U.S. sponsoring Kurdish guerrilla attacks inside Iran

Story here.

  1. Why do this? We have enough tension with Iran as it is.

  2. Is this simply turnabout? Payback for Iran encouraging/funding insurgents in Iraq?

  3. Won’t anything that encourages Kurdish nationalism alienate our allies the Turks?

  4. Does this news make it more or less credible that the Bush Admin is spoiling for war with Iran?

  5. What will the Kurds get out of all this?

If it is payback, it’ll have to go a good bit further than this before our grievances with the mullahs are evened out.

Given the numberless times Iran has stirred up trouble in the Middle East by exploiting religious divides and encouraging radicalism, a bit of this medicine ought to be very distasteful to them. Too bad. Their treatment of religious and ethnic minorities is shameful, and would invite opposition even without any assistance from outside.

Remember, Persians only make up barely over half of the entire country. And while the regime is concerned about the Kurds, they’re positively terrified of the Azeri Turks, who are a huge minority of about 25%. The Azeris get a lot of support in their struggle from irredentist Azeris in Azerbaijan, which is a pretty strong American ally as well.

All of this feeds the paranoia of a regime that started out paranoid. As much pressure as they’re under, I can’t fathom why the mullahs act the way that they do.

Waitaminnit – what Azeri struggle? I know Iran is a multinational state. And I know about the Kurdish separatists, and the Arabs of Khuzestan/Arabistan/al-Ahwaz. But this is the first I’ve heard of any active Azeri separatism in Iran.

We have previously debated the possibility that Iran might break up along ethnocultural lines. Tamerlane made a persuasive case that a sense of “Iranian” national identity is surprisingly well-developed, even among the Azeri, whom Tamerlane calls “the co-dominant Turkish minority.”

Actually, it appears that as BG noted, the Iranian Azeris aren’t putting up much of a separatist struggle:

Maybe because we overthrew their democratically-elected government and installed a puppet dictator so that our oil companies could reap massive profits? Their might be some residual mistrust.

Doh. There should be a there there.

Don’t want to go too strong on speculation as there’s bound to be several contributing factors behind the scenes, but the fact is there is no Iraq anymore, it’s gone, finished, history.

So the game moves forward into shaping the post-Iraq environment, with, as always, both Imperial eyes focused on getting as close to controlling the oil as as humanly possible.

One imagines the USA is shopping for deals with potential ‘friends’ in the new post-Iraq environment, the Kurds will be keen to protect as much of their real estate as possible, it’s a marriage made in hell.

The Assyrians probably paid the Philistines to stir up trouble in Israel. All this is is enabling some group to do stuff they want to do anyway. I don’t see it as retribution, but just as good old asymmetric warfare. We make big protestations of shock and horror when the Iranians do it to us, and they do the same when we do it to them.

If this were the greatest of Bush’s sins, I might support the guy.

Do you have any sources for this that aren’t ‘Democracy Now!’ and a lone independent reporter making assumptions/claims based on what some guy on the street told him?

(Note, I’m not saying this isn’t happening, I’m just not willing to blindly trust the words of one reporter who, in his interview, reveals some very blatant biases. In all honesty I’d be disappointed if the United States weren’t taking advantage of Kurdish unrest in Iran.)

Well, the UK Sunday Telegraph was reporting on basically the same phenomenon back in February:

Even to the extent of our funding operations that are widely acknowledged to be terrorist activities? Some of these folks look pretty unsavory, and I’m troubled by the potential future consequences of being associated with them. Isn’t this basically the same kind of amoral opportunism that earlier had us lining up behind Saddam Hussein in Iraq and fundamentalist Islamist extremists in Afghanistan? Neither of those alliances worked out all that well in the long run, IIRC.

The Azeri struggle isn’t separatist yet. However, there are tensions there, and it is undoubtedly true that the regime fears the Azeri tensions may get out of hand.

In May of last year, a publication published a cartoon of an Azeri speaking cockroach. This touched off massive riots in Iranian Azerbaijan that left the government quite shaken.

I missed the part about Reese Erlich reporting on the actual raids. Did I skim too fast?

Just for purposes of clarification, neither Mr. Moto, Martin Hyde, nor any of the other conservatives stumbling upon this thread would actually support or defend the United States becoming a state sponsor of terror, would you?

My machine is mute, so I could not listen to the story.

  1. Possibly the Kurds don’t need encouragement
  2. Possibly not a turnabout - just the same old story
  3. The Turks would be well hacked off if they thought the USA was supporting a breakup of Turkey - personally I think the Kurds would be better off keeping quiet, if they play their cards right then they’ll be on the border of the EC
  4. I’m not sure that Bush is spoiling for war with Iran, it would not be a war, more a replay of S. Lebanon - Iran in a mess could be … messy
  5. The Kurds think they have shed loads of oil (so one told me) so I can see Iranian Kurds quite liking the idea of cutting loose from Iran, ditto the Syrian Kurds - the Turkish Kurds would be better off in the EC, but they might not have figured that out.

The USA should have learned its lesson from Afghanistan: ‘My enemy’s enemy is often far nastier than my enemy’

Personally I would give no active support, and quietly point out that disrupting anyone is seldom a good idea.

Heavens no. But the fact that a few Kurds or Baluchis or even Azeris in Iran engage in terror does not change the fact that others in those communities who do not do so have legitimate grievances against the Iranian regime. And given our interests in the region and human rights concerns, it would be helpful to us and to them to have contacts with these communities and give them moral and material support.

But, the ultimate tendency of their “legitimate grievances” is secession. And we know a state almost never gives up any part of its national territory without a fight. Do we really want to encourage them down that path?

Last year, the reports coming out of Pakistan indicated that they were practically fighting a civil war with the Baluchis. Now, we’re going to provide support to Baluchi militants in Iran? The most likely outcome of this is that the Baluchis will take whatever support we give them and use it to fight both the Iranians and the Pakistanis.

Or to phrase this a little differently, given our history of disastrous attempts to intervene in the region, we shouldn’t have an iota of confidence that giving moral and material support for these people won’t go epically wrong.

Not at all. And just to be sure, they’ve asked the Attorney General for a clarification on exactly what constitutes “terrorism.”

I think they worked out splendidly. Saddam turned on us, which was unfortunate, but easily dealt with and with little blood shed in the first Persian Gulf War, our error at the time (and by “our” I mean the West as a whole because the U.S. was not alone or even remotely so in funding Saddam) was in not removing him from power right then, when we had an overwhelming military presence, support of the entire world, and even raging dissent within his own country working against him. The argument has long been that we never could have gotten international support for actually toppling him, but I’m honestly unsure of that assessment to this very day and am not at all sure the elder Bush didn’t make an error in judgment by being too timid in forcing the matter.

But back to the point, before he turned on us, he kept Iran busy throughout the 1980s, and weakened Iran considerably by forcing their involvement in an incredibly costly and brutal war.