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Kurds Are More Pro-American than Americans! Glenn Reynolds' sock-puppet Michael Totten won himself a big slot over at the White House News Network by spewing an astonishing collection of lies about America's puppet state in Iraq.

'The only Kurd terrorists are based in Iran' warbles little Mikey. And don't all these ethnically pure Kurdish policemen seem remarkably well-groomed and  turned out. Neatness counts when ensuring that only those with the right ethnic credentials have the right to vote.

There's just one problem with little Mikey's hymn to Kurd authoritarianism. It's pure crap. The most dangerous Kurdish terrorists are based in American controlled northern Iraq. PKK terrorists just killed a bunch more Turkish troops and the Turkish government is ready to go ballistic.

Guess how many secular Muslim states with free elections and key security deals with the west and who have been members of the North-Atlantic Treaty Organization there are in the Middle East right now?

If you guess none, you could be right. That is, if plans to partition Iraq gain much more traction.

There are something like 28 million Kurds living in and around Turkey, Iran and Iraq. Most are probably real nice folks. The worst, however, seem to inhabit Iraq. At least, that's were 3000 PKK terrorists are based, the ones who crossed the border earlier this week to kill 13 Turkish soldiers.

Turkey today served notice of their intention to invade Iraq to hunt down Kurdish terrorists based in US controlled northern Iraq. You know, the friendly place Little Mikey claims has no terrorists at all.

PKK Terrorists share the same nationalist dream of uniting Kurds in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria into an ethnically pure Kurd state.

The US military is not going to be able to fix Iraq. An independent Kurd state looks like an easy solution to Dem politicians desperate for an easy fix. Fact is: an independent Kurd state will deprive Sunnis of any oil revenue, as Juan Cole points out. And most Iraqis do not want partition.

We know that US troops are already likely operating in Iran. A pro-US Kurd state is the most likely location for US troops stationed in the region.

The threat of invasion by Turkey means that the next Dem President will have to offer security guarantees to the Kurds at the very least. Much more likely, US troops will remain in northern Iraq for many years to come.

How long? Figure fifty years at the very minimum, because that's half as long as the Kurd-Turk conflict has lasted, and that's a conservative estimate. And that's how long US troops have been in Japan and Germany, the countries referred to most often as examples by the surge can work crowd.

Update: Juan Cole claims the Turkish military is 'livid'.

Originally posted to kidneystones on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 10:14 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Important distinction: (12+ / 0-)

    The most dangerous Kurdish terrorists are based in American controlled northern Iraq.

    The US doesn't control Kurdistan.  It's pretty much autonomous, and has been since the early nineties.

    Much more likely, US troops will remain in northern Iraq for many years to come.

    There's under a hundred in Kurdistan now.

    Major General Benjamin Mixon is the commanding officer for American forces in northern Iraq and Kurdistan, 20,000 in all.

    Mixon tells Simon there are only 60 to 70 U.S. troops stationed in the Kurdish areas. "There’s no need for American forces up there because of the nature of the situation," he explains.

    Read Obama's 2002 speech against invading Iraq.

    by Inland on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 10:20:01 AM PDT

  •  This is why partition is such a bad idea... (5+ / 0-)

    It would destabilize eastern Turkey and move this well along the way toward a true regional conflict.

    You think gas prices are bad now, wait until the entire Middle East erupts in warfare.

    The Turkish/Kurdish issue is the powderkeg that has not been much discussed of late, but it could be the most dangerous issue with Iraq.

    "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." -- Thomas Jefferson [-4.25, -5.33]

    by GTPinNJ on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 10:21:47 AM PDT

    •  Partition (11+ / 0-)

      There are big problems with partition, and this is certainly one of 'em. Trouble is, there's big problems with every idea for what to next in Iraq.

      FUBAR indeed. We are just beginning to understand how deep and wide a sh*t-hole Bush has plunged us into.

      Having said that, I'm not ready to dismiss partition absolutely. Done right, it could still be the best of a very bad lot of menu options.

      •  I am not really convinced yet (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inky, khloemi, kidneystones, DBunn, carver

        partitioning has always been bad and still haunts us.  It was the arbitrary partioning and or creation of Iraq by the British that we are feeling now.  Kashmir another example, Yugoslavia...etc.

        Always, always, problems when retreating empires partition their former colonies without regard or understanding of the tribal presences.

        rereading, that is what I meant to say, but it sounds like I condone empires...I don't.  Just pointing out the big problem of the "easy solution" to partitioning in a geo-political sense.

        "Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the bastard is dead, the bitch that bore him is again in heat." -Bertolt Brecht

        by Jeffersonian Democrat on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 10:39:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  But of course, (5+ / 0-)

        any partition should be the Iraqis' decision, not ours.

