Crossfire War – ANKARA – TEHRAN WATCH – West Asia Theatre: Ankara – Tehran – Riyadh – Baghdad/Erbil – Mosul – Kirkuk – London – Washington; Iraq Kurds – Turkmen Respond to Planned Invasion by Turkey – Reports of Three Month Crossborder Operation into Kurdish Iraq to Begin Late April
Night Watch: ANKARA – Late April is setting up to be quite a time. First there were reports from Pakistan/India that Islamic groups, supported by Tehran-Islamabad, were preparing for attacks in Kashmir later in the month. Then there was news that Moscow could be ready to attack Georgian forces in the Kodori Gorge that are supported by Ankara-Tehran and now the remarks yesterday by Turkish Army Chief General Yasr Bukukanit stated that Turkey should launch large scale operations against the Kurds in northern Iraq. In the meantime, events in the former Yugoslavia could become more obvious also late this month. [AKI]
Concerning the latest alarming news – Turkey and Kurdish Iraq, Kurdish leaders in their Parliament in northern Iraq, as expected, have completely rejected the statements by General Bukukanit. AKI reports the Deputy Speaker of Iraqi Kurdish Parliament, Kamal Kirkuki stated, “Any attack on Iraqi Kurdistan will be considered tantamount to a declaration of war against Iraq.” He believes it is completely improbable an attack by Ankara that will ever happen and has also rejected the accusations by Ankara that the Kurds in Iraq have been supporting the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) in their war against Ankara in Turkey’s southeast provinces. The leader of the Turkmen bloc in the Kurdish Parliament, Karkhi Alti Barmak, has also rejected Ankara’s arguments, “Turkmen reject the accusations of the Turkish military against Kurdistan and consider it meddling in the internal affairs of the region and of Iraq.”
But since the Kurds of Iraq have been flying their own flag since September, they should not expect much support when the area is invaded and perhaps not by just Ankara. Tehran has also massed some units along Iran’s border with Iraq Kurdistan. I would be surprised if non-Kurdish – Turkmen areas of Iraq would mind if the Kurds became weaker. In the meantime, the Kurdish community and its leaders would experience an extreme sense of betrayal as London-Washington refuse to support them and look the other way as Ankara launches its attacks and perhaps also seizes the oil center of Kirkuk, something Turkey may have had designs on ever since the Iran/Iraq war 1980-88. The lost alliance, London-Washington, will remain true to form, they lied their way into Iraq and they’ll lie their way out. When Ankara’s begins its offensive the UK/US will announce a more specific timetable for their withdrawal, abandoning Iraq to regional manipulation. A region that has been enjoying the devastating spectacle of London-Washington’s ruined, burning bridges West Asia policy.
RIA is now reporting more details on the plans of the operation. The Turkish weekly Tempo, quoting sources in the Democratic Party of Kurdistan and military experts, stated Ankara is planning first the establishment of a “buffer zone” along the Iraq border to prevent infiltration by Kurdish units. Then begin three months of “pinpoint strikes” against Kurdish areas that have been supporting the PKK. The Tempo article said, “Troops will be airlifted to operation areas for a day and after effectively engaging pre-planned targets that will be airlifted back to base.” [RIA]