Kurdish War: March 8, 2003

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Iraqi Kurd guerrillas and militias are now training to stop an attack by Turkish forces. These are not PKK units, but units from Iraq's KDP and PUK factions. The Post reporter was in KDP country.) The Kurds do not buy the Turkish claim that Turk troops would enter Kurdish zones only to deflect refugees fleeing fighting inside Iraq and heading north to Turkey. While the Post article says this creates a "formula for a war within in a war" (ie, a war within the US-Iraq conflict) that's not quite correct. The Turk-Kurd war is already an on-going affair. There has been a "working arrangement" among the Turkish military and the two main Iraqi Kurd factions. The Turks aim at the PKK and leave the KDP and PUK alone. The PUK and KDP receive various types of support from Turkey, but everyone knows Iraqi Kurds occasionally aid their cousins in the PKK. Could Turk and Kurd fighting escalate in Iraq? Sure. Who loses? The Kurds lose big. Turkey has airpower and trained and motivated troops. But Turkey also loses as the Kurd War inside Turkey reignites. Turkey doesn't want an independent Kurdistan emerging from a post-Saddam Iraq. In a sense the Kurd training the Washington Post reporter observed is classic information warfare. The Kurds send a message to Turkey and the world that they are suspicious of Turkish motives and --whatever the post-Saddam political arrangements may be-- intend to defend their autonomy against Iranians, Turks, and Baghdad. (Austin Bay)



 

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