"Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is."
~ German Proverb
Over the weekend, KurdishInfo posted the news of HPG's signing of the Deed of Commitment for Adherence to a Total Ban on Anti-Personnel Mines, which is the equivalent of the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty (also known as the Ottowa Treaty) for non-state actors (NSA's).
When I read this news, I was reminded of a couple of things. The first is the PKK Statement to the UN from January, 1995. It was in this statement that PKK outlined its adherence to the Geneva Conventions and First Protocol, and formally stated which organizations it considered to be legitimate targets of attack based on the Conventions and Protocol.
The news also reminded me of something published on the old DozaMe site last year, an editorial on fourth generation warfare (4GW) and the HPG. This editorial discussed the HPG's use of remote-controlled bombs, which for all practical purposes are mines that are detonated manually by soldiers, as opposed to simply sowing landmines and leaving them behind. This means that for at least one year, HPG has been adhering to to the Ottowa Treaty.
The PKK Statement to the UN, the adherence to the Ottowa Treaty and, now, the signing of the Deed of Commitment are examples of what is one of PKKs (and now KKK's) greatest strengths: Adaptability. As Ismet Imset noted in his analysis of the PKK's 5th Congress (held in January, 1995):
Along with its tight and professional organizational structure which is made out of a political nucleas, the party, its full-time fighting force the ARGK and a wide-spread popular front, the ERNK, The PKK owes much of its existence to this adaptability and more important of all, Turkey's own policy mistakes.
The mistakes and ignorance of Ankara placed aside, it can be seen that the PKK, one of the most expansive guerilla organizations in the Middle East, survives mainly through its adaptability. An adaptability which, according to many organizational sources, is closely linked to the scores of meetings held in its 20 years of history.
An attentive reading of the PKK Statement to the UN will show that Ankara's mistakes are the same today as they were eleven years ago, with the Turkish war of genocide against the Kurdish people continuing. We all remember that, during the Amed Serhildan, the regime stated that all Kurds would become targets of one of NATO's largest armies, the TSK. We all remember Special Teams (Ozel Timler and Ozel Hareket Timler) coming to Amed, and we all know what Ozel Timler do.
We all know, too, that NATO countries are supposed to be signatories to the same laws of warfare that HPG adheres to. For example, last year two members of the regime's security forces were captured by HPG, and both were released within months through the mediation of human rights delegations.
This example is in stark contrast to the recent TSK use of chemical weapons against HPG gerîlas and field executions of captured gerîlas, who should be treated as prisoners of war. But Ozel Timler and Mehmetciks have the habit of recording their atrocities by photographing them, as one report from KurdishInfo recently described. Photos like those shown in that report are also distributed on the Internet, and a recent example can be found here. Be advised that the photos at the link are quite graphic.
Regarding 4GW, the DozaMe editorial refers to HPG's ability to move within cities, a situation that was created by the Ankara regime itself when it decided to ethnically cleanse millions of Kurds from their villages. This was done with a two-fold purpose in mind. The first was to deny assistance to Kurdish gerîlas in the rural areas. The second was to drive the people into the cities, where the Ankara regime foolishly believed it would be able to control them more easily.
The situation of Kurdish refugees packed into urban centers may further prove that HPG, as well as the political elements of KKK, may be very beneficial to the Kurdish cause, especially as regards adaption to 4GW. As described in a paper on the subject of 4GW and terrorism, published in the (US) Marine Corps Gazette, one indicator pointing to the evolution of an organization into a 4GW organization, is the ability to make the enemy's army worthless, by attacking its rear and collapsing the enemy from inside:
Two additional carryovers must be noted as they may be useful "signposts" pointing toward the fourth generation. The first is a component of collapsing the enemy. It is a shift in focus from the enemy's front to his rear. Terrorism must seek to collapse the enemy from within as it has little capability (at least at present) to inflict widespread destruction.The DozaMe editorial quotes the Defense and the National Interest (DNI) site on the use of the term "terrorist:"
[ . . . ]
Terrorism takes this a major step further. It attempts to bypass the enemy's military entirely and strike directly at his homeland at civilian targets. Ideally, the enemy's military is simply irrelevant to the terrorist.
One way to tell that 4GW is truly new is that we don't even have a name for its participants—typically dismissing them as "terrorists," "extremists," or "thugs."
Name calling, though, is not often an effective substitute for strategy.
I disagree that 4GW is "truly new." The watchwords of gerîla warfare have always been "Improvise. Adapt. Overcome." 4GW is simply the next evolution in this kind of warfare, with a new goal, again, from the same article on the DNI site:
A premise of 4GW is that the world itself has changed, so that terrorism and guerilla warfare—and other elusive techniques that are still being invented—are now ready to move to center stage. These techniques focus not so much on the enemy's military capabilities (although these may be attacked) but directly against the will of the enemy to continue the war. All of the operations by a 4GW force must support this goal. In its most fully developed form, there may be no real "battles" at all, as was virtually the case in the Sandinista take-over of Nicaragua in 1979.
Indeed, NATO has engaged in this kind of warfare against the Kurdish people for some time, by its training of the Ozel Timler, something that was admitted by the late CIA chief, William Colby and, after him, retired Turkish Army generals who had been involved with the establishment and training of the same teams. This contra-gerîla warfare was referred to as "psychological operations"--psychological in the sense of the effect these operations were supposed to have on the target population. I find it interesting that the article quoted above was published in 1989, shortly before black operations began in earnest in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan. It may be that NATO was trying out its ideas, with Kurds as the guinea pigs.
It is clear that no NATO force has ever applied their own laws of warfare to their operations against the Kurdish people.
With the renewal of the dirty war in Kurdistan, there should be serious consideration given to the possibilities of conducting 4GW operations against the Kurdish people's legitimate targets (as outlined to the UN in 1995) in Western Turkey and in urban centers in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan. As the DozaMe editorial reminded us last year, the pashas are afraid. They are still afraid.
It's better to keep them that way.