Posted by: Lister | July 30, 2009

The other Iraq war

We don’t seem to hear about the bombing of Kurdistan. I found an article at Stars and Stripes, via anti-war:

The governments of Turkey and Iran say they are defending themselves against the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), which seeks to establish an independent Kurdish state within Turkey, and their Iranian counterparts, the Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK). Both groups are branded terrorist organizations by the U.S. government.

An estimated 3,000 to 5,000 such militants operate inside Iraq’s borders, according Kurdish military officials. And the two guerrilla groups virtually control a large swath of rugged mountain territory, openly operating checkpoints and even carrying out police and judicial functions when villagers have disputes, according to militants interviewed for this article.

Kurdish soldiers are afraid to venture into the region, and the U.S. government has declared much of the area off-limits to its soldiers.

A PJAK political officer interviewed near the Iranian border said his group takes care of civilians, building bomb shelters and maintaining law and order in a kind of Wild West, where the authority of Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government stops at the first makeshift PJAK checkpoint.

[…] On a dust-blown, sweltering plain in the shadow of the Qandil Mountains, a collection of tents that blend with the drab tan surroundings lies just off the area’s main highway. Here, near the city of Qaladza, whole families huddle to escape the afternoon heat, driven from their homes by the fighting and forgotten, they say, by their government.

In the distance, the refugees can often see puffy mushroom clouds rise as their former homes are pounded into dust by artillery. “We don’t have a house, we don’t have sheep, we don’t have cows,” said Hamad Rosul Ibrahim, a resident of the grim refugee camp. “We have nothing left but these tents.”

[…] there have been many reports of civilian deaths and injuries. In March, a 2-year-old boy was killed near the Iranian border, and earlier this month, a farmer was badly injured by shrapnel.


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