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Thread: Turkey mainly, Iraq and the Kurds (2006-2014)

  1. #121
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    The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Monitor, 26 Mar 09:

    PJAK, Iran and the United States: Kurdish Militants Designated Terrorists by the United States
    The United States Treasury Department added the Free Life Party of Kurdistan (Parti bo Jiyani Azadi la Kurdistan - PJAK) to its list of designated terrorist groups on February 4. Operating on the Iranian-Iraqi border under the umbrella of the Kurdistan Workers Party (Parti Karkerani Kurdistan - PKK), PJAK has sought to create an autonomous Kurdish region within Iran since its formation in 2004, though the relationship between Iran and the PKK dates back to the creation of the Islamic State of Iran in 1979. This development also highlights unique dynamics of the relationship between a terrorist organization (the PKK) and a state sponsor (Iran).....

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    MEK is in the news here locally and internationally as a pawn again in an Iraqi-Iranian chess game. As of 1 January Camp Ashraf 60 miles north of Baghdad went to ISF control. Gov Iraq says they must go; they don't want to go to Iran; no one else wants them. Have to wait and see how it turns out (the MEK will no doubt lose).

    Best
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  3. #123
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    USIP, Apr 09: The Kurds in Syria: Fueling Separatist Movements in the Region?
    Summary

    • Kurds in Syria have been denied basic social, cultural, and political rights, in many cases stemming from the Syrian state’s refusal to grant citizenship.

    • Kurdish political opposition in Syria is fractured. Though some join Kurds in other countries in calling for the emergence of a separate Kurdish state, many Kurds reject separatism and have generally been committed to peaceful democratic struggle.

    • Democratic reforms in Syria that improve the human rights situation for Kurds and non-Kurds could go a long way to alleviate the tension between the Kurds and the Syrian state.

    • The problems that Syrian Kurds face cannot be truly solved without an effort both to improve the human rights of Kurds throughout the region and to foster their political inclusion in their states of residency.

    • The United States and European Union should use any diplomatic tools at their disposal to promote appropriate reforms in Syria and the region.

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    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
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    I am a mean guy I reckon. I would have let Turkey bring troops into Iraq on condition that they have faught with our troops in the central triangle/Baghdad area. In exchange, from the getgo I would have insisted that Turkey have allowed original troop and material access into Iraq... and today Turkey should allow gradual withdrawals through Turkey.

    All take and no give by Turkey is not acceptable to me.

    We are in way over our heads in all these areas where ethnic divisions and conflicting claims of soverignty reach back hundreds... in the case of the Palestinians and Israel thousands of years old.

    I am exhausted by the events and frictions. The Pakhtuns want a Pakhtunwana Land; the Kurds want Kurdistan; and the Palestinians want all of Israel back, which on it's face is absurd and impossible.

    The Armenians in my book have the only valid claim and promise of independence/nationhood dating back to the end of WW I,

    President Obama refused to keep his campaign promise and white washed his entier Armenian plan he ran on in his campaign when speaking to the Turkish Parliament this week.

    Never mentioned the word "Armenian."

    I am happy that Iran and Syria are "upset" over the Kurds. They need to be less arrogant and more humbly accomodating, but that will happen when you know where freezes over.

    In Iraq, frankly, the Kurds are the most dependable and loyal allies for NATO and the US. But, they have to reign in cross border attacks into Turkey, which Turkey has every right to react to by return cross border fighting.

    All a big circle going no where!
    Last edited by George L. Singleton; 04-08-2009 at 02:21 AM.

  5. #125
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    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/eu...913883353.html

    "Explosion kills soldiers in Turkey

    At least nine soldiers have been killed and two others injured in a landmine blast in southeastern Turkey, a military commander has said.

    The landmine, believed to have been planted by Kurdish fighters, exploded as a military vehicle was passing near the village of Abali in Diyarbakir province."

  6. #126
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George L. Singleton View Post
    We are in way over our heads in all these areas where ethnic divisions and conflicting claims of soverignty reach back hundreds... in the case of the Palestinians and Israel thousands of years old.

    I am exhausted by the events and frictions. The Pakhtuns want a Pakhtunwana Land; the Kurds want Kurdistan; and the Palestinians want all of Israel back, which on it's face is absurd and impossible.
    ... hmmmm... so we are all fighting over the same stuff we always did? Sadly this will come as a great surprise to a great many.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Mmm...

