Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Iranian-Turkish Offensive Against Iraqi Kurdistan "Imminent"

One of many controversial maps of Kurdistan.

DebkaFile claims that Turkey and Iran are coordinating a preemptive attack on Iraqi Kurdistan with the aim of crushing 5,000 Kurdish guerrillas said to be hiding out on their borders, inside Iraq. Both countries accuse the rebels of carrying out and supporting terrorist attacks inside Turkey and Iran respectively. According to DebkaFile, Iranian and Turkish troops have long been operating inside Iraq.

Tensions recently escalated with the publication of a "semi-official" American military map that labelled territory inside Turkey as well as Armenia as "Kurdistan." Both Ankara and Yerevan fear that the US may be giving tacit approval to plans by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani (who is also the head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) and Massoud Barzani, President of the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan in Iraq to "help themselves" to Turkish and Armenian territory in the event of imminent attack. Iran has been growing increasingly agitated about Kurdish cross-border raids into its territory.

DebkaFile's allegations seem rather fanciful at first glance. Turkey combining to fight an American ally with Iran? Armenia entering the war basically on the side of Turkey? But it is clear that American and Turkish interests do not coincide when it comes to the Kurds of Iraq. Furthermore, US-Turkish relations are a far cry from what they were before the invasion of Iraq. Combine that with the recent high-profile bombings in Turkish Kurdistan, and a precedent (according to the Turks) in Israel's actions against Hizbullah, which were conducted with US approval, and things begin to look more plausible, at least as far as Turkey is concerned.

ADDENDUM: I seem to have confused at least one of our readers - so just for the record, the map depicted above is NOT the "semi-official" map to which I refer in the post. As you can see, it is a French map that appeared in the Encyclopaedia Britannica in 1998.


Anonymous said...

Did you notice that the labels on the map you printed as "semi-official American military map" are in
French? Why would the American military
label its map in French? It says that it is from the
Encyclopedia America -- thus apparently an ethnographic rather than a political map of

Anonymous said...

P.S. Did you see that Ocalan, the imprisoned-
for-life leader of the PKK in Turkey was
reported in today's NYT as calling on the PKK
for an "unconditional ceasefire"?

Amos said...

Peggy - the map above is just a random map, NOT the "semi-official" map that I talked about in the post. I wouldn't mind having access to that one though.