Day-to-day security concerns in the three provinces making up Iraq's Kurdistan region are now the direct responsibility of Iraqi representatives, a Multinational Force Iraq official said yesterday.
The provinces of Sulaymaniyah, Erbil and Dahuk transferred as a bloc to regional Iraqi control during a May 30 ceremony, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Kurt Cichowski, deputy chief of staff for strategy, plans and assessment, during a call with "bloggers" and online journalists.
The transfer means the Kurdistan regional government, as an element of the government of Iraq, will oversee the Iraqi army and police, as well as ancillary security forces working in the area, Cichowski said. Such supplementary forces include the officially sanctioned "peshmerga," now known as the Kurdish Regional Guards, he explained.
The region has been administered by the Kurdistan regional government since 2003, the general said, and provinces transferred all at once instead of individually at that government's request.
Obviously these three don't come as a huge surprise since the Kurdish area of Iraq has been peaceful since 2003. They actually did greet us as liberators.
Obviously these three don’t come as a huge surprise since the Kurdish area of Iraq has been peaceful since 2003.
From the AP:
Friday , June 01, 2007
ANKARA, Turkey —
Turkey’s top general said Thursday his army — which has been massing troops on the border with Iraq — was prepared to attack separatist Kurdish guerrillas in a cross-border offensive.
Gen. Yasar Buyukanit said the military was ready and awaiting government orders for an incursion, putting pressure on the government to support an offensive that risks straining ties with the United States and Europe and raising tensions with Iraqi Kurds.
"As soldiers, we are ready," Buyukanit said at an international security conference in Istanbul.
Although the United States has branded the guerrillas a terrorist organization, Washington fears that Turkish military action could destabilize northern Iraq — the most stable part of the war-torn country. Washington is also concerned that supporting Turkey in an incursion could alienate the pro-American Iraqi Kurds.
Many Turks believe a major incursion would help finish off the rebels from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has been fighting for autonomy in Kurdish-dominated southeastern Turkey since 1984. Turkey’s human rights record has been stained by allegations of excessive use of force in the fight against the guerrillas in a conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people.
Turkey last carried out a major incursion into Iraq a decade ago, before the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. But separatist Kurdish guerrillas, taking advantage of a power vacuum in northern Iraq, have escalated attacks on Turkish targets. The military says up to 3,800 rebels are now based in Iraq, and up to 2,300 operate inside Turkey.
Turkish intelligence reports say that Iraqi Kurdish groups, which previously supported the Turkish military in fighting the guerrillas, were preparing defenses against a possible Turkish incursion into northern Iraq. Turkey fears that Iraqi Kurds want to establish an independent Kurdish state, which could revive the aspirations of separatist Kurds in Turkey.
Although the Turkish government promised to back the military, it has not so far asked Parliament for permission to deploy troops, anticipating problems with Washington, Iraq and the European Union — all of which have urged Turkey to show restraint and find diplomatic ways to deal with the Kurdish rebellion.
Turkey frequently complains that the United States and Iraqi Kurds have done little to stop the separatist rebels.
On Thursday, Buyukanit denounced what he said was a lack of assistance from allies.
"Turkey does not receive the necessary support in its fight against terrorism," the general said. "There are countries which directly or indirectly support PKK terrorism." He did not identify those countries.
Public support for an offensive is high, especially following the recent killings of soldiers and a suicide bombing that killed six people. On Thursday, suspected rebels attacked a group of forestry workers in the predominantly Kurdish province of Bingol, killing four of them and wounding four others, officials said.
On Thursday, military trucks hauled more tanks and guns to the border area, local reporters said. The deployment has made it more difficult for the rebels to retreat to bases in northern Iraq, the military said.
Turkish troops, reinforced by planes and helicopter gunships, have killed 14 PKK guerrillas in operations near the border since Monday.
Peaceful, huh. A terrorist organization operating out of Kurdistan is conducting cross-border raids and killing civiliians of one of our NATO allies. How is that peaceful?
And why are we handing over a portion of Iraq to a regional government that works hand in glove with a terrorist organization? The Kurdish government has done absolutely nothing to disarm the PKK. And the consequences of their inaction could easily lead to a wider regional war.
So again, why are we handing over power to a government that not only tolerates terrorists, but enables them? And if we are doing that in Kurdistan, what is the point of staying in Iraq? American troops are dying so that we can hand over power to a government that backs a terror organization? Come again?