Tag Archives: northern Iraq

Will Iraq Witness A New Surge Of Violence?

President Bush boasts of the success of a surge which witnessed introduction of thousands of additional American forces and the resulting decline in violence. Even as Bush was pleased with the surge results, another surge was occurring in northwest Iraq, and it was being led by forces who operate in the mountains of Kurdistan. The Turkish government is upset at recent events in which one of their outposts was attacked by forces of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party(PKK) which resulted in the death of seventeen of its soldiers. Turkish planes have been bombing areas of northern Iraq. but there are demands in the Turkish parliament for a massive invasion of Kurdistan to wipe out the rebels.

Turkish military leaders are concerned the attack on their soldiers involved Kurdish rebels who possessed heavy military equipment that previously had not been seen in combat. Turkish generals are not pleased at the lack of support from the Iraq government or from the semi-autonomous Kurdistan government. Invading Kurdistan is now a political hot potato and is being used by opponents of the Erdogan led government.

Will war become more widespread in northern Iraq even as it is reduced in other areas of the country?

Turkish Airplanes Strike At Kurd Rebels In Iraq

Turkish airplanes hit an are in northern Iraq as part of the campaign to wipe out members of the outlawed Kirdish Workers’ Party(PKK). As usual, planes attacked mountainous areas where the terrorists are hiding and according to Turk military sources the area was rendered “ineffective,” whatever that means. Prime Minister Erdogan told an Al Jazeera TV reporter, “our target is terrorism and only terrorism, and the operations were 100% successful.” Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said his nation’s air attacks in Iraq are not intended to destabilize the Iran government but are made solely with the aim of bringing stability to the region.

The Turkish government is not going to destroy “terrorism” by bombing mountain areas. The solution with Kurds is a political, not a military one. The miilitary history of bombing mountain areas or jungles is one of repeated failure and the Turk attempt to wipe out Kurdish “terrorists” by dropping some bombs is doomed to the same end– total failure.

Carnage Continues In Iraq

President Bush and General Petraeus insist the surge has worked and violence is being reduced in Iraq. Although figures for violence did decrease in the past few months, figures since January of this year reveal an ever increasing rise in the level of suicide bombings. Yesterday, a suicide bomber struck a funeral in northern Iraq killing at least 42 people and wounding dozens. The funeral was for two slain brothers who are working with the local Awakening Council, a group of Sunni Muslim tribesmen who are cooperating with the Americans. The blast was the deadliest since March 6th when a bombing in central Baghdad killed 68. US officials believe al-Qaida militants have moved north after being pushed out of Baghdad and the western province of Anbar.

Part of the dilemma in Iraq is an inability to gain cooperation among the vrious factions which results in Shiite militants fighting Sunni militants and vice versa. The Bush administration, despite rhetoric to the contrary, continues relying most importantly on a military solution when a diplomatic one stands a better chance of creating stability in Iraq.

Turkish Army Homeward Bound

Within hours after US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates urged Turkey to withdraw its t roops form northern Iraq where they are battling Kurdish rebels, the General Staff announced, “the goals of the operation have been reached and the units returned to their bases as of the morning of Feb. 29.” President Bush had emphasized the previous day the importance of a limited operation and the importance of withdrawing. Turkey’s General Staff insists foreign pressure played no role in the decision to have troops return to their homeland. “The beginning and the end of the operation has been determined by us out of military reasons and needs. Any foreign influence did not play a role in the Turkish Armed Forces’ decision.”

After several days of fighting, Turkey estimates about 240 Kurdish rebels are dead at a cost of 27 of their own soldiers. Dozens of terrrist hideouts and bases were destroyed in an effort to make clear to the PKK that northern Iraq was no longer a safe haven.

The real question is whether Turkey has dealt with its Kurdish issue. Military operations will damage an opponent, but, unless followed up by economic, social and political programs, the effect will be limited.

It is pleasant hearing from President Bush he believes in “limited” military operations. Hopefully, he will take his own advice and pursue a similar policy in Iraq.

All Somewhat Quiet On The Turkish Front

A feeling of quiet unease pervades many parts of Turkey as people attempt to sort out the situation. Late Friday evening, Chief of Staff, General Yasar Buyukant said neither the government has instructed the military to undertake a cross border operation into northern Iraq against separatist terrorist hideouts there, nor has the military requested permission to carry out such a mission. He said military leaders will meet with Prime Minister Recep Erdogan on November 5 in order to determine future operations. General Buyukant also noted the Turkish military was extremely disappointed in failure of the Iraq government to demonstrate a willingness to crack down on Kurdish rebels operating within Iraq.

Life goes on in Turkey with the minority Kurdish population uneasy regarding the situation. They are caught in a cross fire between an angry Turkish people anxious for revenge against the killing of their soldiers, and a sense of identify with a Kurdish desire for an independent nation. However, most Turkish Kurds regard themselves as members of the Turkish community and realize war will result in an outbreak of hate against them. In the meantime there is uneasiness but life proceeds at its normal pace.