Saturday, April 07, 2007


"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."
~ Benjamin Franklin.

Miguel is one of those who's been minding the store for Lukery over at Wot Is It Good 4, and he's posted a new article by John Stanton on Turkey and related Sibel Edmonds' matters. The piece is titled, aptly enough, "Turkey's Con Game":

“Turkey is not as politically stable or as secular domestically as they would have you believe,” said one long time observer of US-Turkish relations in Washington, DC. “The Turks do not have a large community across the United States like, say, the Armenians and the Greeks who have been here a long time. Because of this you see a very large Turkish presence inside Washington, DC.”

Lacking a legitimate national grassroots organization, Turkey has built a notable presence inside the corridors of power in Washington, by spreading cash around and buying direct access to key US decision makers in and out of the US government. It all seems legitimate enough: campaign donations and junkets for members & staff of the US Congress (FMOCs); consulting fees to former FMOCs, US military generals, US State Department employees; and promises of billions of dollars in contracts to US corporate representatives operating in Washington. With so much money chasing politicians, consultants and contractors of all stripes, there’s bound to be some corrupt and even criminal activity. No seasoned observer of politics anywhere is completely surprised at the occasional and well-timed conviction of a white collar criminal.

[ . . . ]

. . . if it is true that Turkey is not as secular or as politically stable as its proponents in Washington and Ankara say, then the whole Turkey-as-US strategic partner and would-be European Union partner would be one of the better smoke and mirrors acts sold to the US public, and the world, in recent memory.

Stanton notes something that is rarely noted: the fact of Turkish brutality of its own Kurdish population. He also mentions the fact of Turkish threats against South Kurdistan if there should be a declaration of Kurdish independence there, or if the outcome of a Kerkuk referendum is favorable to Kurds. Speaking of which, Masûd Barzanî had something to say about Kerkuk today, from the AP via the IHT:

Turkey must not interfere in the Kurds' bid to attach Iraq's oil-rich city of Kirkuk to the Kurdish semiautonomous zone, the top official in Iraqi Kurdistan said in remarks broadcast Saturday.

Otherwise, Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani said, Iraq's Kurds will retaliate by intervening in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeast, where insurgents have battled for decades to establish their own autonomy.

[ . . . ]

"Turkey is not allowed to intervene in the Kirkuk issue and if it does, we will interfere in Diyarbakir's issues and other cities in Turkey," Barzani said. Diyarbakir is the largest city in Turkey's Kurdish-dominated southeast.

[ . . . ]

When asked about the Turkmen minority in Kirkuk and Turkey's concern for its ethnic brethren, Barzani shot back:

"There are 30 million Kurds in Turkey and we don't interfere there. If they (the Turks) interfere in Kirkuk over just thousands of Turkmen then we will take action for the 30 million Kurds in Turkey."

"I hope we don't reach this point, but if the Turks insist on intervening in Kirkuk matter I am ready to take responsible for our response," Barzani said.

What a shame that "30 million Kurds in Turkey" are only viewed by the Southern Kurdish leadership as bargaining chips against Ankara, much in the same way the Israelis viewed the same Kurds when Ankara invited the Hamas leader for a visit. Nationhood transcends the phony boundaries drawn by colonialist oppressors, therefore the question that begs an answer is this: What is the responsibility of South Kurdistan to the rest of Kurdistan, bearing in mind that the rest of Kurdistan contains the vast majority of the world's Kurds? Perhaps one of the oldest questions in literature is apropos to this situation, that being, "Am I my brother's keeper?"

I have one word for the pêşmerge (Warning: Link to American propaganda)who want the US to stay: Montagnards . . . or as they call themselves, the Degar people. The Degar are a little piece of US military history that I'm willing to bet no one has mentioned to the pêşmerge, although the Degar are an appropriate subject for Kurdish reflection. The US abandoned these "allies" at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 and now, 32 years later, the Degar still suffer gross human rights abuses from the Vietnamese government, while their population numbers have fallen from 3 million during French colonial rule to a few hundred thousand today.

Is that where you want to be in 30 years' time?

It would be far more prudent for the Southern Kurds to strengthen their ties with the rest of Kurdistan, while the pêşmerge work and train with PKK's gerîlas, than to rely on the backstabbing Americans for Kurdistan's future. After all, has Lockheed Martin's Joseph Ralston sold the KRG any tactical fighter aircraft--a job he's registered with the Senate to do--or has the US Air Force begun training Kurdish pilots on the use of the F-16? If not, you should ask yourself why not.

Whom is Kurdistan going to trust? An American pilot--given the attack against KDP pêşmerge that left a number of them dead and Wajee Barzanî in a permanent vegetative state, or the more recent American bombing of PUK pêşmerge . . . but only because they "looked" like al-Qaeda? Or perhaps American pilots will stand aside again in the future in order to allow Turkey to freely drop ordnance on Southern Kurdish villages just exactly as they did during Operation Northern Watch? As John Pilger reminded us in 2001:

While British government ministers have repeatedly described the no-fly-zones as "humanitarian cover" for the Kurds, the pilots' unease has become an open secret in the United States. Last October, the Washington Post reported: "On more than one occasion [US pilots who fly in tandem with the British] have received a radio message that 'there is a TSM inbound' - that is, a 'Turkish Special Mission' heading into Iraq.

Following standard orders, the Americans turned their planes around and flew back to Turkey. 'You'd see Turkish F-14s and F-16s inbound, loaded to the gills with munitions,'[pilot Mike Horn] said. 'Then they'd come out half an hour later with their munitions expended.' When the Americans flew back into Iraqi air space, he recalled, they would see 'burning villages, lots of smoke and fire'."

That was what the PR people dubbed the "safe haven" and that's why it would be much better to have no American "protection." It's time to grow up, Kurdistan; end dependency on patronage and let Kurds protect Kurds. Besides, the whining is "traumatizing" my nerves.

Or maybe everyone needs another reminder of American priorities, from the AEI's Michael Rubin? Then again it's always possible to continue to depend on patronage and end up fighting for American interests in places farther away from Kurdistan than Baghdad . . . like maybe Ethiopia or Somalia.

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