Sunday, December 23, 2007

Turkey Launches Third Round Of Air Strikes On Kurds In One Week

US Accused Of Violating Iraq Sovereignty By Helping Turkey Attack Kurds

There are contradictory reports across the media about whether or not the Turkish military has been using US intelligence in plotting its jet fighter and artillery attacks on Kurdish positions inside Iraq, and just how helpful that intelligence has been to Turkey's military operations.

For the third time in seven days, Turkey has hit Kurdish separatists in Northern Iraq :

Turkish aircraft attacked positions of the separatist organization PKK before shelling the area with artillery, AFP said, citing the statement.

The statement gave no details about the targets, saying that more information would be released next week and that Turkey would carry out more operations in spite of harsh winter conditions in the mountainous region, AFP said.

As for the Americans helping Turkey to bomb Kurdistan militants, the Kurdish coalition is obviously not very happy :

A Kurdistan Coalition leader criticized on Thursday the U.S. policy of providing military assistance to Turkish troops in their bombing of northern Iraqi regions, describing the cooperation as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

While stressing the strength of U.S.-Kurdish relations, Kurdish leader Mahmoud Othman told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI), "U.S.-Turkish cooperation in the bombing of regions in northern Iraq is a violation of Iraqi sovereignty and a breach of U.S. commitment to protect Iraq's sovereignty and borders."

"It also contradicts the declaration of intentions and principles signed by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and U.S. President George W. Bush last month, which provides for U.S. protection of Iraqi borders and national government," the parliamentarian indicated.

Slashing the United States for providing "incorrect intelligence reports" to the Turks, Othman said, "The victims of the Turkish shelling were civilians," in referernce to a Turkish bombing of villages in Iraq's Kurdistan region a few days ago.

On Tuesday Turkish Ambassador to Washington Nabi Sensoy said that the U.S. administration provided his country with necessary intelligence that led to raids in northern Iraq on Kurdish militants on Sunday.

On Monday, about 500-600 Turkish troops penetrated two kilometers into the Kurdistan region in pursuit of members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq.

Turkey has massed up to 100,000 troops along the frontier in preparation for a cross-border operation to crush about 3,000 guerrillas of the PKK, blamed for attacks that killed 15 Turkish soldiers.

Scott Sullivan, writing in Petroleum News, says it is a myth that Turkey is containing the Kurdish rebel group, the PKK. He pushes the line that Turkey must crush the PKK or face the break-up of both Turkey, and Iraq :

To avoid catastrophic defeat, Turkey must push for three options. First, Turkey should assert its claim to Mosul and send troops to Mosul, with or without US permission. The Kurds have armed forces in Kirkuk. The Iranians have armed forces in Basra. Turkey is entitled to have armed forces im Mosul.

Second, Turkey should request that Turkey and the US create a joint force to protect the oilfields in northern Iraq from Kurdish annexation. The US-Turkish joint force will push the Kurdish peshmerga militia from Kirkuk's oilfields. The peshmerga presence in Kirkuk is providing security for Kurdish officials who are literally stealing Iraq's oil. Moreover, the US will announce via President Bush that all Kurdish oil contracts must first be approved in Baghdad. The US will consider apprehending and prosecuting Kurdish officials who are stealing Iraq's oil reserves.

Finally, to demonstrate US resolve and fairness on Kurdish oil issues, President Bush shall the Hut Oil Company to suspend its oil contracts with the Kurds until such contracts are reviewed and approved by Iraq's central government.

Third, Turkey will announce that it will, with Talabani’s permission, push most of the population in Northern Iraqi PKK zones into areas controlled by Talabani. The purpose of this policy is to put an end, once and for all, to the PKK safe haven in Northern Iraq.

Fourth, the US shall request that the Iraqi flag be displayed in all government buildings in Northern Iraq. If Kurdish compliance with this rule is not forthcoming, the US shall withdraw its troops from the Kurdish zone.