Sunni and Shia Arab
politicians have united in opposing Kurdish attempts to claim the city of
Kirkuk, and nearby oil fields, as part of the Kurdish territory in the north.
This is drawing the line in the sand, between Arab and Kurdish attitudes on
Kirkuk. Next step is a civil war, unless one side backs down.
January 13, 2008: Calling the PKK a
"common enemy," the US assured Turkey that it was committed to helping Turkey and
Iraq reach a political solution to the problem presented by the PKK. The US
also said it would help Turkey in the
border area with Iraq. Help in this case
means several things, but includes providing aerial surveillance imagery and
"clearing airspace" for Turkish aircraft flying missions into northern Iraq.
January 11, 2008: Turkish
fighter-bombers struck three PKK targets in northern Iraq.
January 10, 2008: The US government
said that it had designated the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (acronym is TAK) a
terrorist group. The TAK have claimed responsibility for numerous attacks
inside Turkey, including bombs in Istanbul and in Turkish tourist areas along
the Mediterranean Sea. TAK press statements have repeatedly stressed their
intention to strike economic targets (like tourist facilities).
January 4, 2008: A terrorist bomb
exploded in the city of Diyarbakir (southeastern Turkey). This is a
predominantly ethnic Kurd city. It is also near a major Turkish Air Force air
base. The bomb killed four people and wounded 68. Turkish authorities said that
a number of the wounded were Turkish Army soldiers who were in a bus.
December 25, 2007: Iraq wants Turkey to
coordinate military operations, against the PKK, with Iraq. The Iraqi
government has reached an understanding with Turkey regarding the PKK. Turkey can strike PKK bases, and the Kurdish
president of Iraq (Talabani) has said this publicly, for added impact. Iraqi
Kurdistan's government is also positioning itself with care. Iraqi Kurds
recognize Turkish Kurds as their kin. However, Iraqi Kurdistan's government has
said that it will remain "independent" in the fight between Turkey and the PKK.
That's an important political message. The political distancing by Iraqi Kurds
from the PKK organization is a signal that the Iraqi Kurdish government doesn't
regard the PKK as the political representative of Turkish Kurds. A
representative of Turkish Kurds, perhaps, but not the only one. The Iraqi
Kurdish government, however, has repeatedly condemned Turkish attacks in northern
Iraq. That's perfectly understandable. The Turks say they will stop when Iraqis
arrest senior PKK leaders.
December 24, 2007: Turkish
fighter-bombers once again hit PKK bases in Iraq's Khandil Mountains. One
unconfirmed report said three fighters bombed the village of Rawanduz.
The Turkish offensive that began on
December 16 killed at least 150 PKK fighters. The offensive struck 200
different PKK targets and involved at least 50 attack aircraft. The target list
included three PKK command centers, nine logistics dumps, and 14 "arsenals"
(either weapons dumps, which would be large, or weapons caches, which would be
small). The Turkish attack aircraft dropped laser guided munitions on some of