Thursday, July 27, 2006

THE KURDISH BACK DOOR

“The name of the game is taking care of yourself, because you're going to live long enough to wish you had.”
~ Grace Mirabella.


There's a pretty good article at Macleans giving a breakdown of some of the ethnic-based organizations in and around Iran who would like to see the mullahs take a hard fall. The gist of the article is that the US is covertly talking to these groups in order to instigate regime change.

Of those ethnic-based groups posing a threat to the evil Teheran regime, who are the baddest? The Kurds, naturally. Who tops the list as the baddest of the bad? The PKK. The CIA seem very interested in our bad boys and girls:


For the moment, it's the Kurdish groups, with their camps lined up along the Iranian border in Iraq, that pose the greatest threat to Iran. That's a fact the U.S. hasn't missed. The militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been fighting a bloody insurgency against Turkey since the mid-1980s in the hopes of establishing a Kurdish homeland, has been using the slopes of Qandil mountain, approximately 130 km north of Sulaymaniyah, as a home base from which to launch attacks against both Turkey and Iran. The PKK is a threat to the region's territorial integrity, as it hopes to carve a Kurdish homeland out of sections of Iran, Turkey and Iraq. And the PKK has apparently been recruited by the U.S.

Rustam Joudy, one of the group's senior leaders, initially denied that. "We have nothing to do with the Americans," he said. But locals living alongside the PKK contradicted him. "The Americans were coming here regularly six months ago," said one villager. "We don't know why. The PKK leadership never talked to us about it." When confronted with such allegations, the PKK leadership drastically modified its earlier comments, admitting that they not only met U.S. representatives in the past, but that these meetings continue. "They have stopped in Qandil," a spokesman told Maclean's, "but these meetings continue in other places. As for their purpose, that's strategic. I cannot tell you why."

After repeated requests for a comment, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad issued a terse denial: "The report that U.S. government officials are meeting with PKK representatives is false." But the mere fact that the PKK and others continue to operate in Iraq shows they are of use to the U.S., says a former PKK member who would identify himself only as Raoof. "The Kurdish revolutionaries are a threat to Iraqi Kurdistan's stability as well," he says. "And yet, they are still here. If the Americans didn't have a use for these groups, they would not let them remain in Iraq."


I see the CIA uses PKK "confessors," too. Did they learn that from the Turks or teach it to the Turks?

It's no secret that the CIA was making regular trips to Qandîl in 2003 and early 2004. Several articles appeared in Western media as testimony to that, at the time. A short time after the stream of trips and articles ended, PWD appeared on the scene. Come to think of it, there was a CIA "expert" on hand to take a look at the car in which Kani Yilmaz and Sabri Tori died.

The KRG is trying to take a hands-off approach to any business the CIA might have with the PKK over regime change in Iran, but believes that US State Department involvement with a group they consider to be "terrorist" is acceptable.

On the other hand, there have been a number of articles recently on PJAK, which is also a member of KONGRA-GEL. PJAK therefore falls under the umbrella of Koma Komalên Kurdistan which, in turn, is headed by Murat Karayilan. In short, and for those who don't understand the hierarchy, PJAK is a member of "PKK." According to one of those articles, the Americans have not been in contact with them:

Unlike most other rebel groups in the Middle East, PEJAK is secular and Western-oriented. When the group's members talk, their Kurdish is peppered with such Western words as "freedom," "human rights" and "ecology."

Iran has denounced it as a terrorist group and accused the United States of funding it. But at PEJAK's camp, there is no obvious evidence of American equipment or money. The only weapons on show are AK-47 assault rifles and grenades, and the funding is clearly limited.

Each recruit has a single pair of khaki fatigues, and even its leaders subsist on simple meals of bread, cheese and fresh vegetables at communal outdoor tables.

The group's leaders say that they have had no contact with the United States, but that they would be willing to work with Europe or America against the Tehran government.

"We demand democratic change in Iran," Mr. Zagros said. "And if the U.S. government wants to help us, we are happy to accept their support.

"The U.S. talks about bringing democracy to the region," he added. "But for 200 years, the Kurds have struggled against dictatorship and oppression and in defense of our human rights. And so far the West has not helped us. Why?"


Why? That's the big question, isn't it?

Another article of interest on PJAK can be found at Mother Jones. Another one, from last year, can be found at Caucaz.

