We are told upwards of 250 armed PKK combatants crossed the Iraq-Turkey border and killed 12 young Turkish solders and wounded 18, they then return back across the same border with 8 Turkish army conscripts as prisoners, yet not a single US surveillance satellite, spy plane or drone sees a dickie bird. Perhaps it is time to look a little closer at the PKK in Iraq; and consider the possibility whether it might have become an asset of the US intelligence services.
There is a common consensus amongst most military analysts that the The Kurdistan Workers Party, [PKK] which has been engaged in a violent insurgency against the Turkish State since 1984, has become a shadow of its former self. At one time it is thought the PKK had upwards of 50 thousand fighters in the field. Whilst this may have been an exaggeration the PKK did have far more than the current rough estimates of three thousand armed combatants. Thus with its military decline, the PKK has cut its political cloth accordingly; and dropped its demand for an independent Kurdistan in south eastern Turkey and substituted this with a demand for greater autonomy for the Kurdish people within the Republic of Turkey. They seemed to be making political headway in these aims when in the July 07 General Election, for the first time since 1990 23 Kurdish nationalist’s sympathetic to the PKK where returned to the Turkish Parliament.
Yet at a time when logic would have suggested that the PKK would be running down their military side in favor of its political wing, they have gone onto the offensive militarily, operating from safe havens in northern Iraq. Last weekend the PKK once again struck with a vengeance at the Turkish Army when it killed 12 soldiers and wounding 16 in a hit and run raid near Dağlıca Village in the Turkish province of Hakkari. According to news sources the attack was carried out by as many as 250 armed PKK soldiers, something which if verified, would make the attack one of the boldest the PKK has ever launched in its entire history. Shortly after the news of this latest PKK incursion across the Iraq-Turkey border became public, the Turkish military issued a statement that eight of its soldiers involved in the fire-fight are still missing, possibly captured by the PKK.
Which makes it increasingly difficult to believe that this latest burst of PKK activity is taking place without the full knowledge of the US security services in Iraq. Not least because the skies above Iraq are filled with US controlled drones, spy-planes and satellites, all scouring the land for the movement of people hostile to the US occupying forces and their client governments in Baghdad and Erbil, the seat of the regional government of Iraqi Kurdistan. The mountains of northern Iraq are pretty barren, devoid of trees and vegetation and unless there is cloud cover it is difficult to see how the USA’s worldwide security networks would miss 250 armed men crossing the Iraq-Turkish border and returning with Turkish army prisoners.
The US administration have a history in Iraq of using the Kurdish areas as bases to facilitate attack’s against their political enemies, as the Iranian People’s Mujahedeen of Iran have shown. This group moved effortlessly from supporting and being sponsored by Saddam’s bloody Regime, to become a client of the US security services in Iraq. Indeed they simply changed out of the Soviet style uniforms provided by Saddam’s army into the more sleek outfits of the US military, sunglasses and all. They even remained in some of the same military bases which had been provided by Saddam; and whereas in the past they plotted against the Iranian government alongside members of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, (Jihaz Al-Mukhabarat Al-A’ma) they now do much the same today alongside members of the CIA and US Army Intel, with the odd MI6 officer joining them to provide the tea and biscuits.
So what could be motivating the United State’s to turn a blind eye to the PKK if that is what they are doing, or could it be just another example of the cock up mentality of the US army in Iraq. This looks doubtful as the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives recently passed a resolution on the Armenian Genocide of 1915 that was bound to make the average Turk pull their hair out with rage.
Or could it be that it is the Iraqi Kurdish administration which is based in Erbil that is tweaking the Turks tail by allowing the PKK a free reign in their territory, after all they have a history of enjoying such sport. Again this looks unlikely as they are pragmatists to the core and things have been going their way of late and the last thing they would want is for thousands of Turkish troops and tanks to come thundering down main street Erbil and Sulaimaniya, what with the two capo’s of Kurdish politics sitting comfortable within the new Iraqi State. Massoud Barzani as the President of the Kurdistan Region whilst his former foe Jala Talabani is in Baghdad as President of Iraq.
Thus if it is not the Iraqi Kurds who are pulling the PPK’s chain then one must then return to the US administration of GW Bush and its gung-ho but often inept security services, who have never got over Turkey’s refusal to join the coalition of the willing when Bush and his Neo-con pals first decided to invade and occupy Saddam’s Iraq. If the Turks had joined the US and UK in their dirty deed then they would undoubtedly have been given the task of subduing the northern part of Iraq. Could the US administration be covertly encouraging the PKK so as to entice the Turkish armed forces across the Iraqi border in hot pursuit of the PKK. For if there is one lesson from Iraq it is that it is a far easier for a Nato army to get into the place than out. Once in northern Iraq the Turkish military will be reluctant to withdraw; and in all probability will use the age old chestnut that were they to do so their enemies, in this case the PKK will immediately fill the void.
The benefits for the US administration of having a mass of Turkish troops permanently stationed in northern Iraq is obvious, they would have a strong Nato ally in place to police not only Iraqi Kurdistan but also parts of the adjoining areas. Which would enable the Turkish troops to play a role in preventing men and armaments infiltrating the Iran-Iraq Northern border. The Turkish military’s presence in northern Iraq for any length of time might also allow the US to either withdraw troops from this area and re-deploy them elsewhere in Iraq, or maybe even reduce the overall numbers of US military personnel in Iraq. For the US administration having Turkish troops in Iraq is a win win situation.
Whether Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has the will and guile to prevent the Turkish military bringing disaster on itself by invading northern Iraq only time will tell; but he has his work cut out for him as the recent burst of PKK violence has managed to raise the average Turkish person’s temperature to way beyond boiling point.