Thursday, August 02, 2007

Barzani Threatens Bush With War

August 02, 2007 12:00 PM EST
by Scott Sullivan
Not only is Nazi Iran’s ally Massoud Barzani refusing to speak out against the PKK as the US had hoped, he is now issuing threats against the US. This latest Barzani threat to President Bush comes as the Baghdad government appears near to collapse. A collapse of central authority in Baghdad would dramatically escalate Iraq’s civil war, which in turn would tempt Iraq’s neighbors, beginning with Turkey, to intervene.
Barzani is quoted in today’s Washington Times that if Baghdad fails to implement the promised referendum on Kirkuk, a referendum which would provide a quasi-legal basis for Barzani to annex Kirkuk and its vast oil wealth, Baghdad would precipitate a “real civil war” in Iraq.
Let’s take a moment to analyze Barzani’s words. What Barzani is really saying is that he can make things far worse for the US in Iraq. Barzani controls a combined force of 80,000 troops including Kurdish peshmerga militia and 5,000 PKK terrorists already in Iraq. This Iraqi Kurdish force, most likely reinforced with thousands of PKK “volunteers” from Turkey, will wage war at Barzani’s command on Iraqi Kurdistan’s ethnic and religious minorities. Barzani, in other words, will attack the tens of thousands of innocent and unprotected Arabs, Turkmen, and Christians who reside in Kurdistan.
Barzani’s pogrom (for there is no other word) will begin with the peshmerga/PKK ethnic cleansing of Kirkuk, after which Barzani will simply annex Kirkuk, referendum or no referendum. Barzani no doubt will next move on Mosul, Iraq’s third largest city, and, like Kirkuk, the locale for substantial Iraqi oil reserves.
In addition to his pogrom, Barzani is also saying that he will withdraw all Kurdish peshmerga units who are serving with the Iraqi army in Baghdad, which would disrupt operations by Coalition forces and create new political and military turbulence as these Kurdish forces are pulled back.
To say Barzani’s threat comes at a bad time for the Baghdad government is an understatement. Iraq’s parliament has gone in recess the entire month of August without acting on major legislation, in defiance of Congress and President Bush, while the Sunnis appear willing to withdraw from the national government altogether.
In fact, Barzani’s immediate goal, backed by Nazi Iran, could be to collapse what little is left of Iraq’s central government. Barzani could calculate that if Washington and Baghdad are having second thoughts about the Kirkuk referendum, he will test Bush’s resolve and deprive him of the last possible fig leaf for the US presence in Iraq. If so, Barzani has suddenly emerged to become a mortal danger for Bush and the entire US deployment in Iraq.
This scenario of Barzani aligning with Iran and the PKK against Bush would explain the Robert Novak op-ed last week describing a purported US plan of covert assassination against the PKK leadership in northern Iraq, described by Under Secretary of Defense Eric Edelman in closed testimony before Congress. A first question to ask is if Edelman is sending a warning shot in Barzani’s direction? Is Edelman -- former ambassador Turkey but no friend of Turkey -- now demanding that Barzani cooperate with Ankara against the PKK?
Even more important, does Barzani suspect that Edelman is bluffing about US interest in restraining the Kurds? This is most plausible, given Edelman’s own past contempt for Ankara, in which case Barzani is right that in saying that Iraq’s real civil war is about to begin. Barzani himself will light the fuse. Is Edelman now prepared to defend Kirkuk and Mosul? Would Edelman ask Turkish peacekeepers to assist in the defense of Kirkuk and Mosul?
Finally, how can the Bush administration with a straight face ask the Arab states to cooperate in containing Iran when the US is backpedaling before a Kurdish-PKK-Iranian coalition in Iraq, where the US has 140,000 troops?