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Old 09-20-2006   #1
SWJED
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Default Turkey mainly, Iraq and the Kurds (2006-2014)

20 September BBC - Israel 'Trains Iraqi Kurd Forces' by Magdi Abdelhadi.

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A report on the BBC TV programme Newsnight showed Israeli experts in Kurdish areas of north Iraq, drilling soldiers in shooting techniques.

Kurdish officials have refused to comment on the report and Israel has denied it knows of any involvement.

The revelation is set to cause enormous problems for the Kurds, not only in Iraq but also in the wider region.

Inside Iraq as well as in the wider region Israel is seen as an enemy of Arabs and Muslims...

Israeli security experts who spoke to the BBC said they could not have worked inside Kurdistan without the knowledge of the Kurdish authorities.

The news will most probably increase the tension between the Kurds and other Iraqis...

The Israeli government says it is conducting an investigation into the BBC report because it is against Israeli law to export military know-how without prior permission...

The BBC report will be like the smoking gun the Arab media has spent years looking for.

Ever since the US-led invasion of Iraq began over three years ago, Arab journalists have been speaking of Israelis operating inside the autonomous region of Kurdistan...
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Old 09-21-2006   #2
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I wonder what Turks will say about this.....
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Old 09-21-2006   #3
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I'd imagine this is more propeganda. The Turks are all over the Kurdish north. We were pretty close up there and worked with various peshmerga units. So I'll go ahead and throw out the BS flag on this.
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Old 09-21-2006   #4
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Default BS Might Very Well be Right...

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Originally Posted by RTK View Post
I'd imagine this is more propeganda. The Turks are all over the Kurdish north. We were pretty close up there and worked with various peshmerga units. So I'll go ahead and throw out the BS flag on this.
...after all - it is BBC.
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Old 09-21-2006   #5
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I came to the conclusion some time ago that BBC stands for Bush Bashing Channel.

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Old 09-21-2006   #6
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Default Bbc...

I have found BBC reporting on Africa useful - even if just for the sheer volume of articles and wide coverage of the continent. Like with any MSM source - I read "between the lines" and typically there is useful information to take away.
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Old 09-21-2006   #7
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Default Rumors or fact

I remember the rumors of Israelis in the Kurdish portion of Iraq prior to going in 2003, and even the right wing Israeli website debka.com was covering stories of Israeli advisors there, so the story has been around awhile. It may well all be smoke and mirrors, and folks are simply reporting on ghosts, but the Israelis are well known for executing false flag operations and it wouldn't be unfeasible for them to be there as contractors pretending to be from another nation. I ran into Israeli advisors in other parts of the world under a false flag, they are good at it (necessity breeds competence). From a strategic stand point it definitely makes sense for Israel to seek influence there, as the Kurds could be a useful surrogate force to facilitate operations in Iraq and Iran. It also makes sense for our enemies to start a rumor that Israel is there to further secretarian violence.

Israel has fairly close relations with Turkey, so I doubt they would risk that by doing do much with the Kurds, but who knows? Whatever the case it provides a great idea for a conspiracy novel.

Last edited by Bill Moore; 09-21-2006 at 01:37 PM. Reason: grammar error
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Old 09-21-2006   #8
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They were there before back in the old days when the Shah was backing the Kurds from Iran. And as Bill points out, you can run into them in the "strangest" places. They were in southern Sudan in the late 60s and early 70s. I worked with them (as contractors) in Zaire and if you remember there were numerous reports on their activities as mercenaries training drug cartel militias in South America in the 80s and 90s.

So while it sounds strange and may be pure "BS," I would not rule it out entirely.

Best
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Old 09-21-2006   #9
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Tom, this a great point about the drug cartels and I don't know for sure but I suspect that it was true. It sure was funny how all those people in central America started wearing the very distinctive Israeli Combat harness??
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Old 12-03-2006   #10
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Default The Iraqi Kurds, the MEK, PJAK and Iran

Don't the Kurds provide sanctuary and support to the MEK, PKK/Kongra Gel, and Ansar al Sunnah? I believe all three of these groups are on the US FTO list. If we are truly serious about the GWOT, how about we ask the Kurds to hand these folks over? Even better, in an effort to gain increased influence with the Turks and Iranians, how about we turn them over to those nations for prosecution?

