The Happy Arab News Service

Thursday, June 7, 2007



On Monday Kurdish rebels attacked a Turkish military outpost killing seven soldiers.

. . .

The army sent helicopter gunships and reinforcements to Tunceli province in southeastern Turkey after two guerrillas rammed a vehicle into the military post, threw hand grenades and opened fire with automatic weapons, the governor's office said.

Soldiers returned fire, killing one attacker who authorities said had explosives strapped to his body. Local media said the second attacker escaped injured.

Several other guerrillas simultaneously opened fire on the outpost from a nearby forest, the governor's office said. The attack left seven soldiers dead and seven injured. One of the injured was in critical condition, authorities said.

. . .


The Turkish army retaliated by shelling areas around the border of Iraqi Kurdistan. The attack came after a string of similar raids on Turkish military outposts and bases in which dozens of soldiers and separatists died. The growing presence of the Turkish army just across the border of Iraqi Kurdistan and no longer muted threats of a retaliatory action are all contributing to the increased impression of an imminent Turkish invasion of Northern Iraq.

This comes at a particularly challenging moment for Iraqi Kurds. Truck bombers of Ansar al-Islam have struck at the capital of the would be Kurdish state, Irbil, killing dozens. Attacks so deep at the heartland of Iraqi Kurdistan is something the Kurds have been spared until now. The Kurdish security services claimed that under interrogation men of Ansar have admitted to be receiving training and logistic support from Iran. In the wake of the attack hundreds of Peshmerga fighters were dispatched to the Iranian border in an attempt to block further infiltrations.

And as if that's not enough, the reports are coming in that the Kurds are now on the receiving end in the war of ethnic cleansing in Mosul:

MOSUL, Iraq — The letter tossed into Mustafa Abu Bakr Muhammad’s front yard got right to the point.

“You will be killed,” it read, for collaborating with the Kurdish militias. Then came the bullet through a window at night.

A cousin had already been gunned down. So Mr. Muhammad and three generations of his family joined tens of thousands of other Kurds who have fled growing ethnic violence by Sunni Arab insurgents here and moved east, to the safety of Iraqi Kurdistan.

. . .

Mosul, Iraq’s third largest city, with a population of 1.8 million, straddles the Tigris River on a grassy, windswept plain in the country’s north. It was recently estimated to be about a quarter Kurdish, but Sunni Arabs have already driven out at least 70,000 Kurds and virtually erased the Kurdish presence from the city’s western half, said Khasro Goran, the deputy governor of surrounding Nineveh Province and a Kurd.

. . . Some Kurdish and Christian enclaves remain on the east side, though their numbers are dwindling. Kurdish officials say the flight has accelerated in recent months, contributing to the wider ethnic and religious partitioning that is taking place all over Iraq.

. . .

Despite their heavy presence in the army, Kurdish soldiers have been unable to end the violence that is driving so many Kurds from Mosul.

. . .

Khabat, just inside Iraqi Kurdistan, has become a place of refuge. Rents have skyrocketed, said the mayor, Rizgar Mustafa Muhammad. At least 1,300 families have moved there from Mosul. More than 120 came in April alone, the most of any month, he said. Soon, he said, tent camps will be needed.

. . .



By SELCAN HACAOGLU, Associated Press Writer

5 minutes ago

ANKARA, Turkey - Hundreds of Turkish soldiers crossed into northern Iraq on Wednesday pursuing Kurdish guerrillas who stage attacks on Turkey from hideouts there, Turkish security officials and an Iraqi Kurd official said.

The reports came amid worries Turkey might launch an offensive against the rebel bases, touching off a conflict with U.S.-backed Iraqi Kurds in one of Iraq's most stable regions. The U.S. is urging its NATO ally not to strike, and Turkey's foreign minister denied any incursion occurred.

An American intelligence official in Washington, who agreed to discuss the tense situation along the frontier only if not quoted by name, said the reports of a border crossing should be treated with skepticism.

. . .

Three Turkish security officials said troops crossed the border Wednesday. But they described the operation as just a "hot pursuit" raid that was limited in scope, and one said the soldiers left Iraqi territory by the end of the day.

The officials, all based in southeastern Turkey, spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.

. . .

Turkey's private NTV television quoted Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul as saying the reports of a cross-border operation were false.

. . .



Turkey declared several areas near the border with Iraq "temporary security zones".

. . .

The military did not clarify what it meant by "temporary security zones," but some Turkish media reports Thursday said the areas would be off-limits to civilian flights. Others said the zones meant that additional security measures would be implemented, and entry into the regions would be restricted and tightly controlled.

. . .



A superb analysis by the Kishkushim on the situation between Turkey and the Kurds and more: Has Turkey Crossed the Rubicon?

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