The Barzani statement is tantamount to a declaration of independence. Kurdish authorities claim the right to repel Turkey, should Turkey enter Northern Iraq to attack PKK bases there. Independence, of course, is exactly what the PKK and Kurdish authorities both desire.
"We frankly say to all parties: if they attack the region of Kurdistan under whatever pretext, we will be completely ready to defend our democratic experiment and the dignity of our people and the sanctity of our homeland," Mr Barzani said.
He said Iraqi Kurds were not to blame for the actions of the PKK and reiterated a call for Turkey to hold talks with the Kurdish authorities in the regional capital, Irbil.
The government in Ankara has refused to talk directly to the Kurdish regional authority in northern Iraq, insisting all its dealings must go through Baghdad...
BBC Baghdad correspondent Ian Pannell says that in reality any attempt to deal with the PKK will ultimately have to go through the Kurdish Regional Government rather than Baghdad, but that would be a step too far for Ankara.
Any direct talks with the northern government would amount to a tacit acceptance that the Kurds in Iraq have precisely the kind of autonomy that the PKK is fighting for in Turkey, our correspondent says.
April, 2007, Barzani threatened Turkey not to 'interfere' in Northern Iraq. Back then, Turkey was extremely concerned the Kurds planned to use Kirkuk's oil fields to finance an independent Kurdish state. Bush buddies must have been listening.
It's about the oil. Hunt oil just weeks ago signed agreements with the Kurds to exploit oil-fields in Northern Iraq. In recent months, we have seen a tectonic change in the Central Asia with Syria, Turkey, Iran, Russia and India signing a number of energy deals against US wishes. Now, one member of this group, Turkey, is threatening to invade US-occupied Iraq.
Despite protestations by Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari that the separatist PKK group was 'operating without permission from regional authorities', the Barzani statement confirms that the Kurds would rather fight Turkey than take concrete action to shut down the PKK.
In the past Kurdish authorities worked with Turkey to end PKK activities. This time round Barzani and the Kurds are promising to repel any Turkish incursion. Why?
A generous observer might put the Barzani statement down to bluster. A cynic might ask whether Barzani and company have allowed the PKK to create a crisis that will force the issue of Kurdish independence. Joseph Ralston, the former US general Bush appointed to end PKK activities in Iraq, spent the last year selling planes to the Turkish military for Lockheed Martin.
The stage is set for an all-out bloodbath in Northern Iraq with US faced with the choice of aiding the Kurds or allowing Turkey to attack the only pro-American ethnic group in Iraq. How will the US respond when, not if, fighting breaks out between Turkish and Kurd forces in northern Iraq?
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