Archive for the ‘Kurds’ 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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How will the Iraq war end?

March 18, 2008

By Peter Grier
The Christian Science Monitor
March 18, 2008

By Peter Grier 

WASHINGTON – On the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war, progress is slow but violence is down. A three-part series on the war’s effects starts today with a look at what the endgame might look like.
Iraqi soldiers hold Iraqi national flags as they march during ... 
Iraqi soldiers hold Iraqi national flags as they march during a graduation ceremony in Besmaya Range Complex March 18, 2008. The graduation ceremony was held for the 4th Brigade of the 5th Division of the Iraqi Army.REUTERS/Mahmoud Raouf Mahmoud (IRAQ)

The Iraq war might end like this:

•Iraqi Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds uneasily share power and wealth in a single state. Sectarian violence, as well as terrorism linked to Al Qaeda, are diminished but not eliminated. Overseeing all this are perhaps 30,000 to 50,000 US troops, deployed in Iraq for years, maybe decades.

•Iraq is partitioned, accompanied by a return to the widespread sectarian violence of 2006 – times two.

Five years after the invasion of Iraq, those scenarios might be the best and worse cases that the United States now can aim for. One key to the outcome may be how long the US stays engaged in the expensive, drawn-out conflict.

From the point of view of the US, the Iraq war might be over when a president simply declares an endpoint. To an Iraqi, it might take much longer than that. Iraq today might be only at the midpoint, even the beginning, of a cycle of epic geopolitical change, say some analysts in a Monitor survey of experts in the region as well as in the US. For evidence, look at the Balkans….

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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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Turkey-Iraq Border Tensions, Fighting Continue

December 23, 2007
A Turkish soldier patrols in an army vehicle on a road near ... 

A Turkish soldier patrols in an army vehicle on a road near Yuksekova in southeastern Turkey, bordering Iraq, December 22, 2007.Turkish warplanes bombed Kurdish guerrilla targets in northern Iraq on Saturday, the General Staff said, in Turkey’s latest cross-border offensive. The military said in a statement posted on its webpage that the offensive against outlawed separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas inside Turkey and across the border in northern Iraq would continue. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

ISTANBUL, Turkey – Turkish fighter jets bombed Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq on Sunday, a spokesman for security forces in the Kurdish-run region said.

The spokesman, Jabar Yawar, said the jets bombed an area about 50 miles north of Irbil near the border with Turkey for about an hour and a half. He said there were no civilian casualties because the area was deserted due to a fear of Turkish attacks.

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U.S. Angered, Concerned Over Turkish Attack in Iraq

December 19, 2007

Associated Press

U.S. military commanders in Iraq didn’t know Turkey was sending warplanes into northern Iraq until the planes had already crossed the border, The Associated Press has learned.

A Turkish soldier


Above: A soldier from Turkey sits atop an armored vehicle as it makes its way from Turkey into Iraq.  Turkey has vowed to end the violence it says is caused by Kurdish insurgents on its southers border with Iraq.
Americans have been providing Turkey with intelligence to go after Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, and a “coordination center” has been set up in Ankara so Turks, Iraqis and Americans can share information, two officials said Tuesday.

But commanders and diplomats in Baghdad were angered when they were told of Sunday’s attack after it was already under way, defense and diplomatic officials said in Washington and Baghdad.

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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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Turkish incursion on hold for US visit

October 26, 2007

By SUZAN FRASER, Associated Press 

ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey will wait until the prime minister visits Washington in November before deciding on a cross-border offensive into northern Iraq, the country’s top military commander said Friday.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets President Bush in Washington on Nov. 5. “The armed forces will carry out a cross-border offensive when assigned,” private NTV quoted Gen. Yasar Buyukanit as saying. “Prime Minister Erdogan’s visit to the United States is very important, we will wait for his return.”

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek said the government demanded the extradition of Kurdish rebel leaders based in Iraq’s north. Amid talks with a visiting Iraqi delegation, Turkish war planes and helicopters reportedly bombed separatist hideouts within the country’s borders.

Despite repeated Turkish demands ….

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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: