Thursday, January 18, 2007

KONGRA-GEL: Statement on Iraq

The US-led intervention in Iraq has failed to produce the desired outcome and the coalition forces are faced with an intense crisis. Iraq has become the scene for a civil war. Armed clashes are increasing daily. The US is trying to find a way out of this crisis, to minimise its losses and get out of the conflict area as soon as possible.

The Iraq Study Group has produced and published a report after months of research work, in an attempt to find a solution to the Iraq question. It consists mainly of recommendations, but all the powers involved in the conflict have given their evaluation of the proposals. This report by the Iraq Study Group, known as Baker Hamilton Report, as the document has become known, proposes new political policies to counter the crisis engulfing Iraq and the entire Middle East. For the Kurds it is important to make a detailed evaluation of the report. Considering the emphasis the report gives to Iraq's neighbouring countries, it is evident that the aim is to return the Middle East to the pre-2003 period.

The authors of the report propose the reconstruction of a situation as it existed before the intervention as a policy to resolve the question. Even though this is not an official government document outlining decisions, it is evident that when the proposals are implemented the current crisis will worsen. From the Kurdish viewpoint the report and the political discussions which followed its publication, are extremely dangerous. For this reason the Kurdish forces must assess it correctly including the political structures which are now being established. The current political phase must be met with the right strategy and political struggle and the positive developments for the Kurds which resolute from this process must be used to the Kurds' advantage. This is a case of necessity and survival.

The recommendations in the report indicate that the neighbouring countries, allowing them to continue with their current policies to secure the status quo, will be asked to play a role in solving the Iraqi question. Such a policy will create a situation to the great disadvantage of the Kurdish people. Turkey, Iran and Syria will once again become powers in the region. By focusing on regional sensitivities, the report gives prominence to the states which repress the Kurdish people.

While the governments, which until now have worked with the US, were discouraged by the report, it has become clear that previous opponents of the US position in the Middle East all of sudden have changed sides and become pro-American. It is obvious that the Turkish request to delay a referendum on the status of Kirkuk is explicitly demanded and underlined in the report, and attention is given predominately to Turkish sensitivities. Regarding the Kirkuk question the report provides an anti-Kurdish perspective.

The Turkish foreign ministry evaluates the report as realistic, correct and satisfying. Iran and Syria approve it as well. Right at the beginning of the report it is made clear that the interests of the Kurdish people have not been taken into account and that the Kurdish people are not seen as a discussion partner in the resolution of the Iraqi question. The fact that the report does not mention the Kurdish people in the four parts where the Kurds live is a great mistake and an error. Before the report was written there were no talks between the authors and the Kurds. This proves that the interests of the Kurdish people have not been taken into account in any way.

Furthermore the report takes into account the loss of the Kurdish gains, which were won by paying a high price of suffering and torture, and concentrates on the interests of states such as Turkey, Iran and Syria. The report does not recognise the people of the Middle East, in particular the people in Iraq, as the forces which can provide a solution.


Turkey-Iran-Syria alliance:

The mistakes of the US have led to the existing Iraqi predicament, with the agreement and ongoing alliance between Turkey, Iran and Syria playing a key role in its constitution. The break down of these alliances is essential in terms of the intention of creating stability in Iraq. The distancing of Turkey from Iran and Syria is particularly obligatory.

The developments in Palestine and Lebanon are related to this situation. The Middle East, Iraq is moving slowly towards division and war in this manner. It brings about a dangerous situation in terms of region and its communities. In the circumstance of such a war developing, it is clear that Kurdistan will be at the center of it.

In the past weeks Turkey, Iran, Syria, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and particularly, the Turkish, Syrian and Iranian alliance has taken courage from this situation, which they themselves created, and increased the intervention in Iraq. As a matter of fact, they have intensified their efforts in pulling the Iraqi regime into their alliance, thus strengthening their support in Iraq and establishing their influence. It is also apparent that the alliance has increased their profits in the country by intensifying both the interventions in Iraq and the attacks on Kurdish people

This alliance is performed in cooperation with the US, and despite their politics being partially similar; it aims to imitate the US. It is also obvious that powers that battle within Iraq have promoted an opportunity to attract regional and national relationships, trying to prove to gain strength from the divisions and fighting.

The Shias and Iran gain strength:

The Shias trying to resolve their own internal conflicts and unite, are at the same time seeking to gain power in battles against the Sunnis. Meanwhile the Shia movement aims to strengthen its relationship and solidarity with Iran and working towards maintaining the support of Turkey. In this way it is gaining strength through the civil war and their fight to gain sovereignty in Iraq. While Sunnis are implicated in the war against the Shias, efforts are also made to get support from the Sunni state, while at the same time amending the relationship with the US, which presently is very low. By continuing the war against the Shias, they remain determined to protect Iraq regardless of things never being the same again.

