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-----Original Message----- >From: Ali Abunimah [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Monday, April 03, 2000 11:31 AM April 3, 2000 Once again, Turkey has staged a massive military assault on Iraq in furtherance of its campaign to eradicate Kurdish identity from the face of the earth. This report in The Guardian (see below) is the only one I found in any major newspaper today. The American press remains silent on the repeated Turkish aggression against Iraq and the Kurds who live or seek refuge there from the Turkish army. The reasons for this are simple. Turkey is a close ally of the United States and Israel. Its appointed role is to act as a US military base on Iraq's northern flank, and to encircle the Arab world in alliance with Israel. In exchange, the United States supplies it with deadly weapons and pressures Europe to overlook Turkey's torture chambers. Its virulently nationalistic and ethnocentric state ideology is the backdrop for the suppression not only of any expression of their identity or culture by Turkey's twelve million Kurds, but of any overt expression of Islam, in a country that is overwhelmingly Muslim. In Turkey it is illegal to advocate a non-military "solution" to the Kurdish problem, and Turkey has just outlawed the last legal Kurdish party. The reason the media and the US government need to keep quiet about Turkey's repeated mini invasions of Iraq is because to mention them would interfere with the fictional pretext for the United States' own nefarious role in northern Iraq. Currently, the United States and its faithful servant Britain are bombarding northern Iraq on a nearly daily basis, killing Iraqis and destroying livestock and infrastructure. The stated reason for this is "enforcement" of the illegal "no fly zones," ostensibly to protect the Kurds from the deparadations of Saddam Hussein! How embarassing then that Turkey is allowed to freely commit atrocities against the Kurds in Iraq. How embarassing that a member of the brave and righteous NATO alliance, which went to war to save Kosovars from intolerance and ethnic cleansing, should be carrying out its own much more bloody campaign against the Kurds in an unseen corner of Asia minor. Hence you will not hear a squeak of protest from Washington or London. This is all too complicated for the US public to understand. Much easier to have good guys and bad guys. How ironic that the two countries that routinely threaten and attack their neighbors are not the so-called "rogue" states, but the two shining examples of US-armed "democracy," Israel and Turkey. Ali Abunimah email@example.com www.abunimah.org ********************************************************************** The Guardian (London), April 3, 2000 HEADLINE: Turks pursue Kurds inside northern Iraq BYLINE: Chris Morris in Ankara In what has become an annual event that marks the arrival of spring, thousands of Turkish troops have crossed the border into northern Iraq during the past few days to hunt down members of the rebel Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK). Military sources say that the troops, supported by American-made attack helicopters, are being deployed to prevent PKK infiltration into Turkey. Almost anywhere else in the world, thousands of heavily armed soldiers crossing an international border would be a big news. But this latest Turkish incursion into Iraq will be greeted with barely a murmur in the west, while condemnation from Baghdad and other Arab capitals is unlikely to have much effect. On Turkey's side, military sources say the latest operation was launched because evidence emerged that the PKK was re-establishing positions close to the border. For several days last week reports emerged of a big build-up of troops in south-eastern Turkey. Tanks and helicopters were on the move and some sources said mobile bridges had been constructed across the river that marks the border. Now the first wave of troops is reported to have advanced several miles into Iraqi territory. Northern Iraq has not been controlled by President Saddam Hussein's government in Baghdad since the end of the Gulf war in 1991. With US and British planes providing protection from the air, the mountainous north is run by two rival Iraqi Kurdish groups, one of which is allied with the Turks in their fight against the PKK. Every year when the snow begins to melt, the Turkish military launches a cross-border operation to try to hit the PKK in its isolated camps. Nato's second largest army has become adept at fighting a guerrilla war in the mountains. The difference this year is that the PKK's jailed leader, Abdullah Ocalan, has declared a ceasefire from his prison cell and it appears that the majority of his followers have agreed to give up the armed struggle against the Turkish state. There are thought to be only about 300 PKK fighters still on Turkish soil. The rest have withdrawn into northern Iraq and Iran, where Ankara still considers their presence a threat. The Turkish military has said it will continue to pursue the war until the last member of the PKK has been killed or has decided to surrender. Negotiation, the generals stress, is out of the question. As long as Iraq remains a pariah state in the west, Turkey's army is unlikely to come under pressure to end its cross-border activities. It already maintains a semi-permanent military presence in northern Iraq, while insisting that it strongly supports Iraq's territorial integrity. It is this power vacuum in the region, Turkish analysts say, which has forced Ankara to act. That in turn is another reminder of the failings of western policy in effecting change in Iraq. Nearly a decade after President Saddam ordered the invasion of Kuwait, he is still in power in Baghdad - isolated but defiant - while Iraq's people, Arabs and Kurds alike, suffer under the dictatorship. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi