2007-10-23

Morning Report: October 23, 2007

A look at the Kurdish regions, and views of a new audio from a pop star in decline.

Turkey rejects Kurdish truce offer. MSNBC: 'BAGHDAD - Turkey's foreign minister rejected any cease-fire by Kurdish rebels Tuesday as he met with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad to press them to crack down on the guerrillas. Turkish forces massed on the border and tensions rose over a threatened military incursion. Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said there are several ways to fight terrorism and Ankara would use them when appropriate as the buildup of troops along Turkey's border with Iraq continued with military helicopters airlifting commando units into the area overnight.' Strategy Page: 'October 23, 2007: Turkish threats to invade have produced a new round of diplomatic activity. Iraq's government stated that it will work with Turkey to prevent PKK guerrillas from using base areas in Iraq and from using Iraqi territory to attack Turkey. The US government promised Turkey that it would "urge" Iraq to carry thorough on promises made in August and September to "act" against the PKK. The new diplomatic buzz phrase is an attempt to "prevent wider action" in northern Iraq. Turkish special forces and a small contingent of conventional troops routinely operate in northern Iraq. In response to Iraqi and American diplomatic statements, the Turkish government said that it would continue to pursue a political solution, and would only launch a major attack into northern Iraq if "diplomacy is exhausted."' Economist (dated October 22):
A large-scale invasion in any case looked unlikely, as even Turkey's hawkish generals fear getting bogged down across the border and seeing their army's prestige suffer. But a clamour for some sort of intervention—perhaps aerial bombardment of PKK targets—had been growing along with the number of attacks on Turkish soldiers. News that the rebels had taken eight soldiers hostage during Sunday's clashes has worsened a sense of impotence in Turkey. “There are tanks, cannons, soldiers, but no political will,” screamed the headlines of Yeni Cag, an ultra-nationalist daily. Thousands of Turks waving Turkish flags and chanting patriotic slogans took to the streets in towns and cities across the country for a second day, on Monday, to protest against the PKK.


Osama Bin Laden audio tape. Walid Phares at Counterterrorism Blog: 'Yes, Bin Laden’s latest audiotape aired on al Jazeera is somewhat unique. Not in its ideological party line or in the Salafi doctrinal roots. That hasn’t changed nor is it expected to. Surely, in a previous speech he inserted some neo Marxist and Trotskyite stuff; but that was part of his “American” rhetoric, and possibly at the request of his Gringo advisers. Today’s audio wasn’t concerned about Berkeley’s approval but was dedicated to whip the chaotic commanders of Jihad in Iraq. Usama’s message was more so the expression of a frustrated (self appointed) “Caliph” trying to reign in on his emirs gone wild in the deserts of Middle Earth. The “Lord” is upset with how al Qaeda Iraq has administered the struggle, the people and the image. Incredibly, the number one of al Qaeda said the المجاهدين “Mujahidins” in Iraq committed أخطاء “mistakes.” I purposely quoted the words in Arabic because this was indeed the first time the man used them in this context: self criticism. In fact he criticized the “emirs” for the recklessness of their Jihad in the land of the two rivers. If one reviews the public statements of Bin Laden, at least since 1996, this would be the first time he would talk about the Jihadists’ mistakes, not the errors by Muslim rulers in general: Now these are his own fighters who are at fault. The last time an al Qaeda leader came close to this attitude was the shy warning by Ayman Zawahiri to Zarqawi demanding that the killing of Shiia stops in Iraq. But the top leader at the time wasn’t addressing the mistakes of the emirs. He dealt with “higher geopolitical matters” per the comments of Abdel Bari Atwan on al Jazeera tonight. “Sheikh Bin Laden, said Atwan deals with high level issues, such as the confrontation with the United States, India etc, but this time the Sheikh is dealing with issues on the ground.” Maybe not so comparable in context, but see it as a summoning by the “Fuhrer” to his Generals after losing Libya, Stalingrad or Normandy. ...' Bill Roggio at Long War Journal:
After almost a year of silence, Osama bin Laden has issued his third tape in less than two months. Based on excerpts from bin Laden's latest audiotape, titled "Message to the people of Iraq," he views the situation in Iraq as dire. Bin Laden is clearly concerned with the defection of Sunni insurgents to the Awakening movements and local security forces, the possibility of the Sunnis reconciling with the government, and the failure of al Qaeda leaders to unite the Sunni fighters under al Qaeda's banner.

