Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Iraq Round-up

To make up for my dearth of Iraq blogging as of late, here's a bunch of links for you all at once.

On Sunday, Kurdish rebels of the PKK crossed the border into Turkey to ambush Turkish troops, killing 12 and kidnapping 8. Predictably, this has provoked howls of outrage from Turkey and threats of retaliation, which has already approved raids into Kurdish Iraq to hunt down Kurdish fighters. The Iraiq government, fearing the worst, has offered to assist the Turks in shutting down PKK incursions. For its part the PKK has offered to negotiate a cease-fire with the Turks, an offer that has so far been turned down by Turkish authorities. In the meantime, Kurdish fighters of the PJAK-an offshoot of the PKK-are waging their own guerilla campaign against and inside of Iran prompting fears of a more general conflict in that region as well.

Casualties among American troops and Iraq civilians have dropped in Iraq, but officials in Iraq see a growing threat in the numerous and heavily armed Shiite militias. Fighting in Southern Iraq continues between rival Shiite factions. U.S. forces continue to rely heavily on airpower to battle militias in densely populated urban areas, and predictably, civilians die as a result.

UPDATE: In a sign of either stupidity or desperation, President Bush has offered to launch strikes against PKK rebels in Kurdistan. If you think it's probably a bad idea to enrage our only steadfast allies in Iraq by bombing fighters they are sympathetic to, join the club. The article points out that Bush administration officials are also pushing Kurdish authorities to restrain the PKK, a position that make considerably more sense.

Also, the Congressional Budget Office is reporting that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost $2.4 trillion over the next decade, including $705 billion in interest, reflecting the fact that most of the money used to fight the wars is borrowed. Iraq accounts for about 80% of that total, or around $1.9 trillion.

UPDATE II: In comments, a reader notes the odd position U.S. officials are in, having quietly sanctioned the PJAK raids into Iran while at the same time trying to stop PKK raids into Turkey. Odd indeed, when both groups are so closely related. One has to wonder what U.S. officials think the possible outcome can be of all this game-playing, after the incredible short-sightedness of condemning a group when it attacks our ally and (quietly) praising it when it attacks an enemy. More war seems to be the only natural outcome.


Anonymous said...

This is a fairly odd situation that we as a country have landed ourselves in. We've gone to Iraq under the premise of fighting terror and have now found ourselves helping shelter a terrorist organization in northern Iraq? Oh how this reminds me of our cosy relations with the Bin Laden boys back in the 1980s, the action that we're now kicking ourselves in the arse over. How is it that we continue to make the same mistakes over and over and over again.

Lets put things in prospective, the PKK in northern Iraq is a terrorist organization driven by a Marxist ideology. They are responsible for the deaths of more than 30,000 people in the past 20 years. 30,000 people, no that wasn't a typo. These guys make Bin Laden and his boys look like amatures when it comes to the ruthless murder of innocents.

So now we're basically asking Turkey which is a Nato ally, has troops fighting with us in Afghanistan, faught with us in Vietnam and North Korea to be patient while this terrorist organization continues its carnage?
These guys run across the boarder kill as many people as possible and then run back to Iraq. Once in Iraq they basically turn around and laugh like little kids crying "you can't touch me, you can't touch me." Meanwhile we're sitting at that border telling Turkey "don't come across or else."

What type of sick situation is this? We either clear out the terrorist ourselves or step aside or let the Turks do it for us.

This is a very upside down world we live in, everytime our politicians use the phrase "the war on terror" I feel like puking. Which war on terror? The one were we're protecting terrorists that attack our allies?

Xanthippas said...

Good comment. Indeed, the situation in Iraq has turned everything topsy-turvy. What our goal is in Iraq depends on who you ask and what specific situation you're referring to. Victory in such conditions? Eh, not so much.