Thursday, October 18, 2007

Other Items

Ignoring pleas for restraint from Washington, Baghdad and other capitals, Turkish lawmakers approved the request from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the authority to send counter-terrorism troops into Iraq at any time during the next year.
The measure passed 507 to 19, with most of the opposing votes coming from Kurdish members of the parliament. Lawmakers broke into applause when the results were announced.
"We Are Going Into Iraq!" was the banner headline of the ATV television station.
"We are at the point where our patience has run out," Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek said in the parliament.
Erdogan and other senior officials indicated, however, that the vote did not mean a swift invasion.
The government is hoping the threat will pressure Iraqi and U.S. forces to act against guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, who have been attacking Turkish targets from bases in northern Iraq's Kurdish autonomous region.

The above is from Yesim Borg's "Turkey approves attacks in north Iraq" (Los Angeles Times) and the reaction in nothern Iraq? Yahya Barzanji's "Iraq: Thousands of Kurds Rally" (AP) covers the protest of over 5,000 marchers:

The crowd waved the sunshine flag of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region and shouted slogans and songs praising Kurdish nationality, handing representatives at the offices a document calling on the U.N. to intervene to stop any Turkish activity inside Iraq.
Kurdish leaders have warned that any Turkish incursion into northern Iraq would threaten the relative stability of the region and called on Ankara to seek peaceful means against violence from separatist rebels.
[. . .]
Hasso Slevkani, a 65-year-old man wearing traditional Kurdish clothes and walking with a stick, called on Kurdish political parties to unite in the face of the threat.
He also expressed concern that the Turks are not only targeting members of the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party, known as the PKK, but also trying to disrupt the relative peace and economic success of the autonomous Kurdish region to prevent separatist sentiment from gaining momentum among the Kurdish minority in Turkey.
"They are not chasing the PKK," Slevkani said. "They want to degrade Kurdistan's government dignity."

In this morning's New York Times, Sebnem Arsu and Sabrina Tavernise deal with the international reaction (Syrian's president has endorsed the Turkish parliament's vote) in "Turkey Resolves to Give Go-Ahead for Raids in Iraq:"

Security experts here and in the United States agreed that Turkey was unlikely to cross the United States with a full-scale military operation. Still, the government is closer than it has been in years to military action of some sort, embarrassed into acting by a public angry over mounting deaths and what is seen as American inaction.
More than two dozen Turks, some of them civilians, have been killed in cross-border rebel attacks in the past several weeks, and the powerful Turkish military which, unlike the government, has long been pressing for action, is fanning public anger.
Along Turkey's border with Iraq on Wednesday, Gen. Ilker Basbug, commander of the Turkish land forces, told villagers in Besagac that the killing of 12 Turks in late September by Kurdish rebels was "a crime against humanity," according to Turkey's official Anatolian News Agency.
"We share your grief," he said.

And providing the laugh of the day is the quote from Bully Boy in the article, "We are making it very clear to Turkey that we don't think it is in their interests to send troops into Iraq. There's a better way to deal with the issue than having the Turks send massive troops into the country." Funny on so many levels including (a) the US begged (and bribed) the Turkish government to get on board Bully Boy's illegal war before it started and (b) the Bully Boy knew no "better way" in 2003 than to "send massive troops into the country" but now he wants to make like he's Ben Harper.

More laughs can be found in attempts to cover Bully Boy's plea for 'peace' such as in the first half of Sheldon Alberts' (CanWest News Service) opening sentence: "George W. Bush, the U.S. President, appealed to Turkish leaders to abandon emerging plans to invade northern Iraq, hoping to forestall a military incursion that could bring chaos to the region . . ." Now Bully Boy wants people to abandon plans to invade? Now he's worried about bringing chaos to the region?

Of course not. Alex Spillius' "US looks for alternative supply links to Iraq" (Telegraph of London, noted by James in Brighton) explains what's really going on:

The United States is looking for alternative ways to supply its troops in Iraq in case Turkey closes its borders in protest at a perceived snub by Washington.
A Pentagon official said: "There is planning going on," adding that there would be "serious operational impacts" if the Turks chose to obstruct US equipment.
The US fears that the Turks could cut access to Incirclik air base, through which it sends materiel for Iraq and Afghanistan, after Congressmen accused the Ottoman Empire, the forerunner of modern Turkey, of the genocide of Armenians in 1915.

Tomorrow is the second Iraq Moratorium day. Every third Friday of the month is designated Iraq Moratorium and Mia notes Bill Simpich's "Iraq Moratorium, Friday, Oct 19 - TROOPS OUT NOW! SUPPORT LT. WATADA!" (East Bay Indymedia):

At least thirty Iraq Moratorium events will be held throughout the Bay Area on Friday, October 19, the second event of the nationwide monthly campaign to end the war in Iraq. A signature event for the Iraq Moratorium nationally this month is solidarity with Lt. Ehren Watada, who is facing a second trial in Tacoma, Washington for refusing to fight in the Iraq war. On October 19, federal judge Benjamin Settle will be determining if Lt. Watada must endure a second trial in the next few weeks, or whether double jeopardy may bar his case from going any further. Between 5-6 pm, Jack Hirschman, poet laureate of San Francisco, will be reading poetry in front of Sen. Feinstein's office at Post and Market (right near Montgomery BART). Members of the Watada Support Committee will also be addressing Lt. Watada's latest battle for freedom and to stop this illegal war. At 6 pm, Latinos Contra La Guerra will be conducting a candlelight vigil at the 24th Street BART station. On El Camino Real, between 3-5 pm, there will be a procession of vehicles-cars, hybrids, electric vehicles, bicycles-traveling the length of the Peninsula, starting from Burlingame in the north and San Jose in the south, to symbolize the unity of local communities in the call to bring the troops home now. In Berkeley, between 2-4 pm, seniors and others will gather on the corners of the busy intersection at University and Acton to protest, distribute arm bands and antiwar information. 100-200 participated last month. The eventual goal is to line the length of University Ave. from the Bay to the University of California. Nationwide, organizers expect more than a hundred Iraq Moratorium events in more than twenty states. ( The entire list of local events is on the calendar of

Finally, Al Jazeera notes:

Blackwater USA, whose security forces were involved in the fatal shooting of civilians in Iraq last month, will leave the country once its contract to escort US diplomats expires in May, US officials say.
But the company will not be fired, the officials said following a state department review of private firms providing such services in Iraq.

Denied a market. Don't be surprised if that's all the mercenary company faces in terms of anything resembling punishment. An ineffective Congress and the fact that Jeremy Scahill can only do so much (that's not a slap at Scahill, that is noting how apaethetic many in 'independent media' have been towards the issue) means Blackwater will probably move onto other more lucrative pastures with much of its press created image intact.

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