We all remember Thanksgiving 2003. Bush flew to Iraq and stayed there for under three hours. Several hundred U.S. troops were rousted out of bed before 5:30 A.M, so that our President could be photographed serving a "Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner" to them at 6:00 AM. (I thought Dinner was traditionally served later in the day, but I'm not a Bush) And of course the Turkey was plastic.
Yesterday our Ambassador tried to deceive the Turkish nation. Zaman, a paper from Istanbul, quoted Khalizad asserting that the Iraqi Kurds "are not in pursuit of Independence... they want to remain a part of Federal Iraq.
This is simply a lie. As yesterdays NY Times reported, the Kurds essentially have their own military. The Turkish Daily News put it this way: "Kurdish leaders have placed more than 10,000 of their militia members into Iraqi army divisions to seize the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and to secure the borders of an independent Kurdistan." First they will try for a peaceful takeover. They are increasing their percentage of the population in that area, so that when the referendum of 2007 takes place, the region will vote to join the independent "Iraqi Kurdistan." But make no mistake: as the Kurdish soldier said "Kirkuk will be ours."
The three provinces now under Kurdish control already issue their own Visas, like any other sovereign nation. They have made a contract with a Norwegian firm to drill for new oil. They did not consult with Baghdad about this. Iraq's new constitution allows any group of 3 provinces to keep all the proceeds from any new oil finds. They need not share a penny with the "central" government. The Kurds are not going to take any orders from Baghdad ever again.
What they will do is to increase their support for terrorist attacks by the PKK in Turkey. [The PKK is the "Kurdish Workers Party", and is internationally recognized as a terrorist group. It is at least supported by the Iraqi Kurdistan government, and some Turks say that they are in fact one and the same.] As the Washington Times of 12/28 said, since we invaded Iraq, Kurdish "terrorists have crossed the border from Northern Iraq [Kurdistan] into Turkey, and so far have killed more than 260 innocent Turkish citizens." This does not include the many Turkish soldiers who have been murdered, like the 3 killed near the city of Van on Thursday. The Hurriyet paper quoted Turkish General Buyukanit referring to "PKK linked unrest" saying "Pay close attention to these incidents, analyze them well. The police and security forces were attacked, and firearms were used against them. There were injuries. I recommend that we all be very clear on what is happening."
The Turks are putting up with the terrorist attacks because we have troops in Iraq and have asked them to stand down. They cannot permit killing on their soil for ever, and I see no alternative to a war between Turkey and Kurdistan, sometime in 2008.
The Turkish General is right, while our Ambassador lies. Remember the time when you could be proud of our State Department?