Turkey is aiming to gain influence:

While Turkey in cooperation with Iran and Syria is aiming to strengthen its intervention in Iraq and over Kurds, it is also trying to take the initiative and win power. İn order to succeed, Turkey has been working on the relationships between Iraqi Kurds, Turkmen and Arab people, and also developed its relationships with the Shias and Sunnis and building relations with Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and improving its relationship with the US. In the present chaos it aims to obtain the initiative to gain power. In the event of a war and divisions deepening within Iraq, it has made preparations to intervene.

Syria is after fortification:

Syria has invited the Iraq President for talks and at the same time indicated that it will approve of an agreement request by the US, and assist them to get out of the impasse it is in. The meetings with Turkey have resumed. And while Syria is strengthening its relationships with Sunnis in Iraq it is working to improve its diplomatic relationships with Iraq.

Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia appear to reinforce and strengthen the Sunnis in Iraq preventing the Shias from dominating Iraq.

The Middle East is close to a regional conflict. The developments and relations in Iraq and the divisions in the region are slowly leading to a battle of conflicts and regional divisions. This process poses am obvious threat and the question how it will it be prevented, when and where it will happen, and what outcome will be become inevitable. The continued Sunni and Shia fighting is feasible, which will lead to further conflicts resulting in new battles. Also the civil war in Iraq could trigger regional division and civil war. Presently we witness the most intense Sunni-Shia war which makes Iraq a dangerous place to live in.

On the other hand the approaching Kirkuk referendum planned for 2007 has increased the tensions, conflict, battle, and divisions. The fundamental threat the Kirkuk referendum poses is a Sunni-Shia war, with the danger of this war spreading to the Arabs, Kurds and all regional powers.

Iran benefited from the situation in Iraq:

The US, following its intervention in 2003, allied themselves to the Kurds and Shias to build the new Iraq, abandoned the Sunnis fighting a crusade against them. However, this crusade did not build the new Iraq, and only some Kurds and Shias benefited. Hence Iran tried to benefit from this. All the attempts made by Iran to make Shias sovereign in Iraq had been thwarted. The Shias inhabiting 60% of the country, had been a vital source of power for Iran. Iran, providing support for Shias inhabiting Iran tried to establish power amd to gain sovereignty in Iraq. Due to this the US limited its activities, and becoming ineffective. Iran’s policies are to lead the US into a dead end, and this policy has achieved considerable results.

The Shias have won power of government, and gained influence in the region, spreading and escalating Shia power in the entire Gulf region. This alerted US to the threat posed by the Shias, and the drawbacks linked to Iran. Consequently the US witnessed the increase of activities not only of Iran but of Shias within the region. If the US does not put a stop to this, not only will it give significant power to Iran via the Shias in Iraq, conversely Iran backing the Shias in the Gulf will also gain more power for itself. To lose in the Middle East, will mean strategic loss for the US. The US abandoned their policies as they worked in favour of Iran and tried to formulate new policies.

The Kurdish and Shia alliance included a section of the Sunnis. Kurds, Sunnis and Shias who partially accept the US and degrade Iran are included to do the ground work of new Iraq. The fundamental aim is to eliminate Iran’s influence in the region.

Turkey caused the split between the Shias and Kurds Turkey’s approach to Iran creates conditions for close relations with Iran, as they recognise the the situation facing them in southern Turkey and Syria is seen as dangerous and they recognise that they can only counter the danger by strengthening the Shia movements and to increase the Shia’s power, and that the Iran error led to the alliance between the Shias and Kurds. As a matter of fact when Cafer was prime minister, and when he went to Turkey Celal Talabani criticised him and added that he cannot represent Iraq, and that the ruling put forward by Celal will not be valid. The reason given was because of Cafer inviting Turkey to Iraq. This posed a threat which was in the interests of the Kurds. As a result Talabani declined any discussion defensively arguing that his decisions were invalid.


Divisions in Iraq:

It would not be realistic to say that Sunni and Shiite Arabs and Kurds in Iraq can live together as they have done before. Iraq is divided and faced with a sectarian war. The only option to prevent the intensification of this war and stop it from engulfing the entire region is to establish a confederal structure in Iraq.

This will ensure that the problems in Iraq and the region will not further deteriorate. Policies such as supporting the Shiites or Sunnis, which only ensures hegemony over each other, will deepen the current conflict and create more divisions in Iraq. Unless there is a policy change and the problems of Iraq are not resolved, a regional war and more divisions are inevitable.

Confederation in Iraq:

Today Iraq is a federation and moving towards a loose federative model. There are some forces who are debating and proposing confederalism as a solution. The KKK (Confederal System of Kurdistan) regards this as a realistic model. The problems in Iraq can only be overcome with a confederal state structure. The solution to the issues in Iraq is directly linked to the free expression of peoples’, who have the freedom to express and organize themselves according to their own identity and an organization. This must be acknowledged. Strengthening one group over the other to obtain domination is very a dangerous approach. It will only serve the purpose to further deepen and intensify the divisions and conflicts.

