Sunday, June 20, 2004

Geopolitics Edition: Israel Allying with Kurds?

As reported by Sy Hersh in the New Yorker Magazine and reviewed in depth by the Guardian (Uk) Israel is amazingly building a power base in northern Iraq by allying with the Kurds.

Israeli military and intelligence operatives are active in Kurdish areas of Iran, Syria and Iraq, providing training for commando units and running covert operations that could further destabilise the entire region, according to a report in the New Yorker magazine.
The article was written by Seymour Hersh, the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who exposed the abuse scandal in Abu Ghraib. It is sourced primarily to unnamed former and current intelligence officials in Israel, the United States and Turkey.

Israel's aims, according to Hersh, are to build up the Kurdish military strength in order to offset the strength of the Shia militias and to create a base in Iran from which they can spy on Iran's suspected nuclear-making facilities.

"Israel has always supported the Kurds in a Machiavellian way - a balance against Saddam," one former Israeli intelligence officer told the New Yorker. "It's Realpolitik. By aligning with the Kurds Israel gains eyes and ears in Iran, Iraq and Syria. The critical question is 'What will the behaviour of Iran be if there is an independent Kurdistan with close ties to Israel? Iran does not want an Israeli land-based aircraft carrier on its border."

By supporting Kurdish separatists, Israel also risks alienating its Turkish ally and undermining attempts to create a stable Iraq. "If you end up with a divided Iraq it will bring more blood, tears and pain to the Middle East and you will be blamed," a senior Turkish official told Mr Hersh.

When you add this story to the rather depressing review of the process in Iraq by the WaPo it does start to sound as if we really are fucked over there. We've completely lost control of the process.
Over the course of the occupation, the relationship between the CPA and the military has become increasingly bitter. Soldiers have blamed civilians for not rebuilding the country quickly enough to pacify the country, while civilians have blamed the military for not providing enough security to enable the rebuilding. In the view of several senior officials here, a shortage of U.S. troops allowed the security situation to spiral out of control last year. Attacks on U.S.-led forces and foreign civilians now average more than 40 a day, a threefold increase since January. Assassinations of Iraqi political leaders and debilitating sabotage of the country's oil and electricity infrastructure now occur routinely.

Now connect that to Spencer Ackerman on Talking Points Memo dicussing his inside information on the disposition of the Arabs toward such Kurdish maneuvering.
Not long ago I spoke with a prominent Iraqi leader, and he left me with little doubt that the Kurds were deeply unsatisfied with U.S. intransigence over resolving Kurdish displacement in the north--something Saddam engineered preceding and during his genocide of the Kurds in 1987-8--and that Iraqi Arabs would not react to unilateral Kurdish actions passively. Such a situation appears, dangerously, to be coming to pass...

The Iraq Civil War scenario warned about at the beginning of the year by the CIA seems to have be playing out at vicious speed. What is the point of being pro-Israel if we can't restrain their machinations in Iraq? This is how Blair must feel, bending over to take it for the USA but not being able to influence us from our most self-destructive actions later. I'm sorry about the individual Iraqis getting smeared by us accidentally in Iraq, but the more weighty issue is our complete lack of control over the foreign interference in Iraq which seems to be driving it to be torn to little itty pieces. Iran, Turkey, Israel, Syria and for all we know Saudi Arabia are acting to destabilize Iraq. We don't have a fair shake at making Iraq work, because there are people actively agitating in such a way to cause the situation to meltdown.
First of all, it is clearly a plan on the part of outsiders to come in this country and spark civil war, create sectarian violence, try to expose fissures in this society.

That was Kimmit, but unfortunately he wasn't talking about Israel etc. but he was talking about the object of obsession of the United States this mythical "fox" Zarqawi. Why are they obsessing about Zarqawi when arms, money, and foreign advisers from Iraq, Syria, and Israel (as well as Turkey probably) are pouring into the country daily? It seems self-destructively obsessive. No matter how ingeninuous Zarqawi must be he is not the real problem that will cause this country to blow up in our faces.

It's often been said that one of the preconditions for the civil strife and guerilla war situation was that neighboring countries acted to support various movement elements and so perpetuate the war. The defenders of Iraq action stated that no such corresponding actor existed. Well as it turns out Iran, Syria, Turkey and - our supposed friend Israel - is in fact playing this role! What other assertions by the blinded proponents of regional pro-democracy dominoe theory will fall next? I'm not sure but any realistic assessment of the situation despite the lack of attention lately seems to have gotten significantly worse with this news. If the Bush Administration plans to try to keep the lid on a low intensity guerilla war until past the November election I believe we may end up cooking a bona fide Vietnam situation here.


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