Friday, a prison break in Kirkuk saw 19 prisoners on the loose. Today brings news of arrests -- of 22 arrests. 19 break free and 22 are arrested? No. None of the prisoners have been arrested. Reuters explains the 22 arrests are of police officers and guards with the prison who are being blamed for the escape (the prisoners took of "the ventilator in a bathroom and us[ed] blankets to escape through the opening"). AFP adds, "The prisoners were alleged Al Qaeda insurgents and fighters belonging to Ansar al Sunna, a Salafist group that has claimed several attacks against US and Iraqi security forces" and quotes Jamal Taher Bakr, Kirkuk Provincial Police Chief, stating that the police continue to search for the (still missing) 19 prisoners.
Terrorist is the catch-all used repeatedly and that, in ten years, the region will object to because it will have such a bad image. At that point, governments will complain about the term forgetting how quick they themselves were to repeatedly use it. Continuing that thought, Today's Zaman reported yesterday, "As Turkey paid its final respects to five special ops police officers who were killed in clashes with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Şırnak on Wednesday, security units killed 13 PKK terrorists and lost one of their own in the third day of clashes with the PKK in a forest bordering Bitlis and Siirt on Friday." The PKK is a group that fights for a Kurdish homeland. Their problems with Turkey are rooted in a century of oppression by the government and the promise of concessions in the last decade that did not come to pass. Kurds in Turkey continue to suffer. End the discrimination, you end the reason for the PKK to exist. Continue the discrimination and expect more reports like this one late today, "Turkish security forces have killed 15 female Kurdish militants in an operation in the south-east province of Bitlis, close to the border with Iraq." AP covers the death of the 15 women here. Mumtazer Turkone (Sunday's Zaman) has a very interesting column which opens:
The language of violence is a complicated language. To convince people, to bring people to an end it is normal to use a complicated language.
Because of this it is not correct to logically construe the given messages. Because most of the time the words that are being said are being used like a weapon to obtain an end. The government’s language that fights terror creates this complicated language’s symmetry as natural.
Northern Iraq borders Turkey. Jacques N. Couvas (IPS) covers Turkey from a variety of angles and we'll note the Iraq section of the analysis:
Turkey has become an indispensable ally for the United States, in part because of uncertainty over Iraq’s future following the departure of U.S. troops in December.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta held talks in Ankara the day after the troops’ withdrawal ceremony. A few weeks earlier, American drones stationed in Iraq had been transferred to the U.S. base at Incirlik, in southern Turkey.
"I suppose many more Turkey-based drones will be flying over Iraq in order to continue monitoring things," says Soli Ozel, a professor at Kadir Has University and expert on the Middle East.
In December, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal said Washington had proposed to Turkey to take over the influential role of training Iraqi military personnel, after the U.S. pullout.
"We will be considering it," confirmed Unal.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden also held meetings with Gul and Erdogan in December, and on March 13, CIA chief David Petraeus a last minute stop here to meet the PM and the director of the Turkish National Security Agency (MIT).
Similar activity by American high-ranking defence and intelligence officers had been observed last spring.
Al Rafidayn notes today that the PKK has issued a warning to the Turkish government stating that Turkey should not interfere in Syria. Kirmanj Gundi (Kurdish Aspect) offers an analysis of the longterm Kurdish struggle and we'll note this section on the US dealings with the Kurds:
Perhaps the most heartbreaking attempt for Kurdish freedom occurred in the Aylool Revolution, which started in September 1961 under the leadership of General Mustafa Barzanî and lasted until 1975. In 1975, an international conspiracy through the mediation of Henry Kissinger, the then Secretary of State took place in Algiers and is known in the Kurdish history as the “Algiers Agreement.” In reality, it should be known as “the Algiers Betrayal.” A few years before, in 1972, American administration had convinced the Kurdish leadership that America would assist them to achieve autonomy within the Iraqi state. However, three years later in Algiers, America breached its “honor” and betrayed the Kurds. In the agreement, Henry Kissinger, “the Master of Treachery,” brought the two adversaries, Iraq and Iran, to the negotiating table, and agreed to stop providing aid and pursuing the goal of Kurdish autonomy.
