Kurdish War: Turks Prepare to Invade Iraq

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February13, 2007: Several European countries have begun arresting PKK activists and financial supporters. Belgium arrested at least four people allegedly tied to the PKK, but on February 10 released the suspects. France arrested 13 PKK members on February 5. The charges include smuggling and money laundering - giving the European countries the "cover" of police operations. However, there is a political element. Turkey has been complaining for two decades about European sanctuaries for the PKK, and the U.S. has been encouraging the European countries to help curb PKK financing.

February 7, 2007: The US urged Turkey to not launch a "cross border" action into Iraq to pursue PKK rebels. Since last Fall, Turkey has said that if the US and Iraq do not take concrete measures to stop PKK infiltration into Turkey, the Turkish military will act. Turkey reported that 250 people died in PKK attacks (including terror bomb attacks) in 2006. The Turks expect an increase in PKK attacks once Winter ends. What are some "concrete measures" the Turkish military is considering? Air attacks are the most probable. Last year both Iran and Turkey shelled Kurd rebel positions in the Kandil Mountains. However, artillery usually means artillery spotters. That can be done from the air, but most likely Turkish special operations forces would be involved in both air and artillery attacks. Turkish special operations forces conduct intelligence operations in northern Iraq, and they know the area well. What the US fears is another "incursion" with 50,000 to 100,000 Turkish troops. An "incursion" of this size could go 40 to 50 kilometers into northern Iraq. The Turks refer to this as a "limited" incursion. Given the number of troops, it is really a sizeable operation. Turkey, however, could claim (credibly) that the attack is not an invasion but an operation intended to destroy terrorist bases. The Turks have done this before. The problem starts once the Turks leave and PKK cadres re-infiltrate. What Turkey wants is the US and Iraq to stop the PKK from returning to its bases.

February 5, 2007: Iraqi Kurds are urging PKK separatists to not conduct a "spring terrorist campaign."

 

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