Tag Archives: Kurdistan

Should Jews Return To Arab Lands?

Arab nations continually discuss the “right of return” for Arab people who fled Palestine when Israel was created, but few ever mention the 700,000 Jews who fled Arab nations after Israel became a nation and their governments engaged in anti-Jewish activities. A new magazine in Iraq’s Kurdistan’s region entitled: “Israel-Kurd” urges that Jews who fled Iraq should return to Kurdistan. They believe the 150,000 Kurdistan Jews living in Israel belong in their native land. Dawood Baghestani, who developed the magazine, argues “if the Jews had not been subject to an exodus, the Palestinians wouldn’t have been either.”

Many Muslims in Iraq are furious at the thrust of the magazine since Israel is not recognized by the Iraq government. Many Kurdish leaders like Baghestani have visited Israel and believe in the need for improved relations between Israel and Arab nations.

Mr. Baghestani has excellent motives, but it might be slightly exaggerating the reason for departure of Arabs from the new state of Israel. There is no question Israel armed forces forced some Arabs to leave just as Arab leaders urged people to leave in fear they would be killed by the Israelis. There is also no doubt hundreds of thousands of Jews left Arab nations and lost their money and property.

So You Thought Al-Qaeda Was The Problem!

George Bush is quietly at work in Texas chopping wood, Dick Cheney is haunting grave yards in search of WMD and who knows what evil lurks in the heart of Don Rumsfeld. But, the mess they created in Iraq will not go away. As American troops begin the process of withdrawal a new war looms on the horizon between Kurdish and Iraqi forces. An Iraqi army brigade recently attempted to enter the city of Mosul which sits in the center of oil, but its path was blocked by Kurdish troops. Technically speaking, Kurdistan is part of Iraq, but for all realistic purposes it functions as a semi-independent nation. Kurdish and Iraqi forces now face one another along a 300 mile line in northern Iraq.

The Obama administration has a mess on its hands. If it attempts to mediate the dispute which is bound to explode in violence it only results in getting caught in the middle of a civil war. If it allows events to unroll the prospect is for a civil war and bloodshed that will tear apart the still fragile nation of Iraq.

Of course, it is possible in the coming years for al-Qaeda to end its conflict with the Iraq government and become an ally in its war with Kurdistan. As I recall, then president George Bush promised America his invasion of Iraq was for the purpose of spreading democracy and ending terrorism. Now, I know why George focuses on chopping wood.

Kurdish Rebels Reject Peace Agreement

Among the longest fights that has been present in the Middle East is the struggle by Kurdish rebels to obtain a separate nation by carving out a piece of Turkey that claim is really Kurdish. Iraq President Jalal Talabani while meeting with Turkish President Gul urged members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to lay down their arms and work for peace. Iraq is concerned the presence of an armed rebel group on its territory just adds one more complication to their efforts at ending violence in the country. Of course, the PKK believes it represents the interests of Kurdish people and the only way is the use of force.

The people of Iraq have known nothing but violence for over twenty years. During Saddam Hussein’s rule, Kurdish people were oppressed, but now there is an opportunity to work for peace. The path to peace is not easy, but the path to war only results in death and destruction.

Iraq Journalist Jailed For Writing About Homosexuality

George Bush has continually claimed the United States invaded Iraq in order to bring the benefits of democracy, but present day Iraq continues to abuse the rights of women, and in a recent case, the right of freedom of the press. Reporters Without Borders, which protects journalism freedom, has called for the release of a freelance journalist who was jailed in northern Iraq for the crime of writing a story about homosexuality. Abdel Hussein was sentenced on November 24 to six months in jail and ordered to pay a $165 fine for writing an article that discusses the meaning of homosexuality. The international monitoring group stated it was “astonished to learn that a press case has been tried under a criminal code. What was the point of adopting– and then liberalising — a press code in the Kurdistan region if people who contribute to the news media are still being tried under more repressive laws?”

The reporter was tried under provisions of a 1969 penal code. The present law requires a representative of the journalist organization must attend trials involving journalists, but none was allowed in the court.

Such is life in “free Iraq” which celebrates democracy.

Turkey Confronts Issues In Kurdish Areas

The Justice and Development Party(AKP) of Turkey is examining issues related to how best the nation can work with Kurdish citizens in the southeast section of the country and is it necessary to utilize military operations against Kurdish rebels in those areas as well as in Iraq. Some argue the issues are best confronted through economic development, improve social rights of Kurds and work to place Kurds in positions of political leadership. Members of the armed forces are more inclined to resort to military action against rebels. Prime Minister Recep Erdogan recently chaired an important meeting with those involved in the anti-terror campaign. Parliament has granted the government authority to send Turkish armed forces across the border into Iraq to confront members of the Kurdistan Workers Party(PKK).

A fly in the ointment for the AKP is the upcoming elections and their fear using violence against Kurds would seriously damage the ability of the party to obtain votes in the southeast region. There might even be greater benefit to legalizing the PKK and get them involved in a political process rather than a military one.

Kurdish Rebels Are The Problem, Not Iraq

During h is whirlwnd tour of Turkey, Vice President Dick Cheney was told by Turkish officials they have no desire to interfere with the internal affairs of Iraq and their sole goal is eliminating Kurdish rebels. A diplomat, who is familiar with the discussions, noted: “We have told him that our sole problem with northern Iraq is the presence of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party(PKK). The diplomat emphasized Turkey was ready to develop positive relations with the semi-autonomous government in Kurdistan. “Turkey’s policy toward Iraq is clear: Improving cooperation in every field including economy, trade, energy, and culture.”