BTW - didnt Barazani assist Saddam against Talabani during the 90s?
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Old 12-03-2006   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strickland View Post
Don't the Kurds provide sanctuary and support to the MEK, PKK/Kongra Gel, and Ansar al Sunnah? I believe all three of these groups are on the US FTO list. If we are truly serious about the GWOT, how about we ask the Kurds to hand these folks over? Even better, in an effort to gain increased influence with the Turks and Iranians, how about we turn them over to those nations for prosecution?

BTW - didnt Barazani assist Saddam against Talabani during the 90s?
MEK was a Saddam-supported entity; the KDP/PUK never "provided sanctuary and support" to that organization. What remains of them are in areas under US control. On our own side, there has been a bit of a moral debate over the potential for exploiting them against Iran for our own benefit. I believe there is a discussion somewhere on SWC on this issue....

PKK/Kongra Gel et al primarily operate out of the heavily mountainous tri-border (Turkey-Iraq-Iran) area. This is an ideal guerrilla sanctuary and has been used as such by Kurds for centuries. There is much else to occupy the nascent Kurdish governing authorities besides hunting down fellow Kurds at the behest of the Turks - for whom no love is lost by Kurds anywhere. Although elements within the Iraqi Kurdish population may support the Turkish Kurds, they KRG does not - but they also do not make any real attempt to detect, deter or prevent militant Turkish Kurds from using Iraqi territory.

The Kurds actively assisted US forces in rolling up Ansar al-Sunnah elements at the beginning of OIF. There wasn't much of them to begin with, and it is highly unlikely that the Iraqi Kurds will stand for an operational re-emergence of that group in Kurdish areas.

Finally, Barzani didn't "assist" Saddam against Talabani - he requested Saddam's assistance in the middle of the civil war between the two Kurdish parties shortly after the PUK began receiving operational assistance from Iran. That incident was a disaster for the Kurds, resulting in the pullout of all USAID OFDA/DART teams from northern Iraq along with the multi-national MCC - with a comcomitant loss of NGO assistance to the rebuilding of Iraqi Kurdistan. Significant lessons learned on all sides.
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Old 12-03-2006   #12
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Excellent response.

So are we going to give other nations/groups a similar pass on the presence of groups identified as FTOs? Regardless of what the Kurdish priorities may be at the present, there is still a LARGE presence of PKK/Kongra Gel militants in the vicinity of Mout Qandhil. In addition, there continue to be elements of MEK and Ansar al Sunnah in the Kurdish regions as well. Are we going to give the Pakis and Afghanis a similar pass when it comes to locating and capturing groups identified as FTOs? Are we going to give the Colombians a similar pass in tracking down the FARC?

We get all over the Syrians and even the Lebanese for the presence of extremist groups, though in the case of Lebanon, Hizb allah has been democratically elected, yet we say nothing to the Kurds. I think the average American would not want US dollars going to groups that are on the FTO list.

It just seems as if we hold the Kurds up as a bright shining example of the "possible" in Iraq, when in fact, they harbor groups we have identified as FTOs. Are we in a war on terror or not?

Last edited by Strickland; 12-03-2006 at 08:26 PM. Reason: additional info
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Old 12-03-2006   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strickland
So are we going to give other nations/groups a similar pass on the presence of groups identified as FTOs? Regardless of what the Kurdish priorities may be at the present, there is still a LARGE presence of PKK/Kongra Gel militants in the vicinity of Mout Qandhil. In addition, there continue to be elements of MEK and Ansar al Sunnah in the Kurdish regions as well.
Didn't I just reply to this?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Strickland
Are we going to give the Pakis and Afghanis a similar pass when it comes to locating and capturing groups identified as FTOs? Are we going to give the Colombians a similar pass in tracking down the FARC?
I would argue that we already do give these countries "a pass", in the context I believe to which you are referring. Pakistan certainly stands out, a review of key figures in Afghanistan both regionally and nationally will illustrate many operating on at least a temporary "pass", and as for Columbia, more so than the FARC, we are giving them a "pass" on the right-wing paramilitaries.

