Friday, October 12, 2007

By the way

It seems kind of pointless to even bring this up for a readership steeped in the conventional rhetoric of Cole and that ilk, but there is an Iraqi-nationalist view of the Turkey-Kurdistan crisis.

It goes like this: First of all, the PKK guerrilla activities are embarassing to the Kurdistan regional government, because it has been taking advantage of the US occupation and the weakness of the Baghdad government to nourish separatist aspirations, so this Turkish threat puts it on the horns of a dilemma. If it declares war on the PKK, it will seem to have abandoned its claim to Kurdish nationalism, but if it doesn't, and Turkey invades the north, then it loses prestige as an effective power. And the US is on the same page. For the US, Kurdistan is a model of stable separatism, and it does not want to see this model destroyed via a Turkish invasion. Hence its recent warnings to the Turkish government to put away the tanks and deal with the PKK issue via the usual back-channels.

When all is said and done, says Al-Quds al-Arabi in its editorial yesterday (Thursday Oct 11), the Turkish government will listen to the Americans and refrain from an invasion.
First of all [the editorialist writes], they aren't really interested in angering Washington. And secondly, Turkey has no real desire to mix it up in northern Iraq, because it understands quite well that such an involvement could lead to the exact opposite to the desired result, in the sense of failing to put an end to the Kurdish Workers Party in any definitive way, and instead leading to the worst possible result, namely turning Kurdistan into a platform for real and broader attacks in the future. [Turkey remembers that] the military attacks it launched in 1995 and 1997, using 120,000 Turkish troops, didn't succeed in putting an complete end to the PKK or its bases.
This is an analysis that points the way to a likely result, with important implications for the political development of the region. The editorialist puts it this way:
Most likely, the Turkish government has used these threats of an invasion to press the United States to get a move on, and pressure its allies in northern Iraq to prevent the PKK from operating from bases in its territory, in the same way that [the United States] did with some of the Iraqi tribes that it pressed to form so-called "awakening" forces to declare war on the AlQaeda organization and expel them by force from Sunni regions in Anbar and elsewhere.
The editorial is called "The cleverness of Erdogan and the American-Kurdish entanglement". Its starting-point is that this is another manifestation of America having turned Iraq into a failed state in which every interested party has its hand in the stew, militarily or politically or both, so whatever you think you saw in the "tribal awakening" movement, you could well end up seeing in a Kurdish version of it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please don't make such a general assumption of pointlessness Badger. Even someone like me, with no ME background and a real bad memory for Arab names, can go to Cole's site for a news run-down, and other interesting stuff, and still realize that some of the statements he makes, attributing motive or naming a group as responsible for an incident, can sound just like some hack on local news parroting talking-points. I've even left a coupla brief comments to the effect - how can you know that?

And please keep up the great work you do.

11:01 AM  
Blogger badger said...

tribalecho, point taken.

Maybe I should find another word for "pointlessness". Today on Guardian's Comment is Free there was a piece by Seamus Milne I believe his name is, on the latest resistance-front announcement. It was a little thin on actual new news, but what you immediately notice is the wide debate among commenters this triggered on the whole idea of the meaning of the Sunni resistance. In America there is no such debate. Thanks to Dr Cole and the NYT and the others, every atrocity perpetrated by every takfiiri crazy and every regional and non-regional mukhabarat has been laid at the feet of the national resistance. As far as Americans are concerned, they are beyond the pale, they cannot be discussed. Dr Cole and the NYT and their like have done this. I am talking about cumulative effect. That's what I mean by "pointless". You can fight and query on individual points as you have tried to do sometimes over there, but I am talking about cumulative effect.

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Badger while I agree with the analysis regarding Turkish intentions lets not forget the possibility this issue could become subject to the clash between the military and government and lead to an irrational act by one or the other out of desperation and fear of losing a domestic power struggle.

8:47 PM  
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