Crossfire War – Rapid Fire News=ankara – Tehran – Baghdad Watch – West Asia Theatre: Ankara – Tehran – Damascus – Baghdad/Erbil – Mosul – Kirkuk – Washington; Turkey Begins Shelling Iraq Border Saturday Night – Military Expected to Receive Authorization for Invasion This Week – Serbia Paramilitary Unit Shifts Demonstration Away from Kosovska Mitrovica to Rudare – 20-30 Expected to Attend
Night Watch: DASHTA TAKH – Aljazeera reports Turkey has begun shelling Iraq border areas, where the Kurdish nationalist group PKK are suspected to have bases. The shelling is described by villagers in the area as low intensity but regular. An Iraqi officer, speaking on condition of anonymity stated, “The shelling began on Saturday night around 10 pm. It carried on sporadically.” Only empty areas have been hit so far and I suspect Ankara is doing so to force the PKK into defensive positions. Videos linked to the Al Jazeera article actually show roads Turkey has been constructing to assist troop movements into Iraq. For most of the year, Ankara has been assembling ground forces in a number of staging areas and has regularly bombarded mountainous areas where the PKK units are concentrated. [ALJAZEERA]
Murat Karayilan, head of the PKK armed wing expects the Turkish Army to be met with stiff resistance and that his fighters will have support from the local population, “Iraqi Kurds will not support the Turkish Army. If Turkey starts its attack we will swing the Turkish public opinion by political, civil and military struggle.” Karayilan may be overestimating his organization’s support because the villagers interviewed by Al Jazeera said they did not support the PKK and blame them for the war, which began in 1984 and has killed 37,000 people. Ankara is expected to give its authorization for invasion this week. Officially, Washington is against it but unofficially I suspect Washington actually agrees since the PKK have been declared a terrorist organization. The ability of the PKK to use northern Iraq is just one of many examples of the inability of the occupation forces led by Washington to secure Iraq.
Rudare – B92 is reporting the Serbian para-military unit Tzar Lazar Guard has shifted its protest demonstration from Kosovska Mitrovica, in northern Kosovo to Rudare, Serbia’s administrative district on Kosovo’s border. Rudare is less confrontational and there could be violence if some of the Guard attempt to reach Kosovska Mitrovica. Hadzi Andrej Milic, commander of the guard announced, “We’re coming to Kosovo in civvies without guns, bombs or tanks, and I don’t see why anyone would stop us holding a rally in Kosovska Mitrovica.” So far, the number of demonstrators is only 10 people in uniforms and 20 youths in civilian clothes. Milic continued, “We won’t be coming in an organized group or wearing insignia, everyone will be coming independently, some people by coach some by car.” The guard intends to use the gathering to show their willingness to die for Kosovo and keep it under the control of the Serbian government in Belgrade. [B92]
Their presence is by no means welcome not even by Serbian leaders in northern Kosovo who view the demonstration as a provocation that could encourage terrorist activity by both sides. It is the guard’s demand NATO-UN make a serious effort to disarm the Albanian National Army (ANA) which are active in Kosovo, but Brussels wants no shooting of any kind realizing the situation will spiral out of control and spread beyond Kosovo, and that is why the UN keeps extending the negotiation process. Yet none of the parties taking part in the negotiations has any faith in them though Belgrade has indicated without the presence of NATO an agreement could be made with the Albanian community. The Kosovo Police Service (KPS) has said they are prepared to take any measures to prevent the demonstrators from reaching Kosovska Mitrovica. Agim Ceku, Kosovo Prime Minister and former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) has stated, “They’re criminals. They haven’t been invited and will be treated as such.”
It is quite possible this small group of demonstrators intend to be arrested in order to provide an excuse for the rest of the guard to attack the Albanian administration in Kosovo as well as NATO-UN bases.