Novak Leaking More Secrets: The plan to hit the
The morass in Iraq and deepening difficulties in
Afghanistan have not deterred the Bush
administration from taking on a dangerous and
questionable new secret operation. High-level U.S.
officials are working with their Turkish
counterparts on a joint military operation to
suppress Kurdish guerrillas and capture their
leaders. Through covert activity, their goal is to
forestall Turkey from invading Iraq.
While detailed operational plans are necessarily
concealed, the broad outlines have been presented to
select members of Congress as required by law. U.S.
Special Forces are to work with the Turkish army to
suppress the Kurds' guerrilla campaign. The Bush
administration is trying to prevent another front
from opening in Iraq, which would have disastrous
consequences. But this gamble risks major exposure
The Turkish initiative reflects the temperament and
personality of George W. Bush. Even faithful
congressional supporters of his Iraq policy have
been stunned by the president's upbeat mood, which
makes him appear oblivious to the loss of his
political base. Despite the failing effort to impose
a military solution in Iraq, he is willing to try
imposing arms -- though clandestinely -- on Turkey's
ancient problems with its Kurdish minority, who
comprise one-fifth of the country's population.
The development of an autonomous Kurdish entity
inside Iraq, resulting from the decline and fall of
Saddam Hussein, has alarmed the Turkish government.
That led to Ankara's refusal to allow U.S. combat
troops to enter Iraq through Turkey, an
eleventh-hour complication for the 2003 invasion. As
the Kurds' political power grew inside Iraq, the
Turkish government became steadily more uneasy about
the centuries-old project of a Kurdistan spreading
across international boundaries -- and chewing up
big pieces of Turkey.
The dormant Turkish Kurd guerrilla fighters of the
Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) came to life. By June,
the Turkish government was demonstrating its concern
by lobbing artillery shells across the border.
Ankara began protesting, to both Washington and
Baghdad, that the PKK was using northern Iraq as a
base for guerrilla operations. On July 11, in
Washington, Turkish Ambassador Nabi Sensoy became
the first Turkish official to assert publicly that
Iraqi Kurds have claims on Turkish territory. On
July 20, just two days before his successful
reelection, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdogan threatened a military incursion into Iraq
against the Kurds. Last Wednesday, Murat Karayilan,
head of the PKK political council, predicted that "the
Turkish Army will attack southern Kurdistan."
* Southern Kurdistan is (Iraqi Kurdistan)
Turkey has a well-trained, well-equipped army of
250,000 near the border,
facing some 4,000 PKK fighters hiding in the
mountains of northern Iraq. But significant
cross-border operations surely would bring to the
PKK's side the military forces of the Kurdistan
Regional Government, the best U.S. ally in Iraq.
What is Washington to do in the dilemma of two
friends battling each other on an unwanted new front
The surprising answer was given in secret briefings
on Capitol Hill last week by Eric S. Edelman, a
former aide to Vice President Cheney who is now
undersecretary of defense for policy. Edelman, a
Foreign Service officer who once was U.S. ambassador
to Turkey, revealed to lawmakers plans for a covert
operation of U.S. Special Forces to help the Turks
neutralize the PKK. They would behead the guerrilla
organization by helping Turkey get rid of PKK
leaders that they have targeted for years.
Edelman's listeners were stunned. Wasn't this risky?
He responded that he was sure of success, adding
that the U.S. role could be concealed and always
would be denied. Even if all this is true, some of
the briefed lawmakers left wondering whether this
was a wise policy for handling the beleaguered
Kurds, who had been betrayed so often by the U.S.
government in years past.
The plan shows that hard experience has not
dissuaded President Bush from attempting difficult
ventures employing the use of force. On the
contrary, two of the most intrepid supporters of the
Iraq intervention -- John McCain and Lindsey
Graham-- were surprised by Bush during a recent
meeting with him. When they shared their impressions
with colleagues, they commented on how unconcerned
the president seemed. That may explain his
willingness to embark on such a questionable venture
against the Kurds.
** Ankara is anxious to prevent the emergence of a
Kurdish state in Kurdistan region (northern Iraq),
fearing this could fan separatism among its own
large Kurdish population in southeast Turkey .
Kurdish politician says, Turkey is using a Kurdish
separatist PKK rebel group as an excuse to invade
Kurdistan region (Iraq) to prevent the establishment
of Kurdistan state in the Kurdish autonomous region
in (northern Iraq).
Ankara fears that if the oil-rich Kirkuk joins
Kurdistan, the Kurds will have the economic
foundation they need for an independent state
** The use of the term "Kurdistan" is vigorously
rejected due to its alleged political implications
by the Republic of Turkey, which does not recognize
the existence of a "Turkish Kurdistan" Southeast
Kurds are not recognized as an official minority in
Turkey and are denied rights granted to other
minority groups. Under EU pressure, Turkey recently
granted Kurds limited rights for broadcasts and
education in the Kurdish language, but critics say
the measures do not go far enough.
Others estimate over 40 million Kurds live in
Big Kurdistan (Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Armenia),
which covers an area as big as France, about half of
all Kurds which estimate to 20 million live in
Turkey is home to over 25 million ethnic Kurds, some
of whom openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK for a
Kurdish homeland in the country's mainly Kurdish
southeast of Turkey.
Before August 2002, the Turkish government placed
severe restrictions on the use of Kurdish language,
prohibiting the language in education and broadcast
The Kurdish alphabet is still not recognized
in Turkey, and use of the Kurdish letters X, W, Q
which do not exist in the Turkish
alphabet has led to judicial persecution in 2000 and
The Kurdish flag flown officially in Iraqi Kurdistan
but unofficially flown by Kurds in Armenia. The flag
is banned in Iran, Syria, and Turkey where flying it
is a criminal offence"
North Kurdistan ( Kurdistan-Turkey)
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