Kurdish revolt against U.S. occupation?

As I understand it, it is fairly well established that the Kurds in Iraq and Turkey want an independent state. Saddam has crushed numerous revolts, and the Turks fought (still fighting?) a pretty nasty war against the PKK. Where do we (America & Britain) fit into this?

It seems like for the Kurds ousting Saddam is the best move for two reasons. First, they’ll be rid of an oppressive mass-murderer. The second reason, however, is that they’ll be afforded a decidedly less nasty opponent against whom they can revolt. If I was a Kurd I would be weighing three things:
[ul][li]The U.S. has overwhelming military power.[/li][li]The U.S. will generally be unwilling to undertake the sort of brutal suppression used by Saddam, or even the Turks.[/li][li]The U.S. populace won’t have the stomach for a sustained guerilla war of independence by me and my folk.[/ul][/li]
Basically, I’d see my organized forces in the field being crushed even more quickly than those that faced Saddam, so I’d back off on that and open a guerilla war killing U.S. & British soldiers and blaming it on splinter groups. Since neither the U.S. nor Britain has a large contingency of civilians living in the Kurdish areas–thus making the situation quite unlike Northern Ireland–I’d bank on being able to break the morale of the voting publics at home and obtain my own state.

So my question for discussion is this: Do you think that the Kurds will peacefully and sincerely join a multi-ethnic governing coalition, or do you think that they’ll revolt for secession, or do you think it’ll be something else.

Turkey is going to invade Iraq and sieze the northern oil fields before we can, thus kicking off a war with the Iraqi Kurds. I don’t think Turkey is an ally in this thing. Hope I’m wrong.

Of course they are an ally! We have the receipt!


That was funny. Thanks for the laugh.

Beagle is right. Turkey will attack the north, they are already massing on the border, if not to get the oil fields then to get the Kurds. Bush does not understand the Pandora’s Box he is opening up.

Hmm. I guess since this is a Republican admin, we can assume they won’t lose the receipt?

Do you have any more evidence than that?

Not that you’re asking me, nor is this ‘evidence’, but I found these:

Article 1

Article 2 (about halfway down)

Actually, the second article does seem to state it as fact. At least the ‘massing troops’ part.

And from here

"In fact, Turkish forces are already present in large numbers in the Kurdish-held enclave in Northern Iraq. Since 1997 an estimated 5,000 Turkish soldiers have occupied a fifteen-kilometer-deep strip along Turkey’s border with Iraq. The Turkish army provides officers for a peacekeeping force between territories held by the Democratic Party of Kurdistan (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). Along the border strip, Turkish forces are also setting up camps into which they hope to channel possible mass flows of Iraqi civilians fleeing the conflict, in order to prevent them crossing into Turkey. A much larger Turkish force is massing on the Turkish side of the frontier with Northern Iraq, and, according to Newsweek of February 24, there are plans to deploy 60,000 to 80,000 Turkish troops up to 170 miles into Northern Iraq if Kurdish forces attempt to annex oil-rich Kirkuk. If such a deployment of Turkish troops were to provoke armed resistance from KDP and PUK forces, the resulting conflict could be protracted. "

Turkey is massing troops to stabilize the border, and not to attack the Kurds in Iraq. Or so they say. They are worried about their territorial integrity.

Don’t be too sure that the Bush administration ‘doesn’t know what Pandora’s Box they are opening.’ I think they’re at least as smart as the members of the Straight Dope board. For all we know, they’ve already got a backroom agreement with Turkey regarding this.

Thanks, I’ll check those out.

Hitchens on Turkey

I’m not sure which is worse, bribing them or having failed to bribe them.

Just by coincidence.

I don’t think so. The US will roce them out one way or another very soon. even if they try, the new PM seems a lot more friendly to the US, and if they do go in, mass murder rebellious Kurds, and then leave, we can screw them over the EU. They stand to lose much.

Well the Kurdish question is just one of the bloody great can of worms that Bush is going to open. The Kurds have been oppressed by every single foreign power that they have ever encountered, but since the last Gulf War, the Iraqi Kurds have enjoyed a high level of autonomy. There is no way in hell that they’re going to let the US, Britain or especially the Turks take this away from them without a damned good fight. And quite frankly, I don’t blame them.

You should find this interesting: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/03/10/wtac210.xml&sSheet=/news/2003/03/10/ixnewstop.html

These guys have read Che Guevara and understood him. Good on them I hope they give everyone a bloody nose.

Ten thousand battle hardened Marxists willing to kill civilians for a nationalistic cause. Yeah, that’s going to be interesting. In “The Jungle is Neutral” Chapman describes the hold communism takes on the mind. He said that teenage couples on the bank of a moon lit stream would rather discuss Marx than make out.

You’d better admire them from afar, as you might fetch a nice ransom. Is that last sentence surreal or what? “…still list it as a terrorist organisation, despite the name change a year ago…” Is that journalistic humor?

Also, don’t you think that starting a terror campaign against Turkey is going to cause them to lose their autonomy, by giving the Turkish soldiers a good reason to fight them?

I still await the magical resolution to all of this where Iraq keeps its territiorial integrity after a war, the Kurds maintain functional autonomy, the radical M-L Kurds Zorro mentions remain peaceful, and Turkey protects its borders without being allowed to make a land grab into northern Iraq. Oh, and nobody gets hurt except Saddam and his closest associates.

