Saturday, April 24, 2021
Earlier this month, the press was lamenting an attack on a base in Iraq. Interesting. We're used to seeing attacks on US-bases and bases with US forces on it. This was the month that also saw claims of an attack on an Israeli base in Iraq. But this was a Turkish base. Why does Turkey have a base in Iraq? It's not at the invitation of the Iraqi people.
Turkey has announced a twin air-and-ground offensive against a Kurdish insurgency in northern Iraq that has been outlawed by Ankara.
The Defense Ministry said the operations, Claw-Lightning and Claw-Thunder, began on Friday and continued throughout the night.
Ankaran Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said some 460 Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) targets had been destroyed by ground fire and 60 others by air strikes in the Metina and Avasin-Basyan regions.
A source with the Iraqi security forces told Sputnik that by Saturday afternoon the Turkish operation had spread across much of the border area.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
How many Kurds have been killed? Does anyone bother to track that?
The Turkish government has been labeling the Kurds killed as terrorists. Which we all know is not the case. Farmers, villagers, that's who keeps getting killed. But even if we take the Turkish government at their questionable word, how many 'terrorists' have they killed? Does anyone care?
Does anyone care about the Kurds? Do we have to see a free Palestinian state before we can have people notice the targeting of the Kurds that has gone on for decades now? Can we ever get honest about the grotesque persecution of the Kurds living in Turkey?
Apparently, the Kurds -- globally -- are to be robbed of not only a Kurdish homeland but also of basic dignity.
While everyone was fretting over al Qaeda in Iraq, we talked about what was coming -- ISIS. It hadn't emerged yet but anyone with a basic understanding of how one action creates another could see what was coming down the line. If anyone wants to bother to try to look down the road right now, they'd see that the Kurds cannot be denied repeatedly. A climate is being created in which the only response will be revenge. Those who actually have the power to defuse the situation should be doing something about it. Instead, however, they attack the Kurds. They act as though a non-binding referendum among the Kurdish people in Iraq is some sort of terrorist action in need of condemnation. They do this while they repeatedly ignore the ongoing suffering and persecution of the Kurds throughout the Middle East.
At MILITARY.COM, Bonnie Christian weighs in on Joe Biden's remarks about the Afghanistan War:
That's all to the good, but it raises a question the president didn't answer: What about the other wars?
The war in Afghanistan is not our only "forever war," to use Biden's favored phrase. It is the longest of Washington's ongoing military interventions in the greater Middle East, but it is only one among many, and the logic of Biden's speech, applied to those other conflicts, should lead to their conclusions, too.
Consider Iraq. Biden argued that the initial invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 had a just cause and the support of key U.S. allies. The same cannot be said of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Longtime U.S. allies like France opposed the war from the start, and we've known for years that its premise -- protecting Americans from Saddam Hussein's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction and punishing his regime for its likewise nonexistent links to al-Qaida -- was not just. It couldn't be just, because it was built on untruths. If Biden thinks the war in Afghanistan had a legitimate beginning and yet should end, shouldn't he want to end the illegitimate war in Iraq even more?
Biden's other arguments are apt for Iraq as well.
"I flew to Afghanistan" on a fact-finding mission in 2008, he said. "What I saw on that trip reinforced my conviction that only the Afghans have the right and responsibility to lead their country, and that more and endless American military force could not create or sustain a durable Afghan government."
Do Iraqis not have that same right of self-determination? Is there some reason to think, 18 years on, that U.S. meddling has been a successful nation-building tool in Iraq?
Similarly, Biden decried "the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence," thinking we'll get a better outcome than before. Isn't that exactly what we do in Iraq, where U.S. boots on the ground have numbered as many as 170,000 and as few as the current 2,500? Or the administration's acknowledgment (not explicit in Biden's speech, but emphasized by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan a few days later) that there are no "guarantees about what will happen inside the country" after the U.S. occupation ends.
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