Kurdish War: The Catalonia Solution


October 11, 2010: A UN committee condemned Syria's treatment of its Kurdish minority. For example, around 300,000 Syrian Kurds have been denied Syrian nationality, which means they cannot legally travel outside the country (ie, no passports). In addition. Syrian Kurds are denied fair access to health services and basic education. Most of Syria's Kurds live in the northeastern corner of the country, in an area bordering Turkey and Iraq.

October 9, 2010: Iran security forces killed two suspected Kurdish rebels, who had attacked an Iranian police unit in the city of Sanadaj (western Iran). Security forces pursued the suspects. It was unclear if the Kurds belonged to PJAK, or a Kurdish left-wing splinter group, Komala, which also operates in the region.

October 5, 2010: An Iranian Revolutionary Guard force attacked a Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK) position in Iraq. Some 30 people were killed. The attack was retaliation for an alleged PJAK bombing in the city of Mahabad (northwestern Iran, east of the Iran-Iraq-Turkey border area and the Qandil Mountains). The bombing took place in late September and 12 people died in the blast. 80 were wounded. The Iranians said the attack struck a military parade in the city. A PJAK spokesman in Iraq had claimed that the attack on Mahaba did not take place. PJAK has bases in Iraq's Qandil Mountains, which is also the PKK's lair.

The Turkish government challenged the European Union to do more to stop PKK activities in Europe. The fact is, over the last 18 months several Western European countries have been cracking down hard on PKK financial and political activities in their territories. Germany, France, Italy, and Belgium have gone after PKK fundraising and recruitment operations.

September 30, 2010: The PKK announced it would extend its unilateral ceasefire. The ceasefire, declared in August, has been ignored by Turkey and breached by PKK rebels, but it provides good diplomatic theater. The PKK announcement also included a demand that Turkey release jailed Kurdish politicians who have been arrested for alleged anti-government activities.

September 28, 2010: Iraqi and Turkish defense officials met to discuss a Turkish request that Iraq continue to permit Turkish aircraft to attack PKK bases inside Iraq. The talks took place in Turkey, as part of the tripartite committee which includes US representatives. The current mandate expires October 17. Turkey wants the mandate extended a year.

September 25, 2010: Iranian artillery shelled the Iraq-Iran border area in northeastern Iraq, hitting several targets in the Berkama, Shemerk, and Kilsheen areas.

September 16, 2010: In Turkey, a roadside bomb detonated by the PKK killed ten people and wounded four more. The victims were traveling in a small bus and the attack took place on a road outside the village of Gecitli (near the city of Hakkari, Iran-Iraq border area).

September 15, 2010: The PKK announced it would be willing to accept a Kurdish autonomous region within Turkey similar to the status that Catalonia has in Spain. Catalonia has language and cultural rights, its own regional police units, and a Catalan parliament.

September 7, 2010: Turkish authorities reported security forces engaged a PKK rebel group in Hakkari province (southeastern Turkey). Nine PKK fighters were killed in the operation. The PKK started the firefight by firing rocket-propelled grenades at a security outpost. The Turkish government has been steadily improving the defense of police, gendarme, and military outposts in the Iran-Iraq-Turkey border area (also called the Triangle Border Area)


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