Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS=MOSCOW – ARBIL – SULAIMANIYAH WATCH – West Asia – Caucasus Theatre: Moscow – Arbil – Kirkuk – Mosul – Sulaimaniyah/Ankara – Baghdad – Damascus – Tehran – Tbilisi; Kurdish Leaders in Northern Iraq Request Assistance From Russia – Moscow Will Assist Kurds to Weaken Turkey-Iran – 3,000 Residents of Israeli Town Sderot Have Fled in Past 6 Months – Hezbollah Continues Preparations for War in South Lebanon
Night Watch: MOSCOW – As Turkey continues to mass troops on Iraq’s border in preparation for a major offensive against the Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq, Kurdish leaders are turning to Moscow for support. RIA reports Babakr Khoshavi, the Kurdish representative of Iraqi Kurdistan to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which is headed by Russia, spoke at a news conference in Moscow and stated the Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani wrote a letter to Russian leaders requesting Moscow’s assistance in a negotiated settlement. Babakr continued by saying, “Russia has historically good relations with the Kurds and I believe it is quite possible for Russia to play a mediating role.” The reason for the historically good relations is due to Russia’s historical wars and regional rivalry with Turkey, a rivalry that has intensified for more than a year when Ankara, as did Tehran, increased its military support of the Georgian government in Tbilisi in an effort to prevent Russia and the industrialized world from controlling the resources of the Caucasus, a crossroads of energy pipelines, the most strategic theatre in World War III. [RIA]
I suspect both Moscow and the Kurdish leaders are aware no peaceful negotiated settlement is possible and the public discussion of that is just a publicity smokescreen to cover the military assistance Moscow is planning to send in order to make Ankara-Tehran’s invasion at least difficult if not defeated. Since Ankara-Tehran support Tbilisi, then Moscow in return supports the Kurds in: Arbil-Mosul-Kirkuk-Sulaimaniyah and Russia may not mind if Turkey-Iran realizes it. It is for this reason Moscow and with support from the West, has re-activated the strategic bombers in Russia’s air force. Concerning Ankara’s invasion Babakr remarked, “Turkey has repeatedly attempted to enter the area but those operations invariably failed.” He said Ankara encountered “extreme difficulty” in accessing PKK bases and of course, Washington has agreed to assist in providing whatever information/intelligence the Pentagon possessed as to the bases location and strength.
But information from Washington could be of limited use at best since the PKK are quite mobile and with Moscow’s support will soon be more heavily armed. Relations between Moscow and Ankara-Tehran are about to take a more realistic official turn for the worse. Ankara should realize the West values its relations with Russia more than it values its relations with Turkey. The increasing and massive investment in Russia by financial capitals in the West is a constant reminder.
Sderot – INN reports more than 3,000 residents of the Israeli town Sderot near Gaza have fled in the past six months due to Qassam rocket and mortar attacks. Today four more Qassams were fired from northern Gaza but fell in open areas of the Negev desert. The population of the town was 20,000. [INN]
Litani River – There is more detail about the maneuvers Hezbollah recently conducted over three days in secrecy south of the Litani River in Lebanon, which is less than twenty miles from Israel’s border. The French newspaper Le Figaro reported several days before the exercises Hezbollah was no longer confined to the area north of the Litani but is now able to expand its position further south including into areas patrolled by the 13,000 troops of UNIFIL, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon with most of the troops European. The Le Figaro article mentioned eyewitness accounts of caravans of trucks moving into the area and seeing Hezbollah fighters digging into orchards and immediately covering it up. They also reported hearing suspicious explosions. What the fighters were digging are probably arms caches for storing weapons and explosives while the explosions heard could have been the construction of bunkers and fortifications. [INN]
Israeli warplanes dropped flares over the area Monday night perhaps as a way of reminding Hezbollah they are under observation. Lebanon Prime Minister Fouad Siniora pretended to know nothing about the maneuvers, but a French military source stated Lebanon’s government was fully aware of Hezbollah’s activities, “Yet, for now, it (Beirut) is not doing anything about it.” Siniora and Beirut would require Tehran’s permission and Iran wants Lebanon as a major battlefield in this theatre.