PROTESTS, PLOTS, AND POLITICAL POSITIONS
"The regional plots that pushed some Kurdish parties against other Kurdish parties are about to come to an end." ~ Jalal Talabanî.
There has been something strange going on with the PUK lately and it doesn't appear to be anything good. It is something of an open secret in Hewlêr that the PUK's internal struggles appear to be fracturing the organization into three factions, but I don't know how much those internal struggles are affecting what is going on, on the ground, in South Kurdistan, nor will I venture a guess as to how Talabanî's devotion to Baghdad affects these internal struggles. I can only guess from what I see happening.
I suppose it began with the PUK's attempts to suppress protests by Kurds in Silêmanî against the Iranian regime's brutalities against Kurds under Iranian occupation last July and August.
Then, in early September, reports began to be made of protests in the PUK's area--protests which were repressed with violence. The protestors were demonstrating for an improvement in water and electricity availability, but according to the PUK, the protest ended in violence due to the presence of KIU and KDP "provocateurs."
A much smaller crowd demonstrated to protest the lack of services later in the month, in Silêmanî as well as in Rania. I guess it wouldn't look good to fire up a crowd within Silêmanî proper.
In the middle of March of this year, right before the Helebce protest, there was a PUK crackdown at a demonstration of students at Koya University. Again, this was a protest against lack of services and, again, the result was violence on the part of the PUK security forces.
Immediately following the Koya protest, was the PUK's provocation of the residents of Helebce, a protest against their continued use by Southern Kurdish officials who continue to refuse basic services and proper medical treatment years after the Helebce tragedy.
The most recent action by the PUK against protestors took place on Thursday, in Silêmanî, in which members of the PÇDK were detained for attempting to demonstrate in support of Kurds under Turkish occupation, and it appears that the PUK used similar tactics on DIHA journalists that they had used against journalists who covered the Helebce protest. The journalists had their photographic equipment seized and they were beaten, while Kurds coming from Hewlêr to join the protest were also attacked, including women and children.
Is the PUK taking its orders from Erdogan now?
Earlier, supporters of the PKK's legal party in Iraq, the PÇDK, held a successful and peaceful demonstration in Hewlêr, in support of Amed. The Hewlêr Globe reports that the demonstrators marched from downtown Hewlêr to the Kurdistan Parliament, where they were met by officials of the Parliament. I guess the KDP doesn't have a problem with PÇDK that the PUK has, especially given Barzanî's recent interview with Hurriyet.
We should also remember that one of the PWD leadership, Kani Yilmaz, was murdered in PUK territory in February. How is it that PÇDK is not even permitted to demonstrate in PUK territory but, according to PWD statements, PÇDK had been behind the murder of Kani Yilmaz?
Something is wrong here and it makes me ask myself, why is that?
Before Operation Iraqi Freedom, Talabanî was doing his best to promote the presence of the Turkish troops in South Kurdistan. Later, October last year, to be exact, he was calling for a general amnesty for PKK. As a result, it is difficult to impossible to know where he stands, if one looks only to his statements. Since actions tend to speak louder than words, it is better to look at what has been going on in that part of South Kurdistan which is controlled by PUK to have a better idea of what his position really is.
The use of violence against those dissatisfied with Talabanî's administration, the repeated attempts to blame all dissatisfaction on other influences, such as other political parties, and the appearance of complicity with a political murder have less to do with the PKK and the situation of Northern Kurds than they have to do with maintaining some sort of leverage against the KDP, especially given the recent background of the internal political situation.
The fact that these things are happening now, when the future is open to the Southern Kurds, when all other Kurds look to the South for inspiration, and when Kurdish power is beginning to make itself felt in the region, is disturbing. Very disturbing.
Will Talabanî sell out the gerîlas, PÇDK, and the Bakurî for a short-term tactical advantage? Only time will tell.