In some aspects, the "passes" are gross errors of policy judgment, in other cases they are viewed as expedient temporary oversights that permit continued application of pol-mil pressures in higher priority areas. Sometimes these oversights are necessary to preserve a precarious balance of stability until effective alternatives and/or countermeasures are in place.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Strickland
We get all over the Syrians and even the Lebanese for the presence of extremist groups, though in the case of Lebanon, Hizballah has been democratically elected, yet we say nothing to the Kurds. I think the average American would not want US dollars going to groups that are on the FTO list.
Selective application of moral righteousness is a long-standing aspect of foreign policy.

However, I believe you are going a bit far in your analogies. The last part of your statement would have one believe that US aid dollars to the Kurds are being further funneled to terrorist organizations in a form of policy-directed state-sponsored terrorism. That is utterly and completely false - but it is certainly along the lines of what the government of Turkey is continually disseminating in its long-standing strident propaganda campaign against the KRG.

As I stated in my first post, far more than the Kurds, it is the US that is responsible for what little cohesive bits of the MEK remain in Iraq. I already stated why, and that little moral dilemma is something that has received extremely little coverage by any media source.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stickland
It just seems as if we hold the Kurds up as a bright shining example of the "possible" in Iraq, when in fact, they harbor groups we have identified as FTOs. Are we in a war on terror or not?
Despite the weaknesses and faults of the KRG, in contrast to the rest of the country they certainly are a "bright shining example of the possible". Hell, go spend a week each in Baghdad and Basra, then do the same in Suleymaniyah, Irbil and Dohuk. The experience will be enlightening.

And, for emphasis, the KRG is not "harboring" any of these groups, as in the nature of actively providing support and refuge as a matter of policy. The closest to that characterization would be the Kurdish militants from Turkey - and I already attempted to clarify the difference between popular support (as many in the US supported the IRA for years) and official (open or clandestine) support provided by the KRG. The former does exist (strongly in some places - take Boston to further my analogy), the latter does not.
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Old 12-05-2006   #14
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...with regard to the MEK:

The Jamestown Foundation, 9 Feb 06:

Bulgarians to Dismantle Iranian Terrorist Group MKO in Iraq
Quote:
...It has now been confirmed that Bulgarian troops will assume control of the formerly-armed Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MKO) organization's Ashraf camp. This move likely constitutes the final stage of removing the MKO from Iraq, a process that began with the U.S. bombing of the organization's bases in April 2003....

...This will be the first time that non-U.S. soldiers have been involved in dealing with the MKO in Iraq. Interestingly, the Bulgarians' primary task is to ensure security "inside" the camp. There is little doubt this signifies a major development relating to the status of the MKO in the near future, with the camp's complete dismantlement within 12 months a distinct possibility. After all, this is the first time coalition troops have been deployed inside Ashraf. Previously, U.S. forces have been stationed immediately outside the camp and rarely interfere in the daily routine of its inhabitants. ...
CRS, 1 Nov 06: Iran: US Concerns and Policy Responses
Quote:
...U.S. forces attacked PMOI military installations in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom and negotiated a ceasefire with PMOI military elements in Iraq, requiring the approximately 4,000 PMOI fighters to remain confined to their Ashraf camp near the border with Iran. Its weaponry is in storage, guarded by U.S. and now Bulgarian military personnel.

Press reports say that some Administration officials want the group removed from the FTO list and want a U.S. alliance with it against the Tehran regime. Then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice stated in November 2003 that the United States unambiguously considers the group as a terrorist organization. However, the debate over the group was renewed with the U.S. decision in July 2004 to grant the Ashraf detainees “protected persons” status under the 4th Geneva Convention, meaning they will not be extradited to Tehran or forcibly expelled as long as U.S. forces remain in Iraq. At the same time, some Iraqi leaders from pro-Iranian factions, including Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, have said that the group might be expelled from Iraq by early 2007....
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Old 12-05-2006   #15
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Default Mek

I wish I could report that either of those reports were entirely correct. Regardless of the initial "plans" or intent, the MEK remains under US "custody." While they no longer have protected person status, they remain guarded by US troops in Iraq.
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Old 04-13-2007   #16
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The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Monitor, 12 Apr 07:

