a problem the world over. I wonder how Obama will deal with it?

Posted by: Stephen at March 1, 2008 2:52 PM
Comment #248337

I think you boys are naive. We no doubt gave them PERMISSION to go after the terrorists and we probably know EXACTLY when they would pull out. The rest was all PR.

Telling them they had to get out soon when we knew all along exactly when they planned to leave. Whatever sells to the home team!

Posted by: Stephen at March 18, 2008 12:21 AM
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