• Kurd Fighter in Iraq Destroys U.S.-Made Turkish Helo With Russian-Model Missile

    May 16, 2016 // 18 Comments »


    There’s no past in Washington. There is no sense that actions taken today will exist past today, even though in reality they often echo for decades.

    A video making the rounds online shows a fighter from a Kurdish group known as Kurdish Workers Party, or, more commonly, the PKK. Using what appears to be a Russian model shoulder fired portable air-to-air missile, the fighter is shooting down a Turkish military, American-made Cobra attack helicopter.

    The attack helo is made by the United States and supplied to NATO ally Turkey;

    The missile is of Russian design but could have been made and could have come from nearly anywhere in Eastern Europe. However, such weapons were flooded into the Middle East after the United States deposed Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. Many such weapons simply entered the black market when the Libyan army more or less dissolved, but many appear to have been sent into the Middle East by the CIA as part of a broader anti-ISIS strategy. Some say one of the functions of the CIA station overrun in Benghazi was to a facilitate that process.

    Turkey and the United States official consider the PKK a terrorist organization. Many believe the U.S. surreptitiously supplies the PKK weapons in their fight against Islamic State. Turkey is a U.S. NATO ally who is engaged in active war against PKK.

    The U.S. supports Kurdish forces in their fight against Islamic State. The PKK is not officially supported, but anyone who believes the PKK and the “official” Kurdish militias are not coordinated parts of the same entity is either a fool or works in Washington. Or both; the Venn diagram is nearly two overlapping circles.

    The primary motivator of the Kurdish fight against ISIS is to push them out of northern Iraq and Syria to help create an independent nation of Kurdistan. This would dissolve the nation now known as Iraq. One of America’s stated goals is to preserve a unified Iraq.

    The U.S. supports NATO ally Turkey in a fight against Islamic State. Turkey allows the U.S. to fly drones and other aircraft out of its air bases, but also allows ISIS foreign fighters to cross its border into Syria one way, and ISIS oil to reach market by crossing the border the other way.

    If you can understand how all of those things can be simultaneously both true acts of the foreign policy of the United States, you are not a fool and you do not work in Washington. Or both; the Venn diagram is nearly two overlapping circles.

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in Iraq, Libya, Military

    It’s Complicated: Turkey, Iraq, Iran, NATO and the Sleeping US

    October 20, 2011 // Comments Off on It’s Complicated: Turkey, Iraq, Iran, NATO and the Sleeping US

    Relationships are sooooo complicated, especially when third parties get involved.

    So, like the US invaded Iraq in 2003, for freedom, and occupied the country, spent trillions on the war and reconstruction, killed 100,000 Iraqis and saw 4478 Americans give their lives… for something.

    The US did not, however, resolve any of Iraq’s relationship “issues:” the relationship between Sunnis and Shias, the relationship between Arabs and Kurds, the relationship between urban and rural areas, the relationship between those who have oil underfoot and those who don’t, the relationship between Iraq and Iran and the relationship between the Kurds and Turkey. Despite eight years and all those lives, we just did not have time to get into all those things.

    It goes w-a-y back in time, like before the Junior High Homecoming, that Turkey and the Kurds have not been friends. The Kurds are not even really part of anything to do with Iraq, but had most of their turf lopped into “Iraq” when the British, obviously drunk off their asses on absinthe and rum cocktails, hilariously drew modern Iraq’s borders. So, some Kurd stuff ended up inside the lines, and some outside the lines. Neither the Kurds nor the Turks can agree where those lines are. Same thing for the other end of Kurd-land, the border with Iran.

    So, like any other unresolved serious relationship problem, the Kurds and the Turks and the Iranians are fighting it out.

    In fact, Turkish warplanes attacked 60 targets in the mountains and border areas of northern Iraq early Thursday in pursuit of Kurdish separatist rebels suspected of responsibility a day earlier for a deadly quadruple bombing ambush on a military convoy in southeast Turkey.

    The Kurdish officials in northern Iraq also reported shelling of a Kurdish village near the border with Iran, apparently by Iranian forces, which have periodically lobbed artillery at suspected members of an Iranian Kurdish rebel group known as PJAK that operates in Iran but takes refuge in Iraq.

    It was unclear whether the Iranian shelling was a coincidence (hah hah, right).

    The Turkish airstrikes followed an artillery barrage by Turkish forces targeting 168 locations in northern Iraq, which military intelligence showed were frequented by the P.K.K., or Kurdistan Workers Party, the insurgent group that has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey’s southeast since the early 1980s.

    A bunch of people got killed, nothing was determined and more fighting will take place. Turkey is a NATO member, covered under NATO’s collective defense. That means “if a NATO Ally is the victim of an armed attack, each and every other member of the Alliance will consider this act of violence as an armed attack against all members and will take the actions it deems necessary to assist the Ally attacked.” It’s even on NATO’s website ya’ll!

    Despite this, I can’t find any public statement from NATO about Turk v. Kurd.

    Despite the US being a NATO member, and caretaker of Iraq for the past eight years (officially recognized by the UN as an occupying power even!), I can’t find any public statement from the US about Turk v. Kurd.

    Despite Obama blathering about US strategic interests in the Middle East, I can’t find any public statement from him about Turk v. Kurd.

    Despite the US having the World’s Largest Embassy (c) in Baghdad, and a very large Consulate in Kurdistan (they must have heard, right?), I can’t find any public statement about Turk v. Kurd. Not even on da’ Twitter.

    If NATO member Germany, say, attacked Outer Carjackistan today over some ancient border dispute, you’d think maybe the US would comment.

    So Obama, what does matter any more in Iraq? What’s left that we care about? Bases? Trainers? Military sales?

    Seems a damn shame to have spent 4478 young American lives for this. And man, wasn’t Jennifer Aniston freaking hot on “Friends”?

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in Iraq, Libya, Military