“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Turkish army wants to press the Kurds.

(hattip dr and trish)
A bomb ripped through the cafeteria of Iraq's parliament at lunchtime on Thursday. It was meant to send a message that no institution, no armed real estate and no Iraqi government can protect an ordinary Iraqi. It also is obvious that it was meant to force the Iraqis to question the purpose of America being in Iraq.

An ordinary Iraqi would have to ask himself,” If America cannot protect legislators in the Green Zone, what can they do?"

A moment may soon arrive where it is every man for himself. Nothing would please al-Queda or Iran more. After four years of war and broken dreams, there is a declining US support and little enthusiasm for more of the same. It is difficult to come up with a scenario where more force can be brought to bear in Iraq from any additional US troops or any likely coalition.

Nowhere could be more volatile than in the north with the Kurds and Turkey. The Kurds may very well have decided that this may be their one opportunity to have their own state. The Turks object.

Turkish army demands incursion into Iraq
By Selcan Hacaoglu in Ankara The Independent
Published: 13 April 2007

Turkey's military chief asked the government yesterday to approve an incursion into Iraq, increasing pressure on the US and Iraq to fight Kurdish guerrillas.

But military action was likely to be used only as a last resort: it would strain ties with Washington and could spark a mutiny from Kurdish lawmakers within Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's own party ahead of elections in November, analysts said.

"An operation into Iraq is necessary," General Yasar Buyukanit said, adding that his forces were fighting more than 2,000 guerrillas in the border region operating from within Turkey.

Ankara has been battling separatist Kurdish rebels in southeastern Turkey since 1984. The Turkish military recently reinforced its troops in the predominantly Kurdish southeast.

Turkey is aware of the consequences a military incursion into Iraq could have.

"There is no way that our American friends would welcome such a move by Turkey," said Ilter Turan, of Istanbul's Bilgi University. "The idea is to persuade the Americans to address the problem more urgently than they have been."

In Washington, the State Department said Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried had expressed US concerns directly to Turkish authorities.

"The way we suggest it be dealt with is to have the Iraqis and Turkish governments working together to try to eliminate this threat," spokesman Sean McCormack said.

Ankara fears Iraqi Kurds are seeking an independent Kurdish state that could encourage separatist Kurds inside Turkey. Relations with Iraqi Kurds deteriorated further this week when Masoud Barzani, leader of the autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq, said Iraqi Kurds would retaliate for any Turkish interference by stirring up trouble in Turkey's southeast.

On Monday, Ankara demanded action against the Iraq-based guerrillas, vowing to do the job itself if Iraq was not able to. Turkey is a key trade partner of Iraqi Kurds and it could shut down the Habur border and stop electricity supplies to try and force the Iraqi Kurds into action.


  1. I bring forward a comment from DR on a previous post:

    desert rat said...
    Well what will the combatant command do if the Turks come a callin'?

    ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey's military asked the government Thursday to approve attacks on Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, signaling growing frustration over a lack of action against the guerrillas by Iraqi and U.S. forces.

    Such action could put an overstretched U.S. military in the middle of a fight between two crucial partners, the Turks and the Iraqi Kurds, and Washington urged Turkish restraint. A recent surge in Kurdish attacks in southeastern Turkey has increased the pressure on Turkey's military to act.

    "An operation into Iraq is necessary," Gen. Yasar Buyukanit told reporters.

    Buyukanit said the military already has launched operations against separatists in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeastern region bordering Iraq.

    "Our aim is to prevent them from taking positions in the region with the coming of spring," he said, adding the rebels generally intensify attacks as melting snow opens the mountain passes.

    Recent clashes have killed 10 soldiers and 29 guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, Buyukanit said.

    His call steps up pressure on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to take a harder line against Kurdish guerrillas and their leaders in northern Iraq. There is strong public support for such a move, but the possibility of high casualties could make the government nervous ahead of elections that must be held by November.

    If Erdogan's government does ask parliament to approve an incursion, a key consequence would be strained ties with Washington — which fears an offensive would provoke a fierce reaction from Kurdish groups in Iraq that are key allies of U.S. forces.

    The United States also sees Turkey as a crucial ally, strategically straddling Europe and the Middle East. But some Turks question just how strong their ties should be with Washington if it refuses to side with them against the rebels.

    Even if the Bush administration decided to act strongly against the Kurdish rebels in the mountains near the frontier, U.S. forces are already stretched thin by the battle against insurgents in central Iraq.