    Yep......

  8. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    Have to wait and see how it turns out (the MEK will no doubt lose).
    Tom,
    Looks like you nailed it.
    Seven Iranian Dissidents Killed at Camp Ashraf
    Seven Iranian dissidents have been killed at Camp Ashraf, 60 kilometers north of Baghdad, during a surprise raid by Iraqi military and security forces on Tuesday. The camp, in Diyala Province, is run by the Iranian opposition group Mujahideen Khalq Organization (MKO). Iraqi forces have surrounded the camp and clashes are continuing for a second day. - via Uskowi on Iran

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Thanks. The fat lady has not sung as yet...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    Thanks. The fat lady has not sung as yet...
    There is some interesting information out there about the MeK turning into a cult post-2003. This is probably going to play out more along the lines of Waco.

    What's amazing is the amount of restraint the GoI is showing in dealing with the MeK. I might be a hopeless optimist, but this might mark the begining of a responsible GoI that's part of the world community.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Courtney Massengale View Post
    What's amazing is the amount of restraint the GoI is showing in dealing with the MeK. I might be a hopeless optimist, but this might mark the begining of a responsible GoI that's part of the world community.
    Not sure that I agree or disagree - just curious what you mean.

    How would you have expected the GoI to act? These are individuals whom Iran wants done away with - something that the GoI might prefer to do for them, as a political gesture to smooth relations. But these are also individuals who have some protected status under humanitarian law, so dumping them in a mass grave or locking them up concentration-camp-style are not options as long as US military, diplomats, NGOs, and western media are looking over their shoulders.

    It seems to me that on a path of options available to the GoI, narrowed on one side by Iranian pressure and on the other by western pressure, this was straight down the middle. While I could not have predicted the specific actions taken and the precise timing, what they did doesn't seem very surprising to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    Not sure that I agree or disagree - just curious what you mean.

    How would you have expected the GoI to act? These are individuals whom Iran wants done away with - something that the GoI might prefer to do for them, as a political gesture to smooth relations.
    This doesn’t only benefit the Iranians. These people believe in just about every failed theory of governance that has been attempted in the 20th century. They're not reasonable people and to presume that they could be somehow integrated into Iraqi society isn't a manageable expectation.

    This was an internal policing action by a sovereign nation, not a military opeartion - and that's what's so surprising.

    But these are also individuals who have some protected status under humanitarian law, so dumping them in a mass grave or locking them up concentration-camp-style are not options as long as US military, diplomats, NGOs, and western media are looking over their shoulders.
    Its also not an either/or situation. The GoI could do what they usually do with internal groups that disagree with them... round up the leaders and toss them into prisons never to reappear again. Just the fact that they used nonlethal methods to deal with this shows a lot of forethought and control.

    Not a lot of people are going to criticize the action the Iraqis took because there’s nothing there to criticize. That's nothing short of a miracle considering how sensitive this situiation is.

  13. #133
    Council Member Team Infidel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Courtney Massengale View Post
    There is some interesting information out there about the MeK turning into a cult post-2003. This is probably going to play out more along the lines of Waco.

    What's amazing is the amount of restraint the GoI is showing in dealing with the MeK. I might be a hopeless optimist, but this might mark the begining of a responsible GoI that's part of the world community.
    I have to agree with you. During my last tour, I spend several weeks at Ashraf interviewing members of the MeK. They are, in the better sense of the word, a cult. This will never end well. Once the GoI go into that compound to round up the members you will see them on the BBC burning themselves. They have done it before in France, and I am almost certain they will do it again here.

    Unfortunately, only a small population of these members are really the puppet masters. The rest are the leftovers from the Iran/Iraq war or peasant farmers that were dubbed into joining. They have definitely drunk the koolaid and this will have catastrophic implications in the long run. Problem #1… giving a terrorist organization Protected Persons status in 2003. We all know who to thank for that one.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-31-2009 at 12:34 PM. Reason: pheasant to peasant, coolaide to koolaid

