to discuss what's taking place in Northern Iraq. It's another to talk about why. To do that, we need to understand the story of Joseph Ralston and his sojourn in Iraq on behalf of the United States government, the Kurds, Turkey and the Lockheed-Martin Corporation.
to be his special mediator working with Turkish, Iraqi, US and Kurdish authorities to end PKK incursions into Iraq in May, 2006. Ralston is a retired general who now works for a high-powered firm that includes former Clinton defense officials. Ralston didn't make a dent in ending PKK terror in Iraq and Turkey. Seems General Ralston did sell a lot of Lockheed planes to Turkey about the same time.
, of course, approached the Turkey sales job like professionals. Bush not so much...
How serious was Bush about ending the PKK threat? Not very.
According to some, the process had been doomed right from the beginning. Assuming his job last year Ralston, who lives in the distant Alaska state, had no constant office or staff directly reporting to him. In his part-time job, he had been working on an on-and-off basis with State Department and Pentagon officials who were already dealing with Turkish matters.
Ralston lasted longer than his Turkish counter-part
Oct 11, 2207
Ralston and his Turkish counterpart, retired General Edip Başer, met several times between last fall and March this year in an effort to develop an anti-PKK strategy of tripartite cooperation among Turkey, Iraq and the United States, but this mechanism has never become effective, causing frustration in Ankara.
The Ankara government fired Başer in May after he vocally expressed his frustration and replaced him with senior diplomat Rafet Akgünay. But Ralston and Akgünay never met face to face.
In his last public appearance in Washington in early July Ralston said he would resume his work after the Turkish general elections on July 22, but this did not happen.
Sources here said that Ralston had failed in his efforts to urge the Washington administration to apply larger pressure on Iraqi Kurds who control northern Iraq to take measures against the PKK.
Top Turkish military officials and diplomats in on-the-record remarks have accused Iraqi Kurds of providing the PKK with shelter, arms and logistics.
Here No Evil: Both Fox and the Wapo ran identical stories. Both papers buried the announcement.
Bush officials tried to pretend as recently as October 3rd that Ralston was still on the job.
Commenting on news reports about retired U.S. General Joseph Ralston's resignation from his post as the special coordinator for countering terrorism, Tom Casey, a Department of State spokesman, said Monday that there was no change in the status of Ralston. "His status hasn't changed and we look forward to him continuing his efforts,"...
Fact is: Ralston walked away from the Bush job in frustration months ago:
The United States, which considers the PKK a terrorist organization, has said repeatedly that it wants to help Ankara and Baghdad, as well as the Kurdistan regional government in northern Iraq, to solve the problem.
The Bush administration appointed a special envoy to deal with the matter a little more than a year ago. But the envoy, retired Gen. Joseph W. Ralston, resigned last month, frustrated with the Iraqis' lack of will to act against the PKK. Colleagues say he was also troubled by Washington's reluctance to put more pressure on the Iraqis — especially the Kurdistan government, which is privately sympathetic to the PKK's goal of an independent Kurdish state.
"The argument that we have [too many] troubles in Iraq for our forces to start fighting the PKK is a valid one, but we don't have to fight them," the former senior U.S. official said. "We can help the government arrest people."
Why would Bush keep the PKK around?
...Washington has its own considerations in northern Iraq, where it has indirect links with Iranian Kurdish dissidents in the mountainous Iraq-Iran border area through the PKK. It would like to use the Iranian Kurds against the Tehran regime at the right time, and a Turkish operation in northern Iraq would seriously dent the alliance...
Kurd oil and the PKK are central to Bush's attack on Iran. We know Ralston wasn't the only unhappy military man working for Bush in Iraq. And it would be unfair to lay all of the problems in Northern Iraq at his door. But the Ralston scandal is at the very center of the crisis with Turkey; and some folks wish Ralston would just go away.
America's Top Negotiator with the Kurds, Turkey and the PKK quit working for Bush three months ago because he couldn't get his job done. Now the wheels are coming off. It's another story of greed and incompetence. No staff, no office, no support. Smoke and mirrors from Bushco. Ralston did, however, did secure an additional deal for Lockheed-Martin before walking away from the Bush mess.
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