So far, the only comment made by Cheney regarding his visit, which was specifically added to his agenda by President Bush, dealt with his visit to what he termed, “Kurdistan.” He said: “The Kurds have done very well, in terms of their development of their economy.” Cheney most probably urged Turkey to deal with the PKK but avoid adding to the problems of the Iraq government. Prime Minister Erdogan told the media the United States was cooperating in the fight against Kurdistan terrorism.

Although, Cheney emphasizes the importance of creating a stable central govenment in Iraq, he referred to “Kurdistan” and described its government as though it were the government of a separate nation. One can only wonder if he realized the implications of his choice of words.

Turkish View–A Day Or A Year In Iraq?

American and Turkish officials failed to reach an agreement as to when Turkey’s armed forces will be departing from Iraq. Yesterday, President Bush told a press conference, “Turkish troops sh ould withdraw from northern Iraq as soon as possible” while Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told Turkish officials in Anakara, “the U.S. believes the current offensive should be as short and precisely targeted as possible.” Turkish Chief of Staff Generl Yasar Buyukanit told Gates, “short term is a relative notion. Sometimes it is a day, sometimes a year.” He pointed out Turkey has been struggling with terrorism for 24 years and noted America has been in Afghanistan for six years.

Prime Minister Erdfogan insists “Turkish soldiers will be returning after achieving their goals” but will not pinpoint the exact time when that task will have been accomplished. On one hand, Gates accepts the complexity of the situation, on the other hand, the United States is protecting the integrity of the Iraqi government. Unfortunately, the two might not coincide in terms of a timetable for withdrawal.

Once again, the Bush administration is living with unintended and unexpected consequences of the ill fated invasion of Iraq. Most experts knew from day one of Bush’s actions to get rid of Saddam Hussein that an important result would be creation of a confusing situation in Kurdistan. Neither Bush, Cheney, nor Rumsfeld had any grasp as to what they were doing in terms of Turkey’s concern over creation of an independent Kurdistan state. Of course, neither did right wing pundits like Rush Limbaugh and the others who still insist the Iraq operation was the right move.

Turkish Diplomat Reveals Secret Iraq War Negotiations

A veteran Turkish diplomat who led his nation’s delegation in discussing possible entry into the Iraq war on the side of the United States believes failure to do so prevented dealing with Kurdish rebels. Ambassador Deniz Boiukasi said Turkey’s parliament in March, 2003, narrowly rejected a government motion to militarily cooperate with the US invasion of Iraq. He points out in a new book that if Turkey had participated in the invasion, their troops would have occupied areas of Kurdistan now under the control of Kurdish rebels. According to Bouikbasi, for some reason the military remained silent during the debate, and, if they had spoken out, Turkey would have joined in the Iraq war and thus gained control over areas of Kurdistan in which Kurdish militants now use as bases of operation.

The former diplomat raises some interesting, “what if” questions, but he does ignore how becoming part of the Iraq war would also have plunged his nation into a conflict that drags on and on and most probably would have led to suicide attacks in Turkish cities.

Turkish Army Ready To Roll Say Generals

Turkey’s Chief of General Staff. Genral Yagar Buyukanit, said the army was ready to proceed with operations in Kurdistan and is awaiting final authorization from the government. He referred to the recent meeting in Washington D.C. between Prime Minister Erdogan and President Bush as merely a temporary delay which has allowed the armed forces to intensify intelligence activities prior to an armed attack. Bush had talked about Turkey using “surgical operations” but General Buyukanit responded to a question by saying, “surgical operation or not, I cannot say.” He also emphasized, “We are a great state and we do not need approval from anyone. However, there is a different situation in Iraq and the is a must to have the coordination with the Americans in order to avoid friendly fie.” He said it was of no importance to him if politicians met, but the Turkish army must be on guard to protect the nation.

There apparently is a void between what Bush and Erdogan agreed would happen and what the Turkish military believes must occur. Just another example of how the Bush approach to foreign policy always leaves gaps of knowledge.

Bush Double Standards Create Chaos In Middle East

In a biting editorial, the Lebanon Daily Star tore into George Bush for making Turkey pay the price of American disorganization and mismanagement in the Middle East. His double standards reflect an hypocrisy which results in the world gazing in amusement at the twists and turns of the Bush Doctrine. He complains about failures of the Syrian and Iranian governments to police their borders and prevent militants from crossing over when American and Iraqi forces are unable to police the Kurdistan border with Turkey. Bush was warned by just about every Middle Eastern expert prior to invading Iraq that such action would create a pandora’s box of problems in Kurdistan, but the arrogant president charged along into chaos. The attacks and killing of Turkish soldiers are a result of America’s invasion of Iraq. But, President Bush and Secretary of State Rice continually urge the Turkish government to avoid acting emotionally, and to rely on diplomatic negotiations and the Un to resolve the problem. How are Turks to take this advice from a man who allowed his emotions and anger to launch an invasion without allowing the UN to continue its diplomatic efforts? The Lebanon Daily Star points out the ongoing double standard: “While america encouraged Israel to destroy Lebanon after the Hizbullah captured two of the Jewish state’s troops and killed eight others in July, 2006, it has pressured Turkey to show restraint after losing dozens of soldiers in the past few weeks and thousands since the mid-1980s.”

The editor also notes how America fails to use the good offices of other nations when it comes to issues it regards as major. “Perhaps, most importantly, Turkey is a natural(but woefully under-utilized) conduit to Tehran” that America has failed to draw upon because its own jingoistic attitudes preclude seeking assistance from anyone who does not share the world view of George Bush.