Turkey's Coming Offensive Against the Iraqi-based PKK
Quote:
...Turkey and Iran have quietly worked out a reciprocal security arrangement, whereby Iran's military will engage Kurdish separatists whenever encountered, in exchange for Turkey's cooperation against the Iranian Mujahideen-e-Khalq movement (MEK), a well-armed and cult-like opposition group that previously found refuge in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Both Iranian officials and Turkey's prime minister have alluded to "mechanisms" (likely to involve intelligence-sharing) already in place to deal with security issues of mutual interest. Neither Turkey nor Iran has any desire to see an independent Kurdish state established in northern Iraq.....
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Old 04-25-2007   #17
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Default 'Turkey mainly, Iraq and the Kurds: a merged thread

Moderator's Note

The title of this thread was 'Turkish Officials: Troops Enter Iraq' and covered now historical events. There are several, smaller threads on Turkey and the Kurds, both within Turkey and in Iraq, which shortly will be merged into this thread. The thread has been re-titled 'Turkey, Iraq and the Kurds: a merged thread'.


Jamestown Foundation - Kurdish Peshmerga reinforce Turkish border.

Quote:
...

Following the announcement of the proposed Turkish military plan against PKK installations in northern Iraq, witnesses also reported that two Turkish aircraft penetrated Iraqi airspace for about 10 minutes when they flew over Kista, a village near the Iraqi-Turkish border (Azzam, April 16). The Turks are not only putting a military squeeze on Iraqi Kurdistan, but are restricting trade along the Khabour Crossing, a vital trade link for the Kurds, to ratchet up the pressure. Turkish Minister of Foreign Trade Kursad Tuzmen said that Turkish trucks carrying material into Iraq will no longer use the Khabour Gate, whose collection tolls are a major source of revenue for the Kurdish government, and instead will start using the border gate with Syria to transport material into Iraqi territory (al-Bayyna al-Jadidah, April 15). The Turkish military also positioned about 50 tanks along the Turkish side of the Khabour checkpoint. If the Turkish blockade along the Khabour Gate continues, the Kurds will lose a significant source of income and influence. This will likely have a stronger effect in influencing Kurdish actions and rhetoric regarding the PKK ...

Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-13-2012 at 07:11 PM. Reason: Add Mod's Note prior to work
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Old 06-01-2007   #18
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Default Turkish Invasion?

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Turkey's top general said Thursday his army which has been massing troops on the border with Iraq was prepared to attack separatist Kurdish guerrillas in a cross-border offensive.

Gen. Yasar Buyukanit said the military was ready and awaiting government orders for an incursion, putting pressure on the government to support an offensive that risks straining ties with the United States and Europe and raising tensions with Iraqi Kurds.

Quote:
Public support for an offensive is high, especially following the recent killings of soldiers and a suicide bombing that killed six people
Link: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,276932,00.html

So what does this mean? Is this threat real or just posturing? Part of the justification for not pulling out of Iraq is so that a regional war does not develop. This move would seem to spark it. What role will the peshmerga play? Will they fight Turkey or the PKK? What about the Iraqi government? What will their reaction be to this threat to their sovereignty?
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Old 06-01-2007   #19
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The threat is very real. Over 15,000 Turks were killed fighting with Kurdish seperatists from the 1980's onward through today. The Turks will not and do not mess around when it comes to Kurds.

Now, will they actually do this?

I don't think it's posturing at all. I also don't think it will lead to a regional war - unless the Iranians and Syrians join in with attacks on their Kurdish populations - and then we are in a seriously tight spot. The Peshmerga will fight the Turks first, and the PKK second...ethnicity will win out.

Don't want to lay odds on the situation but there is no love lost between both sides here.
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Old 06-01-2007   #20
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While I do not discount the longstanding animosity between Turks and Kurds causing an unfortunate engagement, I do doubt the Turks will actually mount a major cross border incursion. Having a low level border viloation omething that they can explain away as an "oops, sorry I didn't mean to cross the border but I was in hot pursuit of these PKK bad boys ," seems well within the range of the posible. What I cannot speak to is the reaction by the folks on the Iraqi side of the border. Given the amount of Turkish investment into the Iraqi Kurds' economy, there may be a lot of room for maneuver.
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