The Shiites should be able to organize according to their own identity and the same applies to the Sunnis, Kurds and Turkmen’s. They should be able to express themselves freely. If the problems are evaluated along these lines a solution is possible. The prevention of division, conflict, disintegration and break-up in Iraq is possible. Also a bloody war amongst peoples’ can be prevented. The proposed solution will also positively affect the Middle East region. Any other solutions will only further deepen the problems.

An Inter-Kurdish United Strategy:

It is obvious that the dominant states in the region who believe they will gain strength from the current developments will harden their policies on the Kurdistan freedom struggle. For this reason, during this new period the development of the Kurdish national unity, solidarity and a united strategy is necessary. The KKK has shown that its precious call for a national conference on the latest developments was correct and necessaries. We believe that Kurds should have confidence in themselves; they should put their unity onto solid grounds, and continue their struggle with determinator in the context of a united strategy. There is a historical role for Kurdistani patriotic organizations in Turkey, Iran and Syria. All achievements of Kurds must be defended, firstly those of South Kurdistan. They have been obtained through great efforts and tens of thousands of martyrs of our people. Kurds should establish a base for the permanent resolution of the Kurdish question and develop a political strategy. For this reason it is important to defend the Kurds’ achievements which forms the basis to the political resolution of the Kurdish question as a whole.

Kurds must organise a National Conference:

The latest situation shows that all the developments in the Middle East will have an affect on all forces in the region; however, the Kurds will be the most affected. There is a high probability that Kurdistan will become the centre of conflict and that there will be more devastation and suffering. The Kurdish people and political circles must recognise this and organise a national conference without delay. It is also vital that decisions on joint policies are made to resolve problems.

If the Kurds fail to organise a national conference and do not strengthen unity and solidarity, this will create a dangerous situation. If Kurds do not prepare and organize themselves, then Kurds will experience even greater suffering. But, if these developments are foreseen and organizational preparations are made accordingly, then resistance can develop on these foundations. We can reduce the damage and danger to a minimum. Kurds can become an important force in the region.

Precautions exclusively taken in South Kurdistan will not save it:

A policy concerning Kurdish Islamic circles in Kurdistan is necessary to prevent an Islamic, secular, Kurdish, Arab conflict and instability among forces in Kurdistan, especially the forces in South Kurdistan. The efforts to prevent such a danger through the unification of peshmerga forces to include Kirkuk into Kurdistan must continue.

But precautions taken only in the South will not be adequate. These are necessary; however, relationships with the other parts of Kurdistan must be strengthened. If this does not lead to national solidarity and if a national conference is not swiftly organized, decisions exclusively taken in South Kurdistan will not save the South. This must be recognised by the south Kurdistan forces. They need to abandon narrow political frameworks. Instead, they need to see the national democratic interests of the Kurdish nation as a whole and realize their responsibilities on these matters. Only then will the dangers threatening South Kurdistan and Kurds everywhere be lifted.


Turkey and its international allies:

Turkey has been a member of important international bodies such as NATO, The Council of Europe, and the OSCE. It is a candidate for EU membership. However, Turkey has entered in an anti-Kurd alliance with Iran and Syria, despite the differing and opposing nature of these regimes. It was against the intervention against Saddam and now it has a similar attitude regarding Iran and Syria. In Turkey’s opinion, there was a change in Iraq and the Kurds have gained some sort of status; if there are changes in Iran and Syria, the Kurds there will also gain similar rights. Turkey sees this as a threat against its security. That is why it opposes any changes in Iran and Syria and it does not hesitate to set up alliances with them in order to preserve the status quo.

The reason why Turkey is in this situation is the fact that it has not resolved its Kurdish question. If a solution to this question is found, Turkey will no longer make alliances with regressive regimes and it will take a stand against them. A Kurdish resolution in Turkey will lead to the establishment of a Turkish, Kurdish and Jewish alliance for democracy and change in the Middle East and with the participation of Arab, Persian and other peoples in the region who are seeking democracy and change, will create a new balance of forces in the region and consequently the concept of a New Middle East will gain a solid ground.

KKK’s unilateral cease-fire and Turkey:

Following the resistance of the Kurdish population against the attacks of the Turkish government, in particular in 2003, our Movement for Freedom has made significant progress as concerns the development of a democratic outlook in its organizations and the situation of the guerrilla forces. The movement has reached the point where it will be able to resist strongly the politics of denial and oppression of Turkey. In addition, the struggles for freedom against the regimes of Iran and Syria have grown stronger. These developments in the four parts of Kurdistan enable the Kurds to be in a strong position and to exert considerable influence on regional stability and international politics.

