The Bush administration accused of supporting Kurdish rebels in Iraq and Iran
"I would like to say," New York based Turkish activist Eser Uzun Belding told PressTV's 'Middle East Today' on Saturday evening, "that President Bush has reiterated time over time that anybody who harbors terrorists, who supports terrorists, who feeds terrorists, who allows terrorists to operate; are my enemies. Now are the politicians in the United States getting mixed up," she asked, "seeing themselves as their own enemies?"
She was referring to the apparent contradictions in Washington's stated position regarding its War on Terror that were being raised during a discussion among experts brought together via satellite from the United States, Great Britain and Turkey.
Earlier on Saturday, the commander of U.S. forces in Northern Iraq had bluntly told journalists that he was doing nothing, and indeed had no plans to curb the activities of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels operating in the area. In fact, the general said, his forces were not even monitoring the known PKK bases.
The PKK is on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations, so one would expect a robust response from the U.S. military, especially when PKK fighters were launching regular cross border attacks on Turkey , a NATO ally of the United States and a key element in Washington's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Is Washington's inaction the sort of response and attitude one would expect from a friend and an ally?
"No it isn't," said David Hungerford, an author and Iraqi analyst from New Jersey, "so that raises the question of what sort of alliance are the United States and Turkey looking at."
Read the complete article here on Ohmynews International
Sunday, 28 October 2007
The Bush administration accused of supporting Kurdish rebels in Iraq and Iran
Posted by Chris Gelken at 21:14
Thursday, 25 October 2007
There have been a number of developments since I filed this story with Ohmynews a couple of days ago...
The PKK declared a unilateral ceasefire - but it was rejected by Ankara. They said since the PKK was nothing more than a terrorist organization with no official status under international law, then they were in no position to offer or declare a ceasefire. Ankara was only interested in complete surrender. Obviously, the talking is over.
As if to prove that, Turkish jets and troops have been making incursions into Northern Iraq.. penetrating as much as 10 kilometers in some places. Not a major offensive by any means, but a possible precursor of what is to come.
Turkey losing patience
Premier Erdogan warns Ankara will 'pay any price' to crush Kurdish PKK
Turkey has warned that it is on the verge of launching military operations across its border with Northern Iraq to crush Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) rebels who are using the region as a base.
Despite calls for patience and restraint from Washington and Ankara's NATO allies in Europe, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has declared, "Whatever needs to be done will be done. We will pay any price."
With thousands of troops supported by heavy armor and helicopters poised to surge across the border on a search and destroy mission, Erdogan appears to be offering one last chance for Washington and Baghdad to eliminate the rebels, or else.
In an interview with a Turkish television news station on Friday, Erdogan indicated that rather than independent and unilateral action, Ankara was willing to mount joint operations with Baghdad. He said Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had confirmed that if Baghdad could not resolve the issue by itself, then it would be possible for Turkey and Iraq jointly to conduct the military operations against the PKK.
Read the complete article here on Ohmynews International.
Posted by Chris Gelken at 06:42
Friday, 19 October 2007
Armenian genocide bill and Ankara's plans for cross border raids into Iraq puts strain on relationship
The Turkish parliament on Wednesday endorsed a government request to send the country's armed forces into Northern Iraq to hunt down and destroy Kurdish PKK rebels who are said to be taking shelter there.
The vote brought a swift response from Baghdad who warned Ankara to respect Iraqi sovereignty. Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih said, "Unilateral action will mean irreparable damage to bilateral relations and will have bad consequences for Iraq, bad consequences for Turkey, and bad consequences for the region."
First published by Ohmynews International on Thursday 18th October.
U.S. President George Bush also issued a stern warning to Ankara.
"We are making it very clear to Turkey that we don't think it is in their interests to send troops into Iraq."
Bush, whose approval rating is currently at just 24 percent, the lowest for any president in modern American history, did not immediately make it clear what consequences Turkey may face in the event it did launch an incursion. And given the circumstances, his options may be severely limited.
The U.S. campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan depend heavily on logistical support flown in from the Incirilik air base in Turkey -- all on the grace and favor of the Turkish government. The loss of these facilities would be a major blow to U.S. operations in the region -- especially if Ankara withdrew its permissions with little or no notice.
Ankara is possibly angry enough to do just that, and they are probably acutely aware of the fact that at this point in time, Washington needs them more than they need Washington. Are the Turks planning to hijack Washington’s vulnerability to inveigle some sort of deal from the U.S. in return for tempering their outrage over the Armenian issue, and allowing the Iraqi security forces another chance to deal with the PKK rebels lurking in their territory?
The passage last week of a resolution by a U.S. Congressional panel describing the World War I killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks as genocide has outraged Ankara.
The resolution is set to go to the House next week. Bush is urging congress not to pass the Armenian genocide resolution in an effort to limit further damage to relations with NATO partner Turkey.
Perhaps realizing just how serious the situation could become, many House Democrats have dropped their support for the genocide resolution. Democrat John Murtha bluntly assessed the situation, saying the United States was in no position to be thinking of moral values at such a crucial time.
Analysts say despite receiving the green light for military action from parliament, there have been no indications that Turkey plans to immediately use the some 60,000 troops it has massed on its borders. Turkish officials have repeatedly said that military action would be a last resort, but say years of diplomacy have yielded no results and patience is wearing thin.