      •  Partition no longer an option for the US (8+ / 0-)

        Looking at this purely from a US point of view and ignoring Iraqi interests, partition is no longer an option.  Since the US pivoted its strategy and is now backing Sunni militias (formerly designated as pawns of Al Qaeda) against Shiite militias (now designated pawns of Iran), partition is no longer possible.  

        Partition made some sense when our enemy was the Sunnis.  A partition based on religious/ethnic lines would leave the Kurds and Shiites with oil and the Sunnis with sand.  It was a fun plan.

        Now that the Shiites are the enemy, a partition would leave the majority of the oil in the hands of these "Iranian pawns."  Therefore, it is no longer an option.

        •  Plus (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Inky, kidneystones

          The article/chart linked showed a clear trend toward the Iraqi people wanting partitioning.  It is a de-facto partition now.  The Iraqi constitution sets up a "united Iraq" as a federation and with ethnic cleansing in the neighborhoods in Baghdad, it is becoming more a reality every day.  

          The issue is always oil and the partitioning of the income between groups.  And of course our oil baron administration doesn't want to have to negotiate with multiple groups since that would be hard to do.  Better to keep fighting so that it makes it easy for all of the Bush/Cheney friends to get a good deal.  Not!  

          And I still don't get the "Iranian pawn" argument - not from you Weasel  - but from the administration.  Iranians are Persians.  Iraqis are Arabs.  They don't speak the same language and have basically never gotten along with one another.  It isn't really going to be a problem.

          •  Mostly agreed (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Inky, esquimaux, kidneystones, DBunn

            I agree mostly about the Arab-Persian divide.  Remember, most of our top-level government officials are old fogeys for whom the evil Iranians are spreading the revolution and blowing up our Marines.  A great many people still want revenge for that incident.

            Despite the fact that Iran basically gave up "exporting the Revolution" during the Iran-Iraq war, many in Washington refuse to see it.  Muslims are like leftists.  Any leftist must be Communist and must be plotting to destroy the US.  Any Muslim must be an Islamist and must be plotting to destroy the US.  

            The real threat (and there is a real one) has less to do with Persian expansionism.  As you point out, the Iraqi Shiites have never shown the slightest interest in being controlled by Iran.  The threat is Shia revivalism.  Since Kuwait, Bahrain, and critical parts of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Monarchies have large Shiite populations.  If these start agitating, it could lead to chaos, revolution, and lost oil contracts.

            The problem is the same now as it has always been: we've hitched are wagon for the last decade to repressive monarchies.  That is going to bite us in the ass eventually.  If that ass-biting comes in the form of Shia-revivalism, it is almost a coincidence.  Eventually, the monarchies will be overthrown by their own people, and we will have to face the consequences as their chief patron.

  •  Thanks for pointing this article out. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kingsmeg, kidneystones

    "So off and on you go, the seconds tick the time out There's so much left to know and I'm on the road to find out" C Stevens

    by khloemi on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 10:24:56 AM PDT

  •  Do you think Rice (9+ / 0-)

    will be able to help with all of her diplomatic abilities??

    "So off and on you go, the seconds tick the time out There's so much left to know and I'm on the road to find out" C Stevens

    by khloemi on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 10:26:43 AM PDT

  •  No. (9+ / 0-)

    The threat of invasion by Turkey means that the next Dem President will have to offer security guarantees to the Kurds at the very least. Much more likely,.....

    Much more likely, US forces will stand aside (again) and let Turkish forces massacre a bunch of Kurds (again), and the victims will most probably be innocent civilians (again).  And it will (still) not be reported anywhere people might read about it.

    Most likely, Bushco is wondering how to make a profit from this, so I expect they just offered to sell a bunch of flame-throwers and RPG-launchers to Turkey.

    Mark Twain -Let me make the superstitions of a nation and I care not who makes its laws or its songs either.

    by Kingsmeg on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 10:28:58 AM PDT

    •  asdf (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, Kingsmeg, kidneystones

      so I expect they just offered to sell a bunch of flame-throwers and RPG-launchers to Turkey.


      As I read some time ago, the Turkish construction of damns and demand for water resources will weaken if not begin to dry up the Euphrates and TIgris which are major sources for water in Iraq.

  •  We asked and we asked (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    khloemi, egarratt, kidneystones

    and finally we are getting a glimmer of plan B (partition).

    Be careful what you ask for, i guess

  •  I wonder where the weapons are coming from? (6+ / 0-)

    Seems there's a new arms race going on to furnish weapons to any group with a bank account and an agenda.
    I thank God that I have been privaledged to live far away from conflicts like those going on around the world but I lose sleep thinking that my country does so little to stem the flow of personal and mass destruction.
    War between Turkey and Iraqi Kurds could be the beginning of $100/barrel oil. If that happens I shudder to think of world implications. FUBAR is exactly right.

