"The seed of revolution is repression."
~ Woodrow Wilson.
~ Woodrow Wilson.
Earlier in the week, I posted a link to an article by Paul Schemm and his visit to Qandîl. There is another by Schemm, also on Middle East Online, which references Iraqi PKK coordinator Shirwan al-Waili's comments about Iraq finishing off the PKK within a year:
In his stone hut on a mountain side, guerilla commander Sayda Hussein Afshin dismissed the minister's statements.
"He's just being political, and is lying both to the Turks and to himself," he said. "We are not afraid. In any case there are always possibilities of attacks in every part of Kurdistan, from all four sides."
"We are always preparing ourselves."
I'll say. How is Iraq going to finish off PKK in a year when it can't even control Baghdad? It seems to me that there are a lot bigger problems in Baghdad than in the mountains of Kurdistan, but the commander is correct: al-Waili's statement was political. Still, it's an indication of how obsessed the Ankara regime is in maintaining it's foundational lie that Kurds do not exist and that Turkish society must be homogenous. It also shows that in spite of official Turkish hand-wringing over the security of Iraq and Iraqis, they really don't give a damn.
From Commander Sozdar Serbiliz:
"We don't want war," said the hardened 25-year-old guerrilla who has been fighting Turks for the past decade. "The problem is that all four states attack the Kurds and they don't accept our identity."
PKK has not wanted war for a long time and that is why there have been a number of ceasefires over the years. Desire for peace was also the reason for Ocalan's attempt to bring the Kurdish situation to public scrutiny in Europe. It was the international community under pressure from the warmongering regimes in Washington and Ankara that ensured Turkey's atrocities against the Kurdish people would not become the subject of public debate in the West. The silencing of this debate, by conspiracy, serves the purpose of hiding Western support for the slaughter of Kurds and keeps the blood money flowing to the Western defense industry.
As a result, PKK wants peace but stands ready for war. There is no other choice.
Schemm seems to have some concerns:
At first glance, though, it is difficult to see how this unit of a few dozen men is going to stand up to a concerted Iraqi attempt to retake their mountain fastness.
To conserve ammunition for the exercise they loaded their weapons with older bullets, causing many to jam during the hilltop assault, and at least one RPG round misfired.
It is hard to believe that this movement has survived the concerted assaults of the Turkish military, armed with modern helicopters and artillery, since launching a guerilla war in 1984.
What's the point in using fresh ammunition for a training excercise when it should be conserved for the real thing when the time comes--killing Mehmetciks.
As for difficulty in believing that the freedom movement of North Kurdistan has survived, and thrived, while under attack for decades by the second largest army in NATO, is something easy to understand when one realizes the strategic center of gravity lies with PKK and is a result of the atrocities committed against the Kurdish people by Turkey and its backers--all of which is over and above the tactical benefits of being a defensive force in the terrain of Kurdistan. The roots of the Kurdish resistance are moral roots because this war is not a military war at its souce; it is a political and social war, derived from the crisis of the Turkish state's legitimacy. Turkey has gone to extreme efforts, even to the point of embracing and enforcing a 20th century fascist political system on all the peoples of Turkey, as well as engaging in extreme human rights abuses, in an effort to manufacture "legitimacy." After 80 years of effort, Kurdish identity has grown stronger while Turkish identity remains as questionable as it was in 1923.
Therefore TSK's fight remains simply at the tactical level. The regime's propaganda is designed to support the tactical level of the fight, by presenting a false strategic center of gravity for outsider consumption, i.e. the US, the EU, anyone else ignorant ignorant enough or complicit in genocide enough to give the propaganda any weight. While the regime's use of force works temporarily at the physical level (such as TSK raids on Kurdish villages which result in brutality against villagers as well as the destruction of villages), it is an utter failure on the moral level, the very same level from which PKK derives the strength needed to thrive after decades of TSK failures.
Another article from Schemm and AFP is found at Al-Thawra, but a far more interesting and personal account of his visit to Qandîl can be found on The Arabist. Here's is the conclusion:
The other Kurdish parties have grown fat and corrupt since coming to power, and these ascetic mountain guerillas with their emphasis on women’s rights and education might still have a thing or two to tell them all.
And anyway, it’s got to be better then this mess in Baghdad where the suicide bomber are male and the nights ring to the sound of rival neighborhoods dropping mortars on each other.
For more on PKK, PJAK, and Qandîl, there was an enjoyable series on KurdishMedia earlier this year, in case you missed it:
The PKK and PJAK fighters of Qendil - I
The PKK and PJAK fighters of Qendil - II
The PKK and PJAK fighters of Qendil - III
The PKK and PJAK fighters of Qendil - IV
When the final installment of the series is available, I will post a link.
Meanwhile, back in Ankara, MIT chief Emre Taner should take his nose out of the glue jar before briefing anyone going off to the EU Harmonization Commission.