Wednesday, June 6, 2007
My Enemy's Enemy Is Not My Friend's Friend
Whether or not the Turkish army actually crossed the border into Iraqi Kurdistan today, one question that the recent tension on the border raises is, Why hasn't the US used its influence among the Kurds to have the PKK bases closed? The answer seems straightforward enough. As an unnamed State Dept official told Laura Rozen, "America has a multiplicity of problems in Iraq, and the PKK are not killing Americans."
There's also the fact that the Kurds have expertly cultivated contacts with Turkey (they're heavily involved in Kurdish development projects), Iran, and Israel, in addition to the US. So as things stand in Iraq right now, America probably needs the Kurds more than the Kurds needs America.
But there's another potential explanation, one that Seymour Hersh alluded to in a New Yorker article last November. Because there's another Kurdish guerilla group, closely affiliated with the PKK, that uses northern Iraq as a base to launch attacks across the border. Not the border with Turkey. The border with Iran.
It's called PJAK, the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan, and it's made up of Iranian Kurds. And according to Hersh, the group has received training and support from both the US and Israel as part of the covert effort to destabilize the Iranian government.
As usual, Hersh's claims have been denied by the Israeli, American and Turkish governments. But it's something to consider when trying to make sense of why this whole problem wasn't resolved a long time ago.