Archive for the ‘Kurdish’ Category

Pact, Approved in Iraq, Sets Time for U.S. Pullout

November 17, 2008

Iraq’s cabinet on Sunday overwhelmingly approved a proposed security agreement that calls for a full withdrawal of American forces from the country by the end of 2011. The cabinet’s decision brings a final date for the departure of American troops a significant step closer after more than five and a half years of war.

By Campbell Robertson and Stephen Farrell 
The New York Times

The proposed pact must still be approved by Iraq’s Parliament, in a vote scheduled to take place in a week. But leaders of some of the largest parliamentary blocs expressed confidence that with the backing of most Shiites and Kurds they had enough support to ensure its approval.

Twenty-seven of the 28 cabinet ministers who were present at the two-and-a-half-hour session voted in favor of the pact. Nine ministers were absent. The nearly unanimous vote was a victory for the dominant Shiite party and its Kurdish partners. Widespread Sunni opposition could doom the proposed pact even if it has the votes to pass, as it would call into question whether there was a true national consensus, which Shiite leaders consider essential.

US soldiers secure the area along with Iraqi troops following ...
US soldiers secure the area along with Iraqi troops following a roadside bomb in the northern city of Mosul, some 370 kms from Baghdad. The White House on Sunday welcomed the approval by Iraq’s cabinet of a military pact that requires the withdrawal of all US troops by the end of 2011.(AFP/Ali al-Saadi)

The proposed agreement, which took nearly a year to negotiate with the United States, not only sets a date for American troop withdrawal, but puts new restrictions on American combat operations in Iraq starting Jan. 1 and requires an American military pullback from urban areas by June 30. Those hard dates reflect a significant concession by the departing Bush administration, which had been publicly averse to timetables.

Iraq also obtained a significant degree of jurisdiction in some cases over serious crimes committed by Americans who are off duty and not on bases.

In Washington, the White House welcomed the vote as “an important and positive step” and attributed the agreement itself to security improvements in the past year.

Throughout the negotiations, the Shiite parties and the prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, under pressure from forces both within and outside the country, had been trying to strike a balance in forging a viable agreement with the Americans that would guarantee Iraq’s security and that would still stand firm against what many, including neighboring Iran, consider a hostile force

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BAGHDAD – Iraq’s Cabinet overwhelmingly approved a security pact with the United States on Sunday, ending prolonged negotiations to allow American forces to remain for three more years in the country they first occupied in 2003.

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U.S. Troops Still Necessary, Iraqi Govt Official Says

November 8, 2008

Iraq’s deputy prime minister said Saturday his country still needs the U.S. military to ensure security and warned time is running out to approve a new security deal with Washington.

East of Baghdad, a suicide bomber slammed his car into a police checkpoint, killing eight civilians and wounding seven policemen. A security official says the Saturday attack occurred on a highway near the former Sunni insurgent stronghold of Ramadi in Anbar province. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information to the media.

By BUSHRA JUHI, Associated Press Writer

The violence came as U.S. and Iraqis officials were working to finalize a deal that would remove U.S. troops from Iraq’s cities by June 30 and withdraw them from the country by 2012.

Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh cautioned that Iraq will enter a “period of a legal vacuum” if the U.N. mandate under which US troops operate in Iraq expires by year’s end without the agreement having been approved.

On Thursday, the U.S. sent what it calls its final answer to proposed Iraqi changes to the draft agreement, and is now waiting on Baghdad’s response.

“The government is studying the latest amendments, and I hope that we can settle this subject as soon as soon possible because time is running,” he said.

Saleh, who is Kurdish, added the pact is key to preserving “the security improvement which has been achieved” in recent months.

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Turkey Sends Soldiers Into N. Iraq

February 23, 2008

By Joshua Partlow and Amit R. Paley
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, February 23, 2008; Page A11

DAHUK, Iraq, Feb. 22 — After months of sporadic shelling targeting the mountain hideouts of Kurdish guerrilla fighters, Turkey sent tanks and ground troops into northern Iraq on Thursday afternoon in an incursion that escalated the tension between the neighboring countries.

The incursion marked the first time since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 that Turkish soldiers in large numbers have crossed onto Iraqi soil. The offensive alarmed Iraqi officials, who have condemned violence by the separatist Kurdish guerrillas in the past but do not want to see a large-scale Turkish invasion.

“This has been a serious escalation,” Iraq’s foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, said in an interview. “We hope that this will end as soon as possible for fear of escalation or any minor mistakes that would lead to a wider problem.”

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Turkish warplanes bomb Kurdish rebels in Iraq

December 22, 2007


ISTANBUL, Turkey – Turkish warplanes bombed separatist Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq on Saturday, a statement posted on the military’s Web site said. Iraqi Kurdish security forces said they suffered no casualties in the bombing.

 Turkish military vowed to continue operations on both sides of the Turkish-Iraqi border “no matter how the conditions are.”

Turkish soldiers patrol in Sirnak province, on the Turkish-Iraqi ...
Troops from Turkey patrol the border with Iraq.

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Turkish troops reportedly cross into Iraq

December 18, 2007

ARBIL, Iraq – A group of 300 Turkish troops crossed into Kurdish territory in northern Iraq overnight and moved 1-2 miles deeper into Iraq on Tuesday morning, a senior Iraqi military source told Reuters.

The source said the Turkish troops were lightly armed and had moved into the Gali Rash area, a mountainous district near the border. There were no reports of clashes, the source said.

Turkey says it has a right to use military force to combat Kurdish separatist rebels based in northern Iraq.

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Iraq pledges to fight Kurdish rebels

November 3, 2007

By ANNE GEARAN, AP Diplomatic Writer 

ISTANBUL, Turkey – Iraq promised Saturday to work with its neighbors and the U.S. to combat Kurdish guerrillas who have attacked Turkey from hide-outs in the north. The border crisis overshadowed Iraq’s other problems at an international conference on the country’s future.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acted as a buffer and go-between for Turkey, an important NATO ally, and the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad. She sought to stave off what the Bush administration fears could become a dangerous new front in the Iraq war, now in its fifth year.

“Iraq should not be a base for attacks against neighbors,” Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told delegates at the session hosted by Turkey. “We will cooperate …..

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Turkey Conducts Air Attack on Kurds on Iran’s Border

October 24, 2007

By SELCAN HACAOGLU, Associated Press 

ANKARA, Turkey – Turkish warplanes and helicopter gunships reportedly attacked positions of Kurdish rebels just inside Turkey along the border with Iraq on Wednesday, as Turkey’s military stepped up its anti-rebel operations.

As the military stepped up its anti-rebel operations, civilian and military leaders discussed the scope and duration of a possible cross-border offensive — a move that Turkey’s Western allies are trying to prevent.

Several F-16 warplanes loaded with bombs took off from an air base in southeastern city of Diyarbakir….Read the rest:

Iraq and Turkey See Tensions Rise After Ambush

October 22, 2007

ISTANBUL, Oct. 21 — A brazen ambush by Kurdish militants that left at least 12 Turkish soldiers dead touched off a major escalation in Turkey-Iraq tensions on Sunday, bringing fears that Turkey would retaliate immediately by sending troops across the border into Iraq. But Turkey’s prime minister said he delayed a decision, after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice personally intervened.

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(Includes map of the Kurdish Region)

Turkish troops, weapons head toward Iraq