Kurdish War: The Hizbollah Factor


August 27, 2006: The U.S. has agreed to coordinate US and Turkish policy toward the PKK Kurdish rebel organization. In the wake of the Israel-Hezbollah war, Turkey has insisted that the PKK poses a similar threat to Turkey that Hezbollah does to Israel (and for that matter, to Lebanon). The US has said it is committed to stopping the PKK. Iraq and Turkey have talked about cooperating. At the operational level, coordination would try to insure that Turkish forces in "hot pursuit" of PKK guerrillas (ie, following the PKK from Turkey into northern Iraq) would not accidentally encounter Iraqi military forces. There would also be sharing of intelligence information. Iraq and the US definitely want to avoid Iraqi civilian casualties. Interestingly enough, many Iraqi Kurds don't support the PKK. The PKK ( Kurdistan Workers Party) was once a Marxist organization with as much of a Marxist political agenda as a Kurd nationalist agenda. This turned off a lot of Kurds. As long as Turkey concentrates on the PKK, Iraqi Kurds have tended to look the other way. That might change if a Turkish incursion resulted in the deaths of dozens of innocent Iraqi Kurds.
August 26, 2006: Turkish F-16 fighter-bombers attacked a PKK based "near the Iraq border." The Turkish military described this as detecting PKK rebels in an "uncontrolled" border area.
The number of Iranian Kurds crossing the border from Iran into Iraq has increased. Iran has continued to fire artillery into the Kandil Mountains (northeastern Iraq-Iran-Turkey border). Turkey believes the area contains PKK base camps. Iran believes the PJK (Kurdistan Free Life Party) has a support network in the area. The PJK is essentially the PKK, except it operates inside Iran. The PKK believes Iran is attacking the area in order to gain political points with Turkey. It's more likely Iran is attacking the area because it fears PJK infiltration.
August 24, 2006: The PKK is ready to consider a ceasefire with Turkey. The PKK proposed that the ceasefire could begin on September 21 ( World Peace Day). Turks believe the PKK offer is the result of renewed pressure on the PKK by the Turkish military and increasing cooperation between Turkey and coalition forces in Iraq.
August 23, 2006: Five members of the PKK surrendered to Turkish security forces in Sirnak province.
Meanwhile, in Iraq: Saddam Hussein's trial has now moved to charges of genocide by Saddam and his regime against Iraqi Kurds. Kurds have testified that their villages were attacked by jets that dropped bombs which emitted a "greenish smoke." The smoke smelled like "garlic or rotten apples." The smoke induced vomiting. It also blinded victims. The chemical agent attacks were part of the 1988 "Anfal" campaign by the Iraqi government designed to crush Kurdish resistance. Anfal began in February 1988. According to Kurdish sources, the Iraqi Kurd town of Halabja suffered 5000 dead and 10,000 wounded when it was attacked with chemical munitions. The chemical munitions the Iraqis used are generally thought to be sarin (GB nerve agent) and mustard gas. Kurdish websites said that the Iraqi court will also call several "jash" (Kurdish collaborators) as witnesses. In the 1990s many of the "jash" Kurds were given amnesty by Kurdish political groups.
August 22, 2006: Turkish police arrested three men it claimed were PKK terrorists. The three men were arrested in Istanbul. The police also seized approximately 22 pounds of plastic explosive in a raid on a house used by the alleged terrorists. The Turkish authorities claimed two of the men they arrested were trained in northern Iraq.
August 18, 2006: Iraqi Kurds village of Karosh, Iraq (northeastern Iraq) claimed that Iranian artillery shelled their village.
August 9, 2006: Turkey reported that its security forces killed six PKK guerrillas in a firefight "near" the Iraqi border. The Turkish military has said that it will pursue PKK rebels across the border.


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