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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Turkey and Al Qaeda break the Relative Peace in Kurdistan

On Friday, June 1, the Turkish military announced that plainclothes troops operating inside of northern Iraq were harassed by Kurdish forces in the city of Sulaymaniyah and that, as a result, the acts would receive a response "at the highest level" (Journal of Turkish Weekly, June 4).

The previous day, Turkey's chief of staff, General Yasar Buyukanit, confirmed that the Turkish military was prepared for an offensive in northern Iraq if it received orders to deploy (Journal of Turkish Weekly, June 4).

In response to the continued escalation, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates again cautioned Turkey against conducting military operations in northern Iraq: "We hope there would not be a unilateral military action across the border into Iraq." Separately, Turkish newspapers have criticized the U.S. military's monitoring of Turkish troop formations on the border.

According to a May 27 report in Turkey's Milliyet, columnist Fikret Bila claimed that "U.S. military personnel in Zaho [Iraq] are monitoring the reconnaissance flights of the Turkish military planes in helicopters." Bila pointed out that there are "serious reports that the United States used drones to gather information along the border and that the drones crossed the border into Turkey from time to time."

Turkish concerned over the operations of the U.S. military demonstrate their growing apprehension over the threat from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the possibility of the Kurdistan Regional Government attaining control over the thriving oil city of Kirkuk.

A New Yazidi Militia has been formed, the Angle Peackock Brigade in defensive response to Killings by Sunni Muslim Groups in Northern Iraq, effectively establishing local governmental countrol with the treatened use of force.

Source: Terrorism Focus is a publication of the Jamestown Foundation.

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