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    RAND, 30 Jul 09: The Mujahedin-e Khalq in Iraq: A Policy Conundrum
    From the early weeks of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) until January 2009, coalition forces detained and provided security for members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK), an exiled Iranian dissident cult group living in Iraq. At the outset of OIF, the MeK was designated a hostile force, largely because of its history of cooperation with Saddam Hussein’s military in the Iran-Iraq War and its alleged involvement in his suppression of the Shia and Kurdish uprisings that followed the Gulf War of 1991. Since 1997, the MeK has been listed as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) by the United States because of the attacks it has conducted against Iranian targets since the time of its founding in 1965—and particularly due to the assassinations of three U.S. Army officers and three U.S. civilian contractors in Tehran during the 1970s, which were attributed to the MeK. Despite their belief that the MeK did not pose a security threat, coalition forces detained the group and provided protection to prevent the Iraqi government from expelling MeK members to Iran, even though Iran had granted the MeK rank and file amnesty from prosecution. The coalition’s decision to provide security for an FTO was very controversial because it placed the United States in the position of protecting a group that it had labeled a terrorist organization. Among many resulting complications, this policy conundrum has made the United States vulnerable to charges of hypocrisy in the war on terrorism.....

  15. #135
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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Infidel View Post
    Unfortunately, only a small population of these members are really the puppet masters. The rest are the leftovers from the Iran/Iraq war or peasant farmers that were dubbed into joining. They have definitely drunk the koolaid and this will have catastrophic implications in the long run.
    I'm not really sure that the MeK "matters" in the long run. Its going to be rather catastrophic if you're in the MeK, but I'm not sure that anyone will really make an issue out of the MeK going away forever.

    The real question is if this will embolden the GoI to go after some other loose ends before the Americans leave. And why wouldn't they? If I was in the Sons of Iraq and didn't want to take a GoI job, I would be paying close attention to what goes on in Ashraf....

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    Default Confidence Building Between Turks and Iraqi Kurds

    The Atlantic Council, 1 Jun 09: Confidence Building Between Turks and Iraqi Kurds
    This report assesses the views and interests of Iraqis, Iraqi Kurds, regional players and other major stakeholders as the basis for cooperation when interests overlap and preventing conflict when they diverge. Since interests are shaped by history, the report considers the history of Kurds in Turkey and in Iraq. The report also evaluates opportunities for collaboration, and flash-points for conflict escalation between Iraqis, as well as between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan. While the region remains volatile, the report notes significant progress in Turkey-KRG relations as a result of constructive dialogue between officials from both sides over the past year.

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    Default Turkish COIN campaign in Kurdistan

    Hello

    Does anybody have any references to literature about the history of this campaign?

    Regards,
    uwe
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-15-2011 at 06:02 PM. Reason: Moved to the RFI thread

  18. #138
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Check existing threads

    UWEW,

    The Turkish COIN in Kurdistan is - for SWC - largely overlooked I suspect. Try the search tools. I found at least a dozen likely places where items maybe located. Good luck.
    davidbfpo

  19. #139
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    I'm exchanging email with a guy writing a Ph.D. thesis on it at the Turkish War College. I could link you up with him.

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    If you have a local library that carries Jane's Intelligence Review, they have had a number of good pieces on that conflict over the years. You can also run a search at the Jamestown Foundation's website for "PKK" and you'll get a number of articles that you can sift through. And Human Rights Watch has published a few papers over the past two decades on issues of Kurdish displacement, war crimes, and language rights. Just select Turkey on their publications menu and scroll back through the years.

    From more of a political POV, Gunter's The Kurds and the Future of Turkey, Olson's The Kurdish Nationalist Movement in the 1990s and Barkey & Fuller's Turkey's Kurdish Question are useful.

    A very good read providing the POV of the individual Turkish soldier during the height of the conflict in the '90s, which was eventually banned in Turkey, is Mehmedin Kitabi: Güneydoğu'da Savaşmış Askerler Anlatıyor. Unfortunately, I'm not aware of an English edition.

    Finally, here's a few links to papers you may find of interest:

    UNESCO, 2002: The Decline of PKK and the Viability of a One-state Solution in Turkey

    U of Helsinki Dissertation, Sep 02: The Invisible War in North Kurdistan

    CSIS, 31 Oct 07: Turkey’s Military Options for Dealing with the PKK: A Preliminary Assessment

    GeoForum, May 08: Environmental Destruction as a Counterinsurgency Strategy in the Kurdistan region of Turkey

    NPS Thesis, June 08: Turkey and PKK Terrorism

    But the literature is sparse; it certainly deserves a much more thorough study than what is currently available.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 01-15-2011 at 07:12 PM.

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