October 2007 Archives

October 28, 2007

Iran to Host Conference on Central Asia and Caucasus

"Iran is to host the fifteenth international conference on Central Asia and Caucasus on Oct. 29-30, [2007] Deputy Foreign Minister for Educational and Research Affairs Manuchehr Mohammadi said here [in Tehran, Iran] on Saturday [October 27, 2007]," according to the Tehran Times'  political desk.

According to The Times, "The meeting is to study the influence of NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] on Eurasian region for the first time, he added."

If you want to learn more about the meeting, see "Iran to host conference on Central Asia, Caucasus." 

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October 24, 2007

Amy Goodman's Interview With Author of 'Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East'

ZNet magazine online has published the transcript of an informative, October 23, 2007, interview that Amy Goodman, host of Pacifica Radio's hot Democracy Now! program, conducted with University of Michigan Professor Juan Cole, proprietor of the popular blog Informed Comment.

Mr. Cole is the author a new book titled  "Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East. ”

Ms. Goodman and Mr. Cole talked about "U.S. War Plans Against Iran, the Turkey-Kurd crisis, U.S. Middle East policy and the new book, among other things.

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Secretary Rice to Visit Turkey, Israel, Palestinian Territories

The U.S. Department of State announced October 24, 2007, that U.S. "Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will travel to Turkey, Israel, and the Palestinian territories November 2-6, 2007." What will she accomplish? Probably nothing.

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M. K. Bhadrakumar: Iran Looms Over Turkey Crisis Diplomacy

M K Bhadrakumar, "a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service for over 29 years,"  contends in an October 24, 2007, Asia Times Online article that, "With the crisis on the Turkish-Iraqi border region at its peak, and amid distinct signs that a large scale Turkish invasion is imminent, eyebrows were raised when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan left Ankara [Turkey] on Monday [October 22, 2007] and headed for London.

"Why London?" asks Mr. Bhadrakumar, who was India's ambassador to Uzbekistan from 1995-1998 and to Turkey from 1998-2001.

He argues that, "In another time, in the year 1914, it might have made sense - an Ottoman sultan facing the Arab revolt instigated by Britain, setting out on a voyage fromimage Constantinople, seeking settlement. Of course," Mr. Bhadrakumar asserts, "analogies from history