General Barzanî sent a desperate plea to Kissinger and asked him for the US aid. He stated, “Our movement and people are being destroyed in an unbelievable way with silence from everyone. We feel, Your Excellency, that the United States has a moral and political responsibility towards our people, who have committed themselves to your country’s policy. Mr. Secretary, we are anxiously awaiting your quick response.” Again, Barzani’s plea was ignored by the US officials, and no one replied. Additionally, Kissinger turned down repeated Kurdish requests for humanitarian aid for their thousands of refugees.
The American betrayal brought human catastrophe to the people of Kurdistan. The Kurdish Leadership under General Barzanî had put all its trust in America at the time and was looking up to America to shed the light of her democratic principles on the Kurds in the larger Middle East. Nonetheless, when Kissinger testified before the US Congress, he was asked about the sudden change in the US policy regarding the Kurdish abandonment, he callously replied “One should not confuse the business intelligence with missionary work.” Subsequently, in an Op Ed piece he wrote for the New York Times, Kissinger criticized American leaders that they were no longer giving Iraq “the attention it deserved.”
This duplicity and heartless act of American officials might never have surfaced if it were not for an investigation in 1975 by the U.S. Congress Select Committee on Intelligence, which was chaired by New York Democrat, Congressman Otis Pike. In his investigation, Congressman Pike concluded that neither Tehran nor Washington wanted the Kurds to prevail. He further concluded that the Kurds were never more than “a card to play.” A useful tool, which the US used to weaken Iraq’s “potential for international adventurism.” The Pike Committee also reported that “The Kurds were encouraged [deceived] to fight solely in order to undermine Iraq.” After the abandonment of the Kurds by the US, Barzanî revealed his view to the media outlets and said “We did not trust Shah of Iran, but we trusted America.” General Barzanî believed that America was “too great a power to betray a small people like the Kurds.”
In Iraq today, Al Mada reports that Kurdish MP Chuan Mohammed Taha has declared that the Dawa Party (of which Nouri al-Maliki is the leader) is in danger of isolating itself from the Iraqi political scene as it pursues actions that are autocratic. Iraq has an ongoing political crisis. Nouri's ignored it and insisted it can't be addressed (via a national conference) until after the Arab Summit. Prior to the Arab Summit, he stalled with a variety of other tricks. Iraqiya is talking of raising the political crisis at the Arab Summit. Xinhua reports that Nouri is now stating that the preparations committee will meet (again and again and again) in April. The issue that caused this political crisis? Nouri's refusal to abide by the Erbil Agreement. Xinhua explains:
Iraqi political blocs frequently accused Maliki of evading his commitments in implementing the terms of power-sharing deal that he earlier signed.
The deal, which also known as Arbil agreement, was brokered in November 2010 in Kurdistan region in northern of the country. It paved the way for forming Maliki's current government after the Iraqi political rivals ended their differences that lasted eight months following the parliamentary elections on March 7, 2011.
There been over five prep meetings already. Al Mada notes that the National Alliance issued a statement Saturday declaring that the process needs to be accelerated and that the national conference needs to take place soon. The statement notes that the alliance met on Thursday and Friday with Ibrahim al-Jaafari chairing the meeting and they feel Iraq is at risk while this issue remains unaddressed.
Last Saturday, the news was that a group once affiliated with Moqtada al-Sadr had released an American. Dar Addustour reports that the Promise Day Brigade insists that the American was a military corporal and not a contractor or private citizen. And in violence, Xinhua notes that 4 Iraqi soldiers and 1 police officer were killed in Baghdad Thursday in a Baghdad roadside bombing and that today a Falluja roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer and left two more injured, a Falluja home bombing targeted Awakening leader Shiekh Khaldoun Eliwi's home and which injured three members of his family and an armed assault in Baladrouz left 1 police officer shot dead outside his home.
Kat's "Kat's Korner: Carole's back catalogue" went up earlier this evening. She has another music piece that will go up Sunday morning.
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jacques n. couvas
the kurdish aspect