Is the CIA really talking to PKK? Are they really trying to use the back door to take down the evil Teheran regime? Who really knows? Only one thing is important: Any deals cut with the Americans (and anyone else, for that matter) must be cut, first and foremost, with Kurdish interests at heart.

Other interests are unacceptable.

13 comments:

srusht said...

Any deals cut with the Americans (and anyone else, for that matter) must be cut, first and foremost, with Kurdish interests at heart.


Only then other interests may be considred.

u must know better politics is not one-way street.

i think iam becoming addicted to ur blog.

Anonymous said...

The Americans should have been using a back door approach against Iran a long time ago. I am highly doubtful this approach is being taken with the help of PKK. There are several other opposition groups (two in particular that have total unconditional support from the majority of Eastern Kurds: PDKI and Komala) that America could have approached to create stronger opposition against Iran. PDKI and Komala at the moment are not militarily active but would be ready militarily if they had the support. Were there any kind of talks with the U.S., the two groups would be ready. They have only held minimal talks that hold no guarantee of U.S. support. Why would the U.S. instead approach PKK makes no sense... PJAK is still fairly new to the Eastern Kurdish population and despite their marginal success, they still do not hold the same amount of support than PDKI and Komala have enjoyed for decades.

Vladimir said...

Komala and KDP-I fear to get support from America. Especially with their "communist" background.

KDP-I also tried to negiotate with the Islamic republic in the past. And you are right, PJAK is not very strong in Rojhelat. They are strongest in mixed cities with Azeri's.. like Urmiye, Mako, etc.

Anonymous said...

No, you are incorrect. Komala and PDKI do not fear to get support from America. For one, PDKI is not communist. Second, they have actually been actively trying to get American support in Washington this past year but U.S. politicians have been rather unresponsive. We will leave the why's to the politicians. As we all know, politicians, particularly those in Washington, always take the dumber routes in solving world issues...

PDKI took a democratic approach in trying to negotiate with the Islamic Republic. They never actively supported the IR or any of it's policies. Every party has tried to play the political game at one point, so I don't see your point. And yes, PJAK is strongest in cities like Urmiye and Maku... however, their actual support among the cities' Kurdish natives is still not that strong as people like to think.

Vladimir said...

According to Komala members, hardline Komala conservatives do not look good to relations with America.

Urmiye said...

Funny to se hardcore KDP-I supporters trying to boast the image of KDP-I&Komala and in the same time to make PJAK look small. You seem to be desperately aware of the strength that PJAK has gained in a short time. I have seen this desperate behavior of guys like so many times lately that it makes me laugh every time.

Why would USA want to cooperate with PJAK? Simply because they are the only active force in east Kurdistan and they are not so "new" as our friend here wants them to portray them as.

Claiming that PJAK is only strong in mixed cities would like saying that "KDP-I is only strong in the Mahabad".

And those that Wilgenburg is calling "hardline Komala conservaties" have their own party now. The Komala that is cooperating with KDP-I (which I think is something good, and something that would be even better if they could swallow their pride and also cooperate with PJAK).

And by the way my fellow Kurdish friends, you should be happy that PJAK exists, they made KDP-I and Komala to come closer to eachother :)

Anonymous said...

Do not look good to relations with America? If you meant that America does not like Komala conservatives, that's a different story. It still does not explain why the U.S. has been reluctant to give full support to the PDKI.

And if you meant that Komala conservatives do not like American support, then you and those Komala members are wrong. Abdullah Moqtadi, Secretary General of the Komala Party participated in the recent conference, at the US Senate in Washington, DC. Many Iranian-opposition groups participated in this conference with the objective of gaining U.S. support for an eventual overthrow of the IRI.

Anonymous said...

urmiye - No one in this discussion said they were "hardcore KDPI supportes". We are simply reporting the reality on the ground, which is that PDKI and Komala have widespread support in Eastern Kurdistan. They still have many members working inside and outside of Iran and are actively recruiting without any problems. Just because they are no longer active militarily at the moment does not mean that they are not active. Many in Eastern Kurdistan have strong ties to PDKI and Komala and the two parties still maintain a strong influence that PJAK lacks in the region.

In regards to PJAK. I have no problem with them personally. I believe PDKI and Komala should actually begin working with PJAK as well to create a stronger front against the IRI. Whether or not people like PJAK does not matter, because PJAK is a reality. The Kurdish parties in Iran must understand this reality and should all work together for the democratization of Iran and the self-sovereignty of Kurdistan.

Urmiye said...