    Assistant Secretary of State Dan Fried spoke with Turkish Ambassador Nabi Sensoy and urged Turkey to show restraint in responding to attacks, a senior State Department official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.

    State Department spokesman Sean McCormack earlier acknowledged the legitimacy of Turkey's concerns about the Kurdish militants, but said the Turkish and Iraqi governments should to resolve the problem together.

    "Turkey faces a real threat from the PKK," he said. "It's a terrorist organization. It has killed innocent Turkish citizens. It has killed Turkish military. And it's a problem that needs to be dealt with."

    Our Kurdish friends, well, they will not shut the terrorists down, the US will not shut them down, who else is there, but the Turks.
    They do have a "Right" to take preemptive action.

    Massoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdish autonomous region in Iraq, said recently that Iraqi Kurds would retaliate for any Turkish interference in northern Iraq by stirring up trouble in Turkey's southeast.

    Turkey demanded Monday in a note to the Iraqi ambassador that Iraq take immediate action against the guerrillas. Turkey has previously asserted its right to stage a cross-border offensive if Iraqi officials fail to clamp down on the guerrillas.

    Turkey staged several incursions into Iraq in the early 1990s with forces as large as 50,000 troops. But each time the rebels made a comeback after most of the Turkish soldiers withdrew, leaving behind only about 2,000 soldiers to monitor rebel activities.

    Buyukanit predicted victory in the fight against the rebels if the military is authorized to move into Iraq.

    "If the authority is given to us, we'll do this kind of operation and we'll be successful," he said.

    The military says up to 3,800 rebels are based just across the border in Iraq and that up to 2,300 operate inside Turkey.

    "The PKK has huge freedom of movement in Iraq," Buyukanit said. "It has spread its roots in Iraq."

    Kurdish terrorists, as critical to Turkey as aQ is to the US, maybe more so.

    Who we gonna call?

    Thu Apr 12, 07:14:00 PM EDT

  2. Trish Responded:

    trish said...
    "Essentially the West is at war with Islamist Jihadists—namely Al Qaeda and groups like Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, and nations that support them, specifically Iran and Syria."

    Saying it doesn't make it so.

    "Without a clearly defined enemy, the U.S. military has been unable to develop an appropriate strategy."

    Interminable nation building masquerading as war in the midst of a hopeless and violent unraveling isn't an appropriate strategy?

    GWB, please call your office.

    Thu Apr 12, 07:25:00 PM EDT

  3. A French academic prevented from leaving Iran for more than two months after he photographed a religious festival will be allowed to return home, the French foreign minister said yesterday.


    Iran has arrested 90 members of a shadowy Sunni militant group known as Jundallah accused of attacks in a volatile area on the border with Pakistan and Afghanistan, a press report said yesterday.


    Mohseni Ejeie said his ministry’s agents were also closely monitoring the activities of militant groups in the southwestern province of Khuzestan which borders Iraq and is home to a substantial Arab minority.

    Allowed to Leave Iran

  4. Of course you press the Kurds, dispense with the whey, and enjoy the Turkey!

  5. Hadn't read Trish's comment:
    I left out the Hash.

  6. "Violent Extremism"
    Trish has gone PC.

    Look out for Violent Extremist Quakers and Mormons:
    They're Everywhere!
    ...none dare utter the "I" word.

  7. (best to see things as they are, as Trish says)

  8. Iran and Syria have yet to get Trish's message, of course, since they commit acts of war against US daily.

  9. Global Struggle Persisting Over Time


  10. OT:
    "Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson also spoke on Thursday afternoon outside CBS' offices and called for Imus' firing.

    "This is not the first time this has happened on this show," he said, and spoke of previous Imus comments that Jackson characterized as racist and sexist.

    "'Three strikes you're out' ought to apply to this position," he said"
    ...unless you happen to be Jesse, or one of the annointed, none of whom could care less about the Duke players whose lives were turned upside down for a year.
    Jesse participated in that high tech lynching, but I am not holding my breath waiting for him or any other of the elites that were so ready with the noose to appologize to THOSE victims.
    These few WORDS being much more hurtful than that year from Hell resulting from those legal ACTIONS.

  11. On the PC, Trish, I was refering to your "Violent Extremism" in place of (violent) Islamic Extremism, which is what it is.
    Is that so hard to understand?

