Kurdish War: May 8, 2001


Massound Barzani, head of the Iraqi Kurd Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), told Turkish military officials that the KDP would continue to fight PKK guerrillas inside Iraq. The KDP wants to maintain a good relationship with Turkey, but PKK movement from Turkey into KDP country in Iraq is also a direct threat to Barzani. Turkish military sources say that the KDP reported increasing pressure from PKK guerrillas in late 1999. Turkey estimates there are 5,000 PKK guerrillas now inside Iraq (and most of them presumably in KDP territory). The KDP has a record for supporting Turkish Army operations inside Iraq. A subsequent report on Barzanis meetings with Turkish leaders said that the KDP and its Iraqi Kurd rival, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK, the Talabani faction led by Jalal Talabani) are continuing to pursue confidence building measures. The KDP and PUK signed a peace agreement in 1998 (an agreement brokered by the US). Turkey would ultimately like for both the KDP and PUK to cooperate against the PKK. Such a coalition (Turkey and the two Iraqi Kurd factions) would also be the basis for a more effective northern resistance against Saddams regime in Baghdad. 


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