Imminent War in Middle East
September 30, 2006
Kurdistan, the “Land of Kurds,” is currently not a recognized country but is a mountain region spanning five volatile countries in the Middle East. A large land mass roughly the size of France situated across the borders of Turkey, Armenia, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. The Kurds have been requesting a country of their own since World War I, but all five countries currently controlling the Kurds are opposed to giving up sovereignty of this region.
Even though the five host countries do not recognize “Kurdistan,” the Kurds typically act independently of their perspective governments. The Kurds routinely engage Turkish and Iranian military units in guerilla warfare and are reluctant to send forces to aid the fledgling new government of Iraq.
Only Iraq and Iran officially recognize the Kurdistan region. The region in Iraq is called Iraqi Kurdistan and in Iran it is called the Iranian Province of Kurdistan. Turkey, Armenia, and Syria do not officially recognize the region politically or geographically.
Recently, Iraqi Kurdistan has had a nationalistic surge and is developing its military capabilities. During the current war between the United States and Iraq, the Kurds have all but refused to participate in the civil conflict between Shiite and Sunni Moslem factions. The Kurds have accumulated over 5,000 troops in the Iraqi Qaundil Mountains near the city of Kirkuk, Iraq. The Iraqi Kurds are inciting other Kurds in the surrounding nations with nationalistic goals and leading guerilla attacks into Iran and Turkey. Iran and Turkey are reporting that Kurdish rebels attack and then flee back into Iraq to regroup and prepare for other attacks elsewhere.
Iran and Turkey are now putting together a joint operation of air units, paratroopers, tank battalions, and ground forces to invade Iraq and crush the Kurdish rebels. In a recent statement to US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, the Turkish foreign minister implicitly threatened Kirkuk, Iraq with an imminent attack if the Americans did not stop the Kurdish rebels from attacking Turkey. The US ambassador to Turkey promised this past week that “northern Iraq won’t serve as a PKK (Kurdish Rebel faction) base in the future”
Although the majority of Kurds are Muslims, they have had relatively good relations with Israel. According to military sources Israel participates in training Kurdish fighters and uses Iraqi Kurdistan as a frontal defense against the Iranian threat. They set up reconnaissance units as a “first alert” system in the event of an Iranian strike against Israel. Israel and the US also have relative free airspace to fly in close proximity to Iran provided by the Kurds.
The Iranian ambassador to Turkey said this past week that “Iran, Turkey and Iraq are key points in the world’s geopolitics. Whoever dominates this region can control the whole world.” He also said that historically when Iran and Turkey (the Ottomans) have a unified goal and good relations they witness “good developments in the region.”
Turkey justifies an invasion by saying that they are victims like Israel was in the recent Lebanon war. Israel had the sovereign right to retaliate against a foreign incursion and so does Turkey. Iran does not justify its position, but is adamant that military force is necessary and should be initiated as soon as possible.
According to Israeli military intelligence, Iranian and Turkish troops have already deployed a joint military force four miles inside of Iraqi Kurdistan. Turkey and Iran intend to neutralize the Kurdish rebel threat and gain a strategic foothold into Iraq. The Kirkuk region of Iraq is home to about 40% of Iraq’s oil reserves.
The US is already heavily involved in military action in the Kirkuk region of Iraq. Warring Sunni and Shiite factions are embroiled in an all out civil war and Iran is already involved in supplying weapons to their allies in the region. When the invasion does occur, the US will be forced to react.
The US and Israel are already discussing the possibility of neutralizing Iran’s nuclear capability, and if Iraqi Kurdistan is overran by Iranian forces the use of northern Iraq as a staging and refueling hub of US forces will be eradicated. This region is crucial for a successful military action against Iran.
An Iranian victory in northern Iraq would also further bolster their already inflated rhetoric and military mentality. They already consider the war in Lebanon a victory for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and would no doubt be further endowed with their own military capabilities.
Israel is naturally concerned about the coming invasion because it would have to forfeit strategic intelligence outposts in Iraqi Kurdistan. It would also have to relinquish military ties with the Kurds or fight along side of them to repel the Iranian and Turkish invasion. Either way it will impose great stress on Israel who is already in a daily battle for survival.