Tuesday, October 09, 2007

My Enemy's Enemy

Is the US government enabling and protecting a terrorist organisation? If the boot were on the other foot and the Turkish government opposed US attempts to deal with a terrorist group which had killed US citizens, how do you think the Bush administration would view that?

The US certainly doesn't show any real enthusiasm for tackling the PKK and affiliated groups. In fact, the Turkish government claims that they have captured US weapons from members of the PKK. These weapons are thought to have been given to the PKK by the infamous mercenaries at Blackwater who operate in Iraq under contracts issued by the Pentagon. I can only assume that General Patreaus be soon be showing slides to the world's media which demonstrate the fact that these terrorists are using US arms. He will undoubtedly then argue that this is proof of US government support for a group which they themselves classify as a terrorist organisation. Or maybe not...

Of course, the PKK and the PEJAK are known to cause problems for the Iranian regime as well as the Turks and the Iranians have been responding heavy handedly in recent weeks. But only a hardened cynic would suggest that the PKK's antagonism of the Iranian government has anything to do with the Bush administration's apparent unwillingness to shut them down. I mean, the US government has absolutely no track record of turning a blind eye to, implicitly supporting or secretly funding and training violent, human rights abusing, non-democratic organisations. Right?


neil craig said...

The US has, quite properly, armed the authorities in the Kurdish area of Iraq. My guess would be that it is them who have passed on these weapons. I know that this is a grey area but I seriously doubt if the US would deliberately arm Turkey's enemies, even using cutouts. This is unlike the situation in Kosovo where "stolen" NATO arms were supplied to the KLA by the Vatican but it is reasonable to believe the theft was consesual.

It also differs in that in Kosovo it was our KLA allies who were engaged in genocide whereas in Kurdistan it is our NATO ally Turkey who has a record of genocide which makes the question of who is a terrorist somewhat open.

Garry said...

It's true that deciding who are the terrorists isn't as easy as many people think but the point is that US (and the EU) have officially named the PKK as a terrorist organisation. If the Kurdish authorities are supplying weapons to people the US government deems to be terrorists, I'd ask why are they considered allies at all? It makes a mockery of the Bush's "with us or against us" rhetoric. Helping some terrorists is OK with the Bush administration, it seems.

Also, Republican administrations in particular have something of a record when it comes to providing weapons to all sorts of unexpected people. I'm thinking Iran-Contra here. Many of those involved in that are now connected to Bush Junior's administration and I wouldn't rule out the possibility that something similar is happening here.

Nevertheless, it's true that the discovery of these weapons does not prove that the US govt was involved. The arms business is a murky place: it could have been Milo Minderbinder for all I know.

For reasons unknown, this simple logic doesn't seem to apply to Iranian weapons found in Iraq which, according to the US govt, always prove involvement from some part of the Iranian regime. Maybe there are no Milo Minderbinders in Iran.

Garry said...

I'll also add that I'm not hostile to the idea of a Kurdish state. Under the UN Charter, they have a right to self-determination if they want it.

The various countries with Kurdish populations are unlikely ever to allow it though (with the exception of the Iraqi government who probably won't be able to stop Iraqi Kurds declaring independence at some point).

This brings us back to the point you made. Perhaps the refusal to grant the Kurds their right to self-determination does legitimise their use of violence. I feel a post on the topic of political violence coming on.