But to be perfectly frank, Ankara has never had much patience with the PKK and before the Second Gulf War in 2003, Turkey launched frequent cross border raids. Thousands died in these incursions.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community, but while their activities against the Ankara government have always been considered acts of terror, their Iraqi Kurd counterparts were hailed as freedom fighters against Saddam Hussein.
In the years between the first and second Gulf Wars, the northern Kurdish region of Iraq came under the protection of a NATO no-fly zone. Allied aircraft patrolled the area keeping it clear of Saddam's warplanes that had previously launched devastating attacks on the local Kurd population.
Interestingly, this same protective umbrella did nothing to curb the frequent incursions of the Turkish military to attack PKK rebels in Iraqi territory.
Turkey of course, is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and consequently an ally of the United States.
But what will happen when Turkish armor rolls across the border into a sovereign Iraq?
Iraq has made it very clear, it will tolerate no Turkish incursion. But is the Iraqi army strong enough to stand up to the mighty Turkish military? Unlikely.
So would Baghdad insist on the occupying coalition forces to act with them, or on their behalf, to ensure the integrity of Iraqi sovereignty?
A failure on the part of Washington to heed a call for help from the Baghdad government would destroy what little credibility the coalition has left.
On the front lines is the Korean detachment of about 600 troops at Camp Zaytun near Irbil. They are there primarily to help in reconstruction, but Seoul must now be questioning the safety of its soldiers in the event full scale military operations begin in the area -- and weighing the consequences of maintaining the commitments of its close alliance with the United States.
Posted by Chris Gelken at 07:44
Thursday, 18 October 2007
Sometimes you just have to jump on the bus, train or plane and "get away" for a few days.
We did just that, heading down to the fabled city once referred to as "half the world" in central Iran, the city of mosques and bazaars.. Esfahan.
Magnificent mosques, spectacular bridges - the city is justifiably one of Iran's biggest tourist destinations.
It was great to get away - and not touch a computer keyboard for three whole days.
But lots of work to catch up with now, that's the penalty for slacking off I guess.
Pictures and video to come!
Posted by Chris Gelken at 06:41
Wednesday, 10 October 2007
“PressTV correspondent says he was beaten and threatened by U.S. officers”
Iran’s foreign ministry has condemned the arrest and beating of a PressTV correspondent by U.S. forces in Kabul. The ministry said the Americans have been trying to prevent reporting on the realities of their failure in Afghanistan.
PressTV correspondent Fayez Khurshid was abducted on Sunday evening and held in detention at a military facility for more than 18 hours. He said he was severely beaten during his ordeal and that he was warned worse was to come if he continued working for the English language television network based in Tehran.
Khurshid later told the network he had been approached by foreign troops who questioned him about who he worked for and whether he was a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The IRGC was recently added to the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.
The Afghan journalist said the soldiers grabbed him and tried to force him into a Humvee and was shocked with a taser when he resisted. Unconscious, Khurshid was driven to a military base where he said American officers began a violent interrogation.
“They put a disc into a player and made me watch the reports I have made from Afghanistan,” a visibly bruised and shaken Khurshid told PressTV. “While they did this, they gave me electric shocks and beat me around the head.”
In one of his recent reports, Khurshid had said that foreign forces were largely responsible for the unrest and instability in Afghanistan.
He said the interrogators warned him against continuing his work for PressTV and threatened that his family would also suffer the consequences if he ignored their warning.
Khurshid said he repeatedly told the officers he was a freelance journalist with no political ties to any foreign country.
Since the U.S. led invasion of Iraq in 2003 there have been dozens of reports of journalists being harassed, attacked and even killed by coalition forces. According to sources in Kabul, however, this is the first documented case of a journalist being abducted by the U.S. military in Afghanistan.
Tehran based PressTV was launched in July this year.
Sphere: Related Content
Posted by Chris Gelken at 02:07
Monday, 8 October 2007
It was a scene that certainly lifted the spirits and totally unexpected.
Posted by Chris Gelken at 14:47
This article was first published by Ohmynews International on Sunday 7th October.
The above article is based on Saturday 6th edition of "Middle East Today" on PressTV hosted by Chris Gelken
Posted by Chris Gelken at 12:53
Saturday, 6 October 2007
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has revealed that private security company, Blackwater
Under the new rules, a State Department agent will accompany the company on all missions and convoys undertaken in
Iraqi National Security Advisor Muwaffaq al-Rubaie says this is a welcome move and says he is happy the Secretary of State moved so quickly.
Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that will provide for prosecutions of any criminal activity committed by
This still leaves the question of where Blackwater employees would be prosecuted if a current FBI investigation determines there is a case to be answered.
Al-Rubaie, speaking in
"It is a huge sovereignty issue," he told the Center for Strategic and International Studies, "we need to sort this out and sort it out quickly."
But with the Coalition Provisional Authority Order 17 still in place, a measure that gives the
Posted by Chris Gelken at 09:58
The U.S. State Department says a team from the FBI will be sent to Iraq to investigate the shooting deaths of Iraqi civilians by the security contractor Blackwater USA. Read more in this Ohmynews International article by Angelique van Engelen:
Meanwhile, Cody Lyon reveals that Blackwater security guards earn as much as $1,222 per day, far more than their U.S. military counterparts. Follow the money trail...
Posted by Chris Gelken at 01:23
Thursday, 4 October 2007
This article first published by Ohmynews International
The White House has said the bill would put undue pressure on the U.S. military and the FBI which would have to investigate the cases. Officials have already gone on record as saying that if the bill makes it to President Bush's desk, he will veto it.
Posted by Chris Gelken at 12:37