  •  When will Mr. Decider decide (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    khloemi, kidneystones, trivium

    I can see something coming like August of next year.  Something to throw a monkey wrench into the whole political arena just before an election.  And he'll be out their stumping for Rudy and shit saying how we shouldn't change horses in the middle of whatever it is we are doing in the Middle East.

    "Constitutional Crisis Forthcoming"

    by egarratt on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 10:34:35 AM PDT

  •  Some concerns (15+ / 0-)

    First, PKK infiltration into SE Turkey is a chronic problem that goes back nearly two decades.  Turkey has frequently mounted cross-border raids, and may do so again. They will not attempt to occupy northern Iraq.

    Second, why, exactly, are you buying into the Republican meme on terrorist organizations?  Many Kurds in Turkey have a legitimate beef with the Turkish government.  Attacking Turkish military targets may be wrong, stupid, counterproductive - but it is guerilla warfare, not terrorism.  The PKK does conduct terrorist acts, for which those specifically responsible should be arrested and tried.  The Turkish state conducts terrorist actions, directly or through government-sponsored paramilitaries.  They too should be held accountable. So I'd be careful being too quick to rush to judgement on a conflict that is more complicated than it first appears.

    The political reality is more complex. Turkey has an Islamist-light government that is reluctant to attack. Iraqi Kurdistan is relatively secular and relatively democratic.  Neither should be casually demonized.  Both are suffering quite a lot because of their respective histories - Turkey's inability to come to terms with decades of severe repression of their Kurdish population, and the Iraqi Kurd's inability to obtain independence.  

    I know we all want to trash Bush.  I spend quite a lot of time in Iraqi Kurdistan and will be back there in about a month.  Just because Republican hacks say that the area is safe and point to some successes, does not mean that the polar opposite is true.  Iraqi Kurdistan is, by Middle Eastern standards, a reasonably peaceful place with a reasonably open society.  The Turkish Islamists who now control the government are neither all bad nor all good.  The issue of civil and political rights in SE Turkey that drive this long-simmering civil war are not easily categorized into strictly good guys - bad guys rhetoric.  That's republican thinking, and it only gets more people killed.

    In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. ...Thomas Jefferson

    by ivorybill on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 10:34:59 AM PDT

  •  Most logistics to US in Iraq through Turkey (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kidneystones, dotdot, carver

    Turks have made it explicit that the upcoming vote labeling the Armenian massacre a genocide is grounds to deny the US transit rights throught Turkish sovereign territory.

    The Turks are not in a mood to be told "no" by Uncle Sam on anything.

    They are also FAR more powerful than the Iranians, and in a much better situation to (a) block resupply to any US units that get in the way, (b) deny US air cover in the north (as much of it is based IN Turkey) and (c) if needs be GET LOTS OF BACKUP from, brace yourselves, either Europe or, if Europe balks FROM THE RUSSIANS.


    Chances are you are mistaking the New York Times for a newspaper.

    by cskendrick on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 10:56:06 AM PDT

    •  Turkey has a major (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cskendrick, corvo, Mas Gaviota

      kick-ass military. I reviewed the CIA fact book. 13 million military age men. 600,000 currently under arms.

      If it looks like 5 million Kurds are going to get their very own oil-rich country right next to Turkey's 15 million Kurds, all hell is going to break loose.

      Thanks for dropping by.

      •  Oh put a few more minutes into this (4+ / 0-)

        Taking a step back, the Russians and the Americans have a common interest in blocking the expansion of Turkish power. In fact, they Russians would likely cooperate with the Americans in any serious action against "Turks Gone Wild", as the Foxnews might headline it.

        France and Britain are would condemn the Turks for invading northern Iraq, probably seize on this as the excuse to boot Turkey for keeps from European political, economic and security cooperation.

        The Indians would follow the Russians and the Americans, but from a distance, with no involvement in hostilities unless Pakistan were to become involved somehow.

        That would not happen; the Pakistanis would be concerned about an intra-Islamic challenge to their own ascendancy, and their own long-term aspirations for influence in central Asia (for which the Turks are competitors).

        The Chinese would be critical of any interventionism, but so long as it did not embroil central or south Asia in violence they would be largely aloof... for the time being.

        On the other side, the Turks would be in a position to stir up trouble in a fashion that the Iranians only dream of.

