October 24, 2007

Kurd President To PKK: Your Time Is Over

The president of the Kurdish region in Iraq reversed himself today and abandoned the PKK. In a statement issued by his office, Massoud Barzani demanded an end to violence by the PKK and the cessation of the use of Iraqi territory as a base for operations against "neighboring countries":

The president of Iraq's northern Kurdish region on Wednesday urged the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) to end its more than two-decade armed struggle against Turkey.

"We call upon the PKK to eliminate violence and armed struggle as a mode of operation," said a sternly worded four-point statement issued by the office of Massud Barzani, president of the autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq.

"We do not accept in any way, based on our commitment to the Iraqi constitution, the use of Iraqi territories, including the territories of the Kurdistan region, as a base to threaten the security of neighbouring countries."

The statement, issued after Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Tuesday ordered a crackdown on PKK offices, said the Kurdish government opposed the use of violence as a "doctrine" and method to achieve political objectives.

Barzani has little choice in this matter -- as the US has undoubtedy explained to him. In the event of a Turkish invasion, the US will have no real desire to fight their NATO ally, especially since the Kurds of the PKK have done everything they can to provoke the action. The US wants the PKK shut down for good.

The alternative looks bleak for Kurdish autonomy. In the course of a Turkish invasion, the Iraqi central government would have to send troops to the Kurdish territories for defence as well as pacification of the PKK. That would almost certainly end the autonomous status of the Kurdish regions and touch off another flashpoint of Iraqi ethnic division. Even the threat of an invasion would force Maliki to send troops to the border, which Barzani and the Kurds would like to avoid.

Barzani said on Sunday that the Kurds would defend against the Turks and that the PKK leaders could not be surrendered. In the intervening three days, Barzani has had a change of heart. That may just be reality slapping him in the face -- the reality that the US will not defend Barzani as long as he acts as a defender of terrorism against the Turks.


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Comments (10)

Posted by The Drill SGT | October 24, 2007 8:11 AM

nice to see some rational thinking by somebody.

Posted by rbj | October 24, 2007 8:15 AM

Well Pelosi couldn't muck up things with Iraq & Turkey, via the Armenian genocide resolution. Maybe she got her friends the PKK (who are communists) to do the work for her.

/tongue in cheek.

Posted by mrlynn | October 24, 2007 8:54 AM

The Kurds should have had their own country decades ago, but history and arbitrary map-drawing have denied it to them.

That said, history once again militates against them. We and the Iraqis cannot afford a conflict with Turkey at this time.

However, there are pieces of Kurdistan in Syria and Iran, too. So here's a word to the PKK: Forget about Turkey and harrass the others. We won't object.

/Mr Lynn

Posted by Kendrick | October 24, 2007 9:07 AM

It's good to see Barzini make these demands, but what did the heads of the other 5 families of New York think about it?

Posted by M. Murcek | October 24, 2007 9:16 AM

The Kurds have a good thing going in a region where that's a rarity. They have lots of incentive to not let that be screwed up. I think a lot of observers here don't give them enough credit for understanding which side of the bread the jelly is on or of being sophisticated enough to handle the situation well. I think they will do better than many in Washington and the media expect with this issue, and this story is an example of that perhaps being true...

Posted by Mike M. | October 24, 2007 9:55 AM

I've really got to hand it to the man: in spite of all of the mistakes he's made to this point, it looks like President Bush really handled this one masterfully, in spite of the Democrat party's sickening attempt to escalate the instability and undermine all of the progress that has been made in Iraq in the last few months.

Nancy Pelsoi and the rest of her extreme left wing ilk in the Democrat party must be crying right now at this latest bit of good news.

Posted by El Hombre Malo | October 24, 2007 10:28 AM

The PKK is a communist terrorist group that targets both turkish military AND civilians. To suggest, even joking, that they should target some other country not allied with the USA is...sickening to say the least. A bomb in a civilian bus is a bomb in a civilian bus, no matter where the victims are from. No such thing as "good" terrorism should be contemplated.

Moreso, it would only become yet another excuse for those regimes to tighten their grip on the few civil liberties in those countries.

Posted by Sammt | October 24, 2007 10:43 AM

So the US caves into Turkey again? What do we get for it? Nothing! Some ally.

Posted by daytrader | October 24, 2007 1:10 PM

The PKK which is a relatively small group should be forced out and displaced to Turkey or Iran.

Why screw up the world for everyone else just because they have their panties in a bunch?

Posted by BB | October 24, 2007 4:52 PM

Time to kick some Communist rear-end! The Kurds should work with the Iraqi and US militaries to push the PKK north, and invite the Turks to come the other way. We are struggling to get Pakistan to cooperate in a similar pincher movement in Waziristan, so why not eliminate these PKK spoilers the same way? Iraq could not only reach accomodation with Turkey, they could make a friend, and they need such.

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