I am sorry for my first reply. I am used to see KDP-I and Komala supporters constantly smearing PJAK instead of accepting them. It is not an excuse for reacting so harsh, but it makes me both sad and angry that some Kurds tries to smear another Kurdish party. My reply was misdirected. I apologize for my earlier reaction against you.

But still I do not share your view regarding how much support these parties has. I will never claim that Komala and KDP-I do not have support in eastern Kurdistan, but I believe that PJAK has become at least as popular as these parties.

We have a different view of "the reality on ground".

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your kindness. I am basing my views on the small movements, and particularly last summer's in which PDKI played a significant part. But perhaps you are right about PJAK, or perhaps I am right. We shall have to wait and see ;)

Mizgîn said...

Bi xêr hatin Srusht û Urmiye.

Srusht, of course politics is not a one-way street. It's a lot like bargaining at the bazaar, you compromise only to get the best deal for yourself. If you don't feel like you're getting the best deal, you don't buy. If you can't trust who you're buying from because you've been burned by them before, well, you should think long and hard before you start bargaining with them again.

I'm glad you're getting addicted ;)

Anonymous, I agree that the US should have been working against Iran starting a long time ago. We might not be in the mess we're in now. Looking at American news media--TV--it seems like they're avoiding this whole Iran issue. The root of the problem in Lebanon, and much of it in Syria, leads directly to Teheran. I guess if they'd stop trying to report Lebanon as if it were a football game, they could focus on Iran.

The CIA may be talking to PKK because it is militarily active now. But I have another suspicion. I think they are feeling out the possibilities of drawing PKK's attention solely to Iran, thus relieving Turkey and maybe shutting Turkey up. Besides, if the Americans could convince the Turks that PKK was no longer a problem for them, because it were busy in Iran, then it might get Turkey to help out with Iran too. It would also help take care of US problems with Iran. If that suspicion has any truth to it, then the Americans are very naive because we all know that Turkey has a dirty finger in everyone's pie. But trying to divert PKK to Iran will not end Turkey's attacks against it, nor will it end the oppression of Kurds in the North.

Why else would the CIA talk to "PKK" but not talk to PJAK, the KONGRA-GEL organization that is dedicated to the fight against Iranian occupation? I'm sure the PKKers at Qandîl are far more wary than I am, so I really don't think anything will come of this.

Another point about the lack of US support for other Rojhelatî groups is that the darlings of the neocons have been MEK. The MEK has targeted and murdered Americans in the past, worked for Saddam against the Bashurî during the 91 serhildan, and is an FTO, according to the US. That means it's on The List®. But as late as last year, certain congressmen (like Tom Tancredo, R-CO) were proposing removing MEK from The List® so that they could use them against Iran. Daniel Pipes, a neocon, even made an apologia of MEK back in 2003. In his case, he wanted to use MEK as spies. Douglas Feith and Richard Perle have also had their names associated with MEK in a similar way.

Oh, yeah, MEK is also Marxist, so the US is VERY selective about which Marxists it will deal with and which former Marxists it will deal with. Example: PUK is a former Marxist group too, just like PKK.

All of this seems to point to the fact that the US will work with anyone that they think can help them in their interests.

Naturally I support PJAK and I agree that I, too, would prefer to see PJAK, Komala, and PDKI working together against a common enemy. By the way, a PJAK commander, from Çewllik province, was recently martyred.

Şehîd namirin!

Anonymous said...

There are plenty of other opposition groups aside from the MEK that the US could turn to of course. So let's rule out MEK and try to focus more on those groups who have recently sat down in Washington. The U.S. is well aware that PDKI and Komala are actively recruiting members and have been training their recruits in Southern Kurdistan. Why would U.S. take such a risk in dealing with PKK just doesn't quite fit...

Mizgîn said...

You missed my point on MEK, Anonymous. My point is that here is a group that's on The List®, but certain groups close to, if not within, the US government and administration are not only putting forth pro-MEK arguments, but they are arguing for its removal from The List® for their own interests. Kind of like the Ankara regime's blindness to HAMAS presence on The List®.

Yet PKK, which has never targeted Americans or called for the annihilation of the Turkish people remains on The List®. The List® is a farce.

The US is not taking a risk in talking to PKK. Nor is PKK taking a risk in talking to CIA. PKK can smell games several kilometers away and CIA REEKS of games. So my attitude is talk to them, see what information you can get from them and then let them go on their way to play their happy games.

Whoever wants to depend on them, well, they'll get screwed in the end and don't come crying.