  12. It's still violent Islamic Extremism, even if we bend over for every outrage.

  13. The article referred to what it is, and that not calling it what it is is one of the failures of the CIC.

  14. Never again, that would be, since we did have our few high moments.
    And if it IS never again, we're in deep deep do-do.

  15. New Jersey governor critically injured in motorcade crash.
    ...on his way to take part in the little morality play of the Imus episode.

    A good coach would have taught the girls not to be bothered by such a little man.
    Instead she shows them how to get on Ophra as victims.

  16. Let me count the ways...
    Then came the Decider.

  17. ONE of the ways:
    "Corzine, a Democrat, gave up his seat in the U.S. Senate to become governor in 2006.

    He succeeded former Gov. James E. McGreevey, who resigned after saying he had an extramarital affair with a man."

  18. Them democracies in Iraq and Afhanistan are a real threat to Iran. the minds of some.
    As if everything is going according to the original plan.

  19. Is that a reason to keep inviting the al Sauds to dinner? No.

    Sort of like the brilliant strategy of Imus appearing befor Sharpton. The fox went into the hen house and the hen ate the fox. Whoda thunk it?

  20. The discussion points to the FACT this is a regional problem AND a global problem.

    Iraq will never be settled as long as the West refuses to address "you name it" nation within the ME.

    El Jorge wants a comprehensive solution to some things, but apparently not on the GWOT.

  21. I said within the "ME". It's really, "any Muslim" nation.

    We are at war with Islam, BTW. Only because the "moderates" are seemingly non-existent.

  22. No, I don't have a comprehensive plan, because I'm not the Commander-In-Chief.

    I do realize we need one however.

    To think of Iraq as a nation "to be settled" in a singular sense is wrong, in my opinion.

    This goes along with the concept of this being a regional problem, and a global problem.

    There's a lot of smart people up there in D.C. Trish, and I understand they're smarter than I am, however,I think their emphasis "up there" has become purely economic and political.

    We need fighters!

  23. El Jorge wants a WAR CZAR.

    Ok, where's our group that fights aQ on the web?

    Where's our group that conducts a massive PR campaign throughout the ME and the World supporting our efforts and bashing the enemy?

    Where's our Homeland Security when it comes to allowing Wahhabist clerics immigration to America and setting up cells combating moderate Muslims?

    Where's the administration's efforts against C.A.I.R. and other groups? Why are they apparently friends with such groups?

    ... with time and effort all sorts of questions can be raised to form a "comprehensive plan" against world terrorism. You and I are trying earn a living everyday so it's not really our job. Where's the administration on all this?

    Will his War Czar be doing this? Why hasn't the CIA and all the various groups been coordinating this? And, if they have, they're doing a bad job?

  24. IMO, the Admninistration never understood the mess they were getting involved with in Iraq. They never accurately defined their enemy. Had they done so, they would not have handed them a modern communication system ( cell phones), which I believe were directly or indirectly involved with most US military injuries and deaths. We may have been naive in Viet Nam, but we never handed the VC and NVA a state of the art communication system.

  25. It goes back to pure incompetence, doesn't it, Deuce?

    "They just don't get it!"

  26.'re proving my point, Trish!

  27. Tiger
    No, it's not incompetence, it's been the "Plan".

    Decision after decision play the same way, along the same course, continuing the trends.

    That is not happenstance. That is not incompetence. Not the actions of a "ship of fools". Mr Cheney, Mr Powell and General Franks knew the deal, Mr Cheney pounded the Clinnton administration for not defining victory in Bosnia.
    A small operation when compared to Iraq or the the violent police struggle against those that disagree with modern mores.

    Mr Bush defined the Strategy, back in '02, but then abandoned it for "Nation Building" in Iraq. Which is to bad, but that became the Mission. Still, without a benchmarked description of what victory would look like.

    Now we know, Victory is the situation in Basra. Success has been defined, it's Basra. Mr Bush, Mr Cheney and Ms Rice all agree.
    Basra sets the Standard of Success.

    Let's go along with Mr Yon, on a drive through Basra with the 5 Platoon.

    At least the Brits arm their squaddies with nonlethal weapons, to be used in situations where the RoEs make lethal force illegal.

  28. A plan to what end, DR?

    To lose? ....

  29. sorry guys... have to run

    have a good one!

  30. The Goal of the Plan?
    A secure Saudi Arabia.

    The Armed Forces Journal has an interestin story:

    Beyond the surge
    An Iraq plan should be in place now for what comes next

    "Strategists have long agreed with Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower: "Plans are nothing; planning is everything." ...

