Dr.Michael Rubin, (who spoke last year at the Finnish UPI,) writes in the Weekly Standard about the worring situation in one of Iraq’s relatively quiet enclaves of northern Iraq.
It seems that the Kurdistan Democratic party leader, Massoud Barzani has been playing a dangerous game of supplying logisitics and weapons to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), “terrorists who have been responsible for approximately 30,000 deaths in Turkey since 1984.”
This is not a position the US wants to find itself in, which has up till now, strangely been giving the Kurds mixed signals as to the possibility of gaining their autonomy. There needs to be a clear message delivered by the US, that the Kurds future is tied to the success of the Iraqi state. Offering cover for terrorists operating out of northern Iraq has to end.
The US can’t be seen “turning a blind eye to terror”, as it seeks to stamp it out in the rest of Iraq and around the world. Turkey is also a member of NATO, and deserves better from its US ally.
“Barzani and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan leader (and current Iraqi president) Jalal Talabani deserve credit for being tough negotiators. As Iraqi politicians debated the constitution, Barzani and Talabani won the right both to preserve their own party’s militias and to veto the deployment of the Iraqi army into the Kurdish region.
But the State Department has been unwilling to meet toughness with toughness. By restricting freedom of movement on the basis of ethnicity, Kurdish authorities have violated the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. Foggy Bottom nonetheless refused to make U.S. aid conditional on better behavior of the Kurds.
On June 23, 2004, U.S. authorities transferred $1.4 billion to Kurdish leaders. Less than a week after receiving that windfall, the Kurdistan Regional Government signed its own oil-prospecting agreement with the Norwegian company DNO, a slap in the face to Iraqi unity.”
The region just can’t afford the Iraqi Kurds to embark on their own foreign and domestic policies, nor can it afford the PKK to run amock at the behest of both Kurdistan Democratic party of Barzani, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, whose leader is Jalal Talabani, the current president of Iraq.
Both the PUK and PKK have been fighting each other for decades, and it’s intertesting to now see a combined effort emerging. I guess that it could only take the ultimate prize of an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq to get these two groups from fighting each other.
Dr.Ruben aslo makes a point of comparing the similarities between Barzani and Arafat:
“Barzani now mimics the strategy of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat–seeking diplomatic legitimacy while refusing to renounce violence.” “Just as Arafat transformed the Palestinian Authority into a safe haven for terrorists, so too does Barzani.”
” Turkish officials complain there are six PKK bases operating in territory controlled by Barzani’s party. Just as weapons supplied by the Clinton administration to Palestinian security forces ended up in the hands of terrorists, so too have arms supplied by the U.S. government to Kurdish fighters, the peshmerga, found their way into PKK hands.”
The US Administration has to get serious with the PUK , KDP about keeping northern Iraq within the Iraqi state, as well as getting real serious with the terrorist group the PKK. Nothing else would make any sense, moral or otherwise. More here. *L* KGS