Meanwhile in Kurdistan

(H/t Juan Cole)

Remember Biden’s Three Scenarios for Iraq: 1)One side kills the other 2)Federalization/fragmentation 3)Return of a Tyrant.

Well the Kurdish government is now rethinking its backing of Maliki and is claiming he is the new Saddam.

The Iraqi Army and the Peshmerga (the Kurdish militia) are preparing to go to war with another. That would be two US allies btw. Remember that every time you hear the Fred Thompson’s of the world like last night proclaim at the Rep. Convention “we are winning” in Iraq. Who the F–k is We Dude? If the Iraqi Army and the Kurds fight each other who wins homes?

The Shia Arab v. Kurd fight involves where the Blue Line (the Kurdish Autonomous Regional Zone) exactly should be drawn vis a vis Khanaqin. [See the map under the green marked territory of Diyala north and slightly east of Baghdad].

Kirkuk is a powder keg ready to blow at a any second notice. That is a Sunni Arab v. Kurd fight but now is bringing in the Shia government because the Kurds backed Maliki on the premise that he would deal them Kirkuk for their support. The Kurds feel he is not moving quickly enough.

If there is a Scenario #4, it’s the Lebanonization of Iraq. The Kurd and Shia alliance has been the dominant force since the US invasion and if it breaks down, all hell will be loosed. There is no way the Iraqi Army can cross the Blue Line. That is the 54-40 or Fight Marker for the Kurds. They will war if the Iraqi Army crosses that border.

Maliki is balking at the Sunni tribesmen, the Mahdi Army, wants the US out, and now wants to start some stuff with the Kurds. This could break up along all kinds of lines. Weird temporary alliances. Arab vs. Kurds. Shia Group 1 with Sunni Group 2 versus Shia Group 2 & Sunni Group 1.

The Kurds would likely turn to the Sunni if they fought the Shia except that they want to cleanse Kirkuk of the Sunni. So there could be a pan-Arab (Shia and Sunni) versus Kurd battle. I don’t know, but it’s going to get very ugly very quickly I’m worried.

[Added snark: Think Sarah Palin can explain this fight and what to do about it?]

Published in: on September 3, 2008 at 9:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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Turkish troops into Kurdistan

More big news out of Iraq, Turkey has sent more military personnel into the autonomous northern region of Kurdistan.

From McClatchy (this is scary, h/t Juan Cole):

Iraqi Kurdish troops on Thursday encircled Turkish soldiers in northern Iraq and threatened to open fire in the most serious standoff between the two nation’s forces since Turkey threatened late last year to go after guerrillas from the Kurdistan Workers Party sheltering in Iraq.

The standoff began when Turkish troops in tanks and armored vehicles left one of five bases they’ve had in Iraq since 1997 and moved to control two main roads in Dohuk province, Iraqi officials said.

Kurdish soldiers from the peshmerga militia, which is loyal to the Kurdish Regional Government, moved to stop them. For an hour and a half, the two sides faced off before the Turkish soldiers retreated to their base, which is about 27 miles northeast of the city of Dohuk. The peshmerga surrounded the base and remained there late Thursday.

The Turkish troop movement was accompanied by artillery and airstrikes that targeted mountain areas held by rebels from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which is known by its initials as the PKK. A spokesman for the peshmerga, Jabar Yawar, said the shelling began at about 11 a.m. and continued past midnight. Two bridges were knocked out over the Great Zab River, he said.

Published in: on February 22, 2008 at 10:26 am  Leave a Comment  
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No solution to PKK

The Kurdish Terrorist organization which has again struck within Iraq.  On why a military solution against these terrorists is near impossible, from Time.

Regarding the possible responsible response of Turkey’s Prime Minster Erdogan:

But even if Erdogan gave Turkey’s military the green light, going across the border has its problems. The PKK bases in northern Iraq are deep in the mountains, a long way from the Turkish border. The PKK forces are in the remote Qandil Valley near Iran, and the Turkish army would have to penetrate deep into Iraq and travel through several Iraqi cities before reaching it. By that time the PKK’s mobile guerrilla units would have most likely have snuck away to fight another day. And even if the Turkish air force got U.S. permission to cross into Iraq, air strikes have a limited effect on a guerrilla insurgency. Additionally, the attacks against Turkish military and civilians were apparently perpetrated by PKK operators within Turkey.


The reality is that there is no effective military solution for the PKK. The Iraqi government may make a show of cooperating with the Turks, but the Iraqi army can’t even keep Baghdad safe, let alone mount an expedition in northern Iraq. Northern Iraq isn’t even in the Iraqi central government’s military jurisdiction. There are no federal Iraqi soldiers there — just Iraqi Kurdish militia units (the peshmerga) controlled by the largely autonomous Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).

Furthermore, Iraq’s Kurdish leaders have repeatedly said they aren’t about to send their soldiers off on a treacherous struggle with hardened guerrilla fighters in difficult terrain. Iraq’s Kurds fought the PKK once before in the 1990s, and they’re not looking forward to repeating the ugly experience. Plus, the Iraqi Kurds say their peshmerga are already stretched thin. Besides keeping Arab terrorists out of the KRG, peshmerga are also helping the Iraqi army in Mosul and Baghdad.

This situation has the potential to de-stabilize and destroy the one third of the former country of Iraq that is actually thriving.  And it does not appear at all obvious what to do, whether what is to be done is even feasible, and who would carry out such an operation.

Published in: on October 8, 2007 at 9:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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