PKK Leader Warns Turkey on Incursions
Michael Howard of the Guardian interviewed a Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) guerrilla commander in northern Iraq. Money graf:
‘The Turkish army faces “a political and military disaster” if its generals give orders for a cross-border offensive, Cemil Bayik, one of the two most powerful figures in the Kurdistan Workers party, or PKK, told the Guardian at a hideout in the Qandil mountains on the border with Iran. Mr Bayik said his units did not seek a fight, but “would defend ourselves if attacked”. It could become “a quagmire for them [the Turkish army] and create space for Iran to interfere in Iraq also,” he said. ‘
Bayik’s mindset is revealed when he talks about Turkish plans of ‘annihilating Kurdishness.’ Actually, things have changed in the past 30 years, though the good Lord knows that much remains to be done in ensuring that Turkish Kurds are first class citizens (not a goal that will be reached by thuggish, murderous PKK tactics). First of all, Turkish Kurds have spread all over Turkey as guest workers. There are millions living in cities such as Istanbul and other industrial centers. Political scientists studying their voting patterns have found that they vote like other Turkish citizens living in the same place. That is, Kurds in Istanbul vote like the Turks in surrounding neighborhoods. There is no pan-Kurdish political identity in Turkey. Only a tiny proportion of Turkish Kurds supports the PKK, which has a very nasty history as a far-left terrorist group that killed thousands. (In this interview, Cemil Bayik as much as admits that his group is still actively killing Turkish soldiers and police in Eastern Anatolia; this is the point of his posturing that the PKK no longer targets civilians [also untrue].)
The issue of the Kurdish north in Iraq is not theoretical. Reuters reports political violence in Iraq on Sunday and among the major incidents were these two:
‘KIRKUK – A car bomb killed three people, including two Kurdish security force members, and wounded four other people in Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
KIRKUK – A U.S. soldier was killed in an explosion in Kirkuk province on Saturday, the U.S. military said in a statement.
McClatchy adds, “Two civilians were killed when gunmen opened fire targeting their truck on Al Abbasi- Biji street southwest Kirkuk city Saturday night.”
This violence is a result of a struggle for oil rich Kirkuk among Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen, a struggle that will intensify later this year over the planned referendum that will bring Kirkuk into the Kurdistan regional confederacy.
Other attacks reported by Reuters included a roadside bomb in Baghdad that killed 2 US soldiers on Saturday, a suicide carbombing near Baiji north of Baghdad that killed 3 Iraqi policemen and wounded 7 others, and an attack on policemen in the southern city of Nasiriya (probably Mahdi Army) that wounded one of them.
Then there was this:
‘BAGHDAD – The body of Filaih Wadi Mijthab, the managing editor of the state-run al-Sabah daily newspaper, has been found in Baghdad’s Sadr City neighbourhood, his newspaper said. He was kidnapped on Wednesday. ‘
The Iraq War has been among the hardest in history on journalists, and now another martyr to truth-telling has fallen.
McClatchy adds other attacks on Sunday:
‘Three Iraqi soldiers were injured when an IED explosion targeted their patrol in Al Eskan intersection in Al Mansour neighborhood downtown Baghdad around 2 p.m.
Seven civilians were injured when mortar shells hit Salman Bak district in southeast Baghdad around 5 p.m.
Five bodies were found in Baghdad. . .
Two policemen were killed and 7 of their colleagues wounded when an IED explosion targeted their patrol near the entrance of Siniyah district north of Tikrit city early morning. . .
Medical and security sources said that 17 residents from Jizani Al Emam village had been killed and injured in the ongoing clashes that started Saturday between the residents of Jizani Al Emam village, one of the villages of Khalis town and what is called the Islamic State of Iraq. . .
At least 4 civilians were killed and 10 were wounded in a suicide bombing. The incident happened afternoon in Jbil district south Falluja when a suicide wearing a vest bomb detonated among the civilians who had gathered to renew their Falluja residency badges. . .
There was also violence in an around Baquba in Diyala province.