Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Cross Border Raids Turned Into Pretext for War on Iran

     What actually happened?  According to three sources, probably based on the reports of Iraqi villagers near Erbil, Turkish Special Forces raided Iraq, chasing after the PKK.  The PKK is a secessionist/terrorist group in SE Turkey.  Turkey was America's #1 arms client during the 1990s, and the PKK was their #1 target.

     According to the PKK's press outfit, Firat, and the Iraqi government, it was Iranian forces which invaded Iraq.  Other people say it was a combination of Turkish and Iranian efforts.

     Zaman Online quotes a PUK official

"Iranian bombardment was severe last night; it continued, easing by the morning. Hundreds of Kurds had to escape to safer regions. I think the Iranian Army conducted this operation in coordination with Turkey," told Iraqi Kurdistan Patriotic Union (PUK) official Arif Rusdi to AFP Agency. A school and a car were hit during the bombing, he added.

Upon claims that the Turkish Special Forces were conducting a cross-border “hot pursuit,” the Iraqi government delivered a note to Ankara the other day asserting that Iranian Forces trespassed five kilometers within their borders and bombed PKK (Kurdish Workers’ Party) targets in the Erbil and Hajj Umman regions.

The statement released by the Iraq Ministry of Defense reads that 180 heavy shells fell on Northern Iraq. Iranian government Spokesman Gulam Hussain Alham did not confirm the allegation during his statement yesterday.

"We do not confirm any news that suggests Iranian Forces' trespassed into any neighboring countries, let alone Iraq," said the spokesman to al-Jazeera.

     Meanwhile, the hitherto unknown to me Journal of Turkish Weekly writes

Reports have been confirmed that it was actions taken by Turkish troops this past Saturday which were the spark for specific complaints from Baghdad about increased Turkish military presence and action along the Northern Iraqi border.

According to these reports, Turkish armed forces, using infra-red cameras, spotted PKK terrorists crossing the border near Cukurca town, after which a special force team of around 100 soldiers proceeded to cross the border into Iraqi territory. The go-ahead to send in the special forces team was reportedly given from Ankara over the weekend. Recent meetings between Turkish and US officials have indicated that the US has given the nod to Turkish action on this front.

     The Turkish Army declares that it has the right to invade, but denies it has done it. From the Middle East Times

     Turkey is claiming the US approached it to ask for use of its bases in Iran.  This is the Turkish Foreign Minister.  Turkey said no.  The Murdoch owned Jerusalem Post is reporting the same.

     Lots of places are alleging Turkey is putting 200,000 troops on the Iraq border, but maybe they had nearly that many already.

     A Russian news website, Regnum.Ru, mentions that this cross border raid, if it was Turkish troops, Turkish+Iranian, or Iranian, happened while Condoleeza Rice was in Turkey, and therefore represented US sanction.

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