The relations between the Kurds and the Turks have become a major issue in the region and as a result of these developments, the solution of the Kurdish problem will have an enormous impact on the international situation. It is in this context that different forces made declarations and appeals for a ceasefire on several occasions. Among these are the recent written declaration of the US on 15th August, the Federal Republic of Iraq and the Regional Government of South Kurdistan. In Turkey several appeals have been made by different organizations, by the DTP (Democratic Society Party), intellectuals, writers, Mothers for Peace, religious leaders of Kurdistan and musicians. Some of these appeals have been made in the press, others by diplomatic means.

1. The declaration of the ceasefire started on 1st of October 2006. Depending on the steps that will be taken and the development of events, the period of the ceasefire will continue or not.

2. There will be no use of arms as long as our forces are not attacked, but in case of an attack aimed to annihilate our forces, they will defend themselves by all means necessary.

3. During the whole period there will be no military activity with the exception of the activities that fulfil our logistical needs and to safeguard our natural security.

4. The board of command of the HPG (People’s Defence Forces), the position of our forces, their movement and their programme will be reorganised according to the agreements of the ceasefire.

5. All the officials, organizations and institutions in the Movement for Democracy and Freedom in Kurdistan will at all level (ideological, political, and practical) contribute to the success of this ceasefire. In addition, all the tasks and programmes will be re-arranged in accordance with the decision of this declaration.

6. This decision concerns all the forces of the Koma Komalen Kurdistan. Noone will oppose this position; all will make their utmost efforts to contribute to the success of the ceasefire.

Reaction of Turkey to the unilateral cease-fire The hawkish Armed Forces Chief General Yasar Buyukanit has vowed to fight the PKK, which still enjoys considerable support in the Southeast, until the last guerrilla is killed.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is under pressure to crack down on the PKK to stem the rising nationalism ahead of elections this year. His AK Party, which has roots in political Islam, fears concessions on Kurdish rights or looking soft on the PKK will weaken the party at the ballot box next year.


The US-led intervention in Iraq has led the US to become directly embroiled in the Kurdish question.

In the present situation it is imperative for the US government the win the friendship of the Kurds in Turkey, Iran and Syria especially as these governments seek to maintain the present status quo of their anti-Kurdish alliance. It will be crucial for the US not again to make the Kurds victims of such an alliance.

In the past weeks important developments have taken place in particular regarding the politics in Turkey and Iran. The Turkish state continues to insist on military operations in South Kurdistan. It exerts huge diplomatic pressure on the US, PUK and KDP as the present status of South Kurdistan greatly worries Turkey. We firmly believe that the cause of the Kurdish problem does not lie in Qandil but in Ankara.

The first step in this strategy should be that the US government takes a more pro-active role in the quest for a peaceful solution to the conflict with the PKK. Although the previous Clinton administration labelled the PKK a “terrorist” organization and would generally refuse to negotiate or encourage negotiation with its leaders, it moved beyond this static policy in Israel, Northern Ireland, and South Africa. There, all parties realized it would be counter-productive to rule out dialogue with groups that had built a significant constituency and represented real grievances of substantial segments of the population.

As regards Turkey the US has not only diplomatic but also important economic influence. It is a positive sign that the US refuses to agree to support Turkish military operations in South Kurdistan. It will be imperative to continue to hold this position in future. But the resolution of the Kurdish question demands far more commitment. The US has the means to bring the parties of the conflict together and open the road for a dialogue. Such a commitment will not only be a step to benefit Turkey and the Kurds but the whole Middle East.

Turkey is making every effort to get the US to fight the PKK who found refuge in Kurdistan in Iraq. Turkey has been fighting the PKK since 1984 without apparent success and want the American government to rescue their failing endeavor and engage in a bloody fight with the PKK.

The US government should understand that without finding a solution to the Kurdish problem in Turkey, the solution they are planning to impose on Iraqi- Kurdistan will turn into a strategic mistake, a No Solution. Democratization of Turkey should be one of the principal objectives of the US foreign policy in the Middle East, as it will be one of the main factors for helping to find a solution to the Kurdish problem in the region.

It is for this reason that governments who have formed “the alliance of three in coordination against the PKK” should not label our movement “terrorist” and abandon all plans to eliminate it. It is obvious that the problem cannot be resolved by means of violence, as events in the past have already repeatedly shown on many occasions. The leading powers should rethink their policy and consider our project for a democratic solution; this would be the best way forward. The US and especially the Iraqi Government, that knows the Kurdish problem only too well, should play a constructive role during the period of the ceasefire that we have launched.



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12:35 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Thanks for this link. It will be helpful. Your site is also a resource. Thanks for sharing (with the rest of us) what Bush calls sacrificing peace of mind.

1:00 AM  
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Thank you heretic, I'll keep that in mind.

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6:53 PM  

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