        Turkey could at its discretion

        1, shut down transit in and out of the Black Sea

        1. reactivate the Balkan conflict
        1. destabilize Lebanon or the Holy Land, or both
        1. make alliance with Egypt, Syria, Algeria, Jordan, Azerbaijan, any of the Central Asian stans, Iran, some, or none of the above.
        1. or destabilize any or all of same
        1. do likewise in East Africa or the smaller states of the Persian Gulf
        1. grant assurances to Israel -- or declare open season on the Jewish state as served its strategic needs in a war with the United States
        1. wreck the NATO alliance, or let the Americans do so.
        1. In any Turko-Kurdish conflict, Germany with large numbers of both Turks and Kurds, is likely to become a battleground.

        In substance, the conflict would be fought in Central Asia, the Middle East, Asia Minor, the Balkans, parts of Africa in the former reach of the Ottoman Empire, and in north-central Europe.

        At least.

        Chances are you are mistaking the New York Times for a newspaper.

        by cskendrick on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 11:25:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I take it you (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cskendrick, side pocket, corvo

          think this is bad, right?

          I agree. I doubt, however, that the real damage is going to come from a major conflict.

          I suspect China will start wining and dining the Turks and we'll gradually see a Turk, Iran, India, China sphere of shared interest.

          Some illuminating comments here.


          •  I think much of the world's powerfu have decided (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kidneystones, dotdot

            that a planet without a sovereign set of Islamic nation-states would be a happier place.

            All for their own good, of course.

            I think the East and West are acting in concert against the Middle at this point.

            I do not see Europe, Russia, China, India and most certainly not the United States of America rushing to the defense of Muslims of any stripe against, well, any of themselves.

            And I think the Muslims are sensing this.

            The problem that keeps the Kremlin and the White House up nights is not what either the SCO or NATO is doing in the oil-rich realms of Asia.

            The fear is = what happens should the Muslims actually band together and keep the decisions to sell oil and gas at a fair market price, in the currency of their choice, for the benefit of vendors of their liking, all to themselves?

            Well, obviously that situation would be terrorism.

            And cannot be abided.

            Chances are you are mistaking the New York Times for a newspaper.

            by cskendrick on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 11:34:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm not sure I agree (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cskendrick, corvo

              with your view, not that it's entirely wrong.

              I think you're quite right to focus on the economics of the alignment. I'm less convinced that China and India are as fixated as the west on the religious, cultural fault line.

              I hate to say it, but I see this simply as a case where the US is increasingly isolated.

              Turkey can make plenty of friends outside of Europe, as you rightly observe, and plenty of trouble.


              Got to say good-night now.


  •  Turkey is Also a NATO Member... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wombat, corvo, kidneystones

    ...and being in NATO is one key factor in keeping them from going to war with Greece.  

    Turkey is working very hard to become an accepted EU nation while still keeping their very seperate muslim identity.  It's a tightrope act for them, and one other factor at play in dealing with the Kurds.

    From personal experience, I can attest that Turks (a unique ethnic group all their own) do not view the Kurds as a special group deserving their own nation.

    •  I'm not so sure NATO would have ever gotten (0+ / 0-)

      involved in case of a war with Greece. After all, the only protection is in case of war with a non-NATO member. In the case of Cyprus, when Greece was prepared to engage, NATO told it that it would not become involved at all. Again, in 1996, with the Imia crisis, the same thing occurred.

      Look at these people! They suck each other! They eat each other's saliva and dirt! -- Tsonga people of southern Africa on Europeans kissing.

      by upstate NY on Wed Oct 10, 2007 at 05:55:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  not that i particularly LIKE totten or fox news (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but i do know that totten has been to kirkuk and northern iraq more than you.  that counts for something, don't you think?  and, i'm not being snide; i just have read his blog for almost 2 years now to know that he does know a little about this issue.

  •  Oh, Turkey the COUNTRY! I thought you were... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    "A religious war is fighting over who's imaginary friend is better" -7.88,-5.59

    by Jacques on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 11:57:55 AM PDT

  •  And to top it off the u.s has this to say... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "I am not sure that unilateral incursions are the way to go, the way to resolve the issue," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.

    But it's o.k for the u.s to do it...

    "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain

    by dotdot on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 12:03:18 PM PDT

  •  This is interesting. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It seems to tie into the diary I posted yesterday arguing in favor of the recognition by the US government of the Turkish killings of Armenians during World War I as genocide. Because, in spite of lobbying by Armenian groups through the decades, no effort to get such legislation through Congress has succeeded.  

    The Bush Administration is supporting Turkey by opposing this legislation. I wonder if Turkey's Iraq plans might have something to do with it.

    "We are all New Orleans now."--Barbara O'Brien

    by Louisiana 1976 on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 12:20:32 PM PDT

  •  just talked to a coworker/cube-mate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    from turkey and he says that

    most kurds who are terrorists are from turkey itself, not northern iraq.  then, from iran and syria but the kurds in northern iraq are more satiated b/c they're representing themselves in their own country....iraq.

    just adding that.

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