That quote was from Zorro’s article not Zorro the poster.

Would that this were true! John Pilger, a British anti-war author and filmmaker, has documented the fact that the US and Britain have suspended air patrols into the “no-fly” zones over northern Iraq in order to let the Turks go in and bomb the Kurds.

From an article in March 2001:

Believe it or not, the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government has a website in English – flawless English – at www.krg.org. From what I’ve read, they haven’t said anything about the topic of the OP – whether they would resist U.S. occupation. However, they definitely and clearly have resolved not to allow any Turkish troops into territory they control.

If a northern front does open in this war, the Iraqi Kurds will be in the same position as the Finns in WWII – fighting BOTH sides just to retain their independence. We can’t expect them to welcome American troops as “liberators” if the Turks are marching alongside them and bringing their own agenda along.

(There are also websites for the American Kurdish Information Network at www.kurdistan.org; and the Faili (Iranian) Kurds, at home.bip.net/faili.kurd; and there’s a Kurdish Links Directory at www.mathaba.net/www/kurdistan/index.shtml.)

The Turks claim a legitimate interest in northern Iraq to prevent the Iraqi Kurds from declaring independence and inspiring the Turkish Kurds; and, perhaps, based on historical claims to the Ottoman “vilayet” of Mosul (but then, ALL Iraq was Ottoman territory until WWI). They also claim an interest in protecting the ethnic Turkmens (national brothers, or at least cousins, of the Turks) from Arab and Kurdish oppression alike. By sheer coincidence, the Turkmen regions at issue include Kirkuk and its surrounding oilfields.

It get even better/worse. There is yet another ethnic minority with national aspirations in northern Iraq: The Assyrians. They claim descent from the dominant nation of the ancient Assyrian Empire. (I don’t know whether this claim is valid; maybe they just CALL themselves Assyrians.) They are Christians, and claim they were Christians before the Roman Empire was converted. They don’t speak ancient Assyrian – that language is extinct – but they do speak a non-Arabic Semitic language, Aramaic – the same language Jesus spoke, or at least a dialect of it. In fact, the Assyrians claim their Bible, the “Peshitta,” is the most authentic version because it’s written in the original Aramaic.

The Assyrians don’t get on with the Kurds because the territory the Kurds think of as “Kurdistan” also includes the territory the Assyrians think of as “Assyria.” They have English-language websites, too: Atour, The State of Assyria, at www.atour.com; Nineveh On Line, at www.nineveh.com; Assyria Online, at www.aina.org/aol; and the Assyrian International News Agency, at www.aina.org.

Things are seldom simple, and this is clearly not one that is.

Another potential conflict that nobody, so far as I know, has mentioned yet is Khuzestan, or Arabistan, the southwestern Iranian province which is inhabited by Arab Shiites, and which borders the Arab Shiite southeastern region of Iraq. I’ve never heard of the Khuzestanis expressing any discontent with Iranian rule – but if the Iraqi Shiites seize the opportunity to break away from Baghdad, who knows, the Khuzestanis might see a chance of breaking away from Tehran, merging with Shiite Iraq, and forming one big Arabistan around the mouths of the Two Rivers, with its capital at Basra. By the same token, the Iranians might get the idea that any Shiite territory on their borders is theirs by right, regardless of the people’s ethnicity.

If I were in Bush’s shoes – well, I would have tried to avoid this war in the first place, but if I were bent on it, I would NOT try to open a northern front; it just creates even more chances for chaos than we’re already facing. A one-front war will be harder for us but safer in the long run. That way, we can occupy the Basra and Baghdad regions, we can treat the Kurds as “allies” and more or less leave them alone, and the Turks will have less of an excuse to cross the border (in strength, I mean; according to earlier posts on this thread the Turks have a few thousand troops in northern Iraq already).

The very best possible outcome of this war, in my view, would be for it to somehow produce an independent Kurdistan encompassing the Iraqi, Turkish AND Iranian Kurds. The new Kurdistan would be economically viable if it held Kirkuk and its oil; the Turkmens and Assyrians might be given independent microstates of their own, or might be satisfied with federal autonomy within Kurdistan. Kurdistan would stop being an intractable problem and become a useful and easily defensible buffer state between all its fractious neighbors. It’s all mountains, and mountains, once you control them, make good defenses, at least against invasion by ground troops; just ask the Swiss. Meanwhile, Turkey, relieved of both its southeastern provinces and its endlessly vexing Kurdish question, would have suffered a major national humiliation, but at the same time gained the luxury of drastically improving its human-rights record, opening the door to that long-coveted EU membership and a real, effective voice in the European Parliament. And if things remain quiet for just a few years, even Kurdistan just might maybe possibly be considered for EU membership!

HOW the above scenario could result is a mystery to me.

Worst-case scenario: Both the U.S. and Turkey invade Iraq at the same time. For reasons discussed above, this touches off a multi-sided war between Iraq (what’s left of it), the Americans and British, the Turks, the Kurds, the Turkmens, the Assyrians, and maybe even the Iraqi Shiites, the Iranian Khuzestanis, and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Saudi Arabians will sit the whole thing out but it’s all going to make them very, very nervous, and it’s not hard to imagine events that would lead to us invading them, too, in four or five years.

Since the newly elected prime minister of Turkey openly favors the northern-front policy, I think we can see which of these outcomes is the likeliest.

All I can say is, I’m glad I don’t live there.