Bin Laden takes on the failure of al Qaeda leaders to recruit Sunni insurgent groups into the fold of the Islamic State of Iraq, and the defection of previous allies to the Iraqi government and Coalition forces. "Some of you have been lax in one duty, which is to unite your ranks," bin Laden said. "Beware of division ... Muslims are waiting for you to gather under a single banner to champion righteousness. Be keen to oblige with this duty." According to the Associated Press, bin Laden said leaders should not build themselves up as the sole authority, and instead mujahedeen should follow "what God and his prophet have said."

Bin Laden also acknowledges the grave errors made by the leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq and warned that the violators of al Qaeda's laws should be punished. ...


SecDef Gates at JINSA. JINSA:
Where extremists have seized and controlled territory - in western Iraq or eastern Afghanistan, for example - the result has been misery, and poverty, and fear. The future they promise is a joyless existence - personified not by piety or virtue, but by the executioner and the suicide bomber. Symbolized by men kneeling not in prayer before their god, but kneeling and waiting for the executioner’s sword.

The United States and many of our allies, the prospect of terrorism on a large or prolonged scale is a relatively new concept, one that we are just beginning to appreciate. For Israel, however, it is something that dates back many years.


Sryia, Iran, Turkey, Iraq. Walid Phares again:
PKK is the Kurdish Worker’s Party that adopted violence in its struggle against Turkey. As the Turkish Parliament recently voted to authorize a limited invasion into Northern Iraq to fight the PKK militias, one can see the rising shadows of two hostile regimes in the region, eager to see a NATO member, Turkey, eventually clashing with the United States through their local allies in Iraq. Indeed, the Iranian and Syrian regimes have been pushing the precarious mechanisms of a Turkish military intervention into Northern Iraq for a while now. Logically, a collapse of security in the most secure part of Iraq would lead to a crumbling of the military stabilization of the country, a chief objective of US plans in Iraq.

But the Iran plans for Iraq, which I have analyzed in a previous article, consist of three types of destabilization: An Iranian push in the south, a Syrian opening for the Jihadists in the center, and dragging Turkey to a dogfight in the mountains of the north.

In order to launch the third leg preemptively into Iraqi Kurdistan, Tehran and Damascus have been pushing all the right buttons for the confrontation. Iran's shelling of villages in the northern part of Iraqi Kurdistan over the past months aimed at encouraging Turkey to do the same. ...

Phares recommends 'that the Kurdish leaders of Iraq be the ones to reign in the PKK to avoid having the Turkish Army crossing the borders. The US can - and should - broker arrangements between the Iraqi Kurds and the Turkish military to avoid the rise of an anti-Kurdish Triangle in the region.'

Iraq SpecOps troops detain terrorists, kill one. MNF-Iraq: 'BAGHDAD – Iraqi Special Operation Forces, advised by U.S. Special Forces, detained two officials of Jaysh al-Mahdi’s al Habibiyah Office, who are accused of conducting criminal activity despite Muqtada al-Sadr’s request to cease such activity. The individuals were detained during an intelligence-driven raid Oct. 21 in New Baghdad. One of the detained terrorists, the al Habibiyah’s office director is believed to be the commander of three extremist companies and leads a group of 50 terrorist cell members. His group is allegedly responsible for terrorizing local Iraqi citizens in al Habibiyah, al-Baladiyat and Baghdad al-Jadida. He is also suspected of supplying weapons, including a truckload of Katyusha rockets, to terrorists and conducting multiple mortar and improvised explosive device attacks against Iraqi and Coalition Forces. ...'

C-17 crew makes record airdrop in Afghanistan. CENTCOM: 'BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Oct. 17, 2007 — Two U.S. Air Force C-17 crews recently completed a mission for the history books with one of the largest single airdrops in Afghanistan since Operation Enduring Freedom began.'

Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, U.S. Navy. Michael Yon: 'or his courage, on October 22, 2007, President Bush awarded Lieutenant Michael Murphy the first Medal of Honor for combat in Afghanistan. This is the highest military decoration that a President can bestow, for gallantry above and beyond the call of duty in the face of an enemy attack. The Medal of Honor was presented to Lieutenant Michael Murphy’s parents, Maureen and Dan Murphy.' Go to the link for the text of the citation.

Briefly noted. "I call on all mainstream media outlets everywhere to join Newsweek's efforts to expose this massive coverup!"

Commentary. As promised, I'm posting ongoing developments in the Turkey/Kurdistan situation. As for Bin Laden, well, it looks like Iraq has become a quagmire for him, doesn't it?

Well, the battle's not over yet, and although I neglected to mention it yesterday, I am joining Neocon Express in marking Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. Go to Muslims Against Sharia to view a nine-minute video on islamist atrocities against women. (Warning: It's horrifying.) Be sure to bookmark Muslims Against Sharia and their blog.