Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Turkish Incursion Over ? ? ?

So the blasted Turks are out - of part of the country at least. Stafford Clarry writes:

It's not over till it's over. And it won't be over until Turkey resolves its internal problem(s) with its own citizens.

Excerpt: "Mr. Gates said he was still confident that Turkish leaders understood the principal concerns of Bush administration officials: that the offensive could be prolonged, bloody and — ultimately — ineffective."

This is, obviously, an absolutely correct "duh" statement; it's a no-brainer. It would seem that most everyone but the Turkish military knows their offensive would be ineffective.

Let's look at the numbers - the "facts", according to Turkey. The Turkish military claimed that 3,000 to 5,000 PKK fighters were in Iraqi Kurdistan, figures that the international media regrettably used without corroboration.

During recent, rather extensive, military action, Turkey claims to have hit some 400 PKK targets. Now, after numerous artillery and air and ground attacks, the Turkish military claims fewer than 300 PKK casualties.

We can reasonably assume that Turkey exaggerates its figures. But even if the Turkish figures are taken at face value, we are looking at 6% to 10% effectiveness.

Obviously, the recent Turkish military incursion is not about effectiveness; it's about ineffectiveness.

The PKK has more options than the Turkish military. In the mountainous very rugged terrain along Iraq's borders with Turkey (and Iran) the PKK can move with impunity and easily fade into safe areas where the Turkish military cannot go. Simply, PKK fighters can move toward the border with Iran, and perhaps over the border into Iran. Then later, when the Turkish military withdraws, which it surely will, the PKK can return, regroup, and resume its violence against Turkey and/or against Iraqi Kurds. This is the no-brainer that too many have elected to overlook and ignore.

It has been said dozens of times that the solution to Turkey's PKK problem is not a military solution. This has been elaborated in numerous reports and essays readily available on the Internet and elsewhere. Well researched books are also readily available.

The solution is political, and economic, not military. And the solution cannot be found in Iraqi Kurdistan. The real solution is inside Turkey.

The latest news is that Turkish forces have withdrawn from Iraqi Kurdistan.
Excerpt: "The Turkish military issued a statement on its web page saying all Turkish troops had withdrawn from northern Iraq by Friday morning. It said the operation's objectives were achieved, and it claimed that most of the 300 Kurdish rebels operating in the border region had been, in its words, "deactivated."
"The statement also gave a detailed list of more than 400 logistical targets destroyed, including weapons depots and command bases belonging to the rebels."
What happened to the other 2,700 to 4,700 PKK fighters that Turkey claims to have been in Iraqi Kurdistan?

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