    All strategies flow from objectives and the context of a given situation. In Iraq, our objectives are likely to continue in the same vein as President Bush's: a unified Iraq that can govern, defend and sustain itself, and ultimately become an ally in the war on terrorism. Standing in the way of our efforts is a high level of sectarian violence, a multifaceted insurgency and rampant lawlessness.
    Planners might consider a number of alternative strategies. More surge? If the surge is successful, it should be maintained as long as we can man it. My estimates suggest that the surge can be manned and maintained with some difficulty for up to 24 months. But it might not survive that long.

    The surge can succeed militarily but fail politically. Our allies may not deliver on their promises, or sectarian reconciliation may not take place. The surge may even succeed on the ground but too slowly to stem the tide of U.S. domestic politics. Opponents of the surge will also be able to cite declining military readiness as a point in their favor.
    Full Iraqization? As the surge ages or unravels, our planners might want to craft an option that puts more weight on the Iraqis and gradually reduces U.S. force levels. This option would move U.S. combat forces out of cities and feature the steady buildup of Iraqi forces. The U.S. would abandon offensive counterinsurgency operations and shift its main effort to equipping and advising Iraqi forces, while also maintaining maneuver units to protect those advisers or prevent the Iraqi regime from suffering serious defeats.

    To succeed, this plan would require a force of about 32,000 troops in Iraq, as well as a regional stability force of 35,000 troops in Kuwait. Along with regional air and naval assets, forces in Iraq would be divided into an advisory element of 10,000 officers, NCOs and civilians to train and advise Iraqi military and police forces; an in-country protection and support force of three mobile brigades (roughly 15,000 troops) to serve as in extremis combat force and as a second line of U.S. protection for advisers and reconstruction teams; a 2,000-soldier Special Forces element to combat foreign terrorists in Iraq; and a 5,000-person headquarters, logistics and air-support element. ..."

    An end game very similar to what I advocated, for a number of years now.
    Read more for yourself.

  31. doug wrote:

    "It's still violent Islamic Extremism, even if we bend over for every outrage."

    But the problem, the operative word if you will, is not Islam but rather the actions, the violent extremism - terrorism that we are concerned with. Do we really want to ignore any act simply because it wasn't done by a Muslim? McVeigh was not Muslim, but he still was a terrorist. Similarly the Kurds are not running Terrorist operations into Turkey because the are Muslims but rather because they are Kurds fighting to create Kurdistan.

    re plans: The Bush admin. had tons of plans and they chose which ones they were to execute - unfortunately they were short sighted, ill informed, and poorly executed. Can't win doing it that way fer sure. I don't think the would have 'won' even if they executed the plans better. Most everyone wants out now but they are scared of the blow back. The finger trap continues to tighten.

  32. So... DR, you're saying it's to secure our enemy, Saudi Arabia, the nexus and initiator of all this terror..

    Makes no sense at all.

    What it really means, assuming it's true, is securing our oil supply.

    I suppose it's correct then to speak of G.W. as ; "money trumps everything".

  33. It appears that way, tiger.

    Whether it makes sense, that's another subject entirely.

    The costs & benefits of the "Clash of Civilizations" were weighed. It was decided that the Sauds would remain in place and others offered as a substitute target of US retribution.

    That most of the major players in US politics are subsidized by the Sauds plays a major part in that continuing decision making process.

    Remember that both Dr Kissinger and George Mitchell were to co-Chair the 9-11 Commission, but neither would divulge their client lists, so as to ascertain conflicts of interest, since the Sauds were on both.

  34. Kinda makes ya feel like you're living in Babylon, doesn't it?

  35. "My other comments were in response to an exerpt of Doug's from frontpagemag. To assert that we are "essentially at war" with Iran, Syria, Hezbollah when we manifestly are not isn't really helpful in terms of defining the conflict. I know a lot of people wish we were at war with them (I'm not one of them) but this can't be framed by anyone's wishful thinking."

    Few people I think would look at current American actions towards those three and say that the United States itself is a war vis a vis them.

    Nonetheless, a large portion of the leadership in Iran, at the very least, has been at war with the United States since 1979. It becomes a semantic question whether a country is "at war" if it does not acknowledge that its enemies are with it.

  36. IOW, Cutler, just because they habitually commit acts of war against us, that does not mean they are "at war" against us, SEE?
    ...I just don't know Trish:
    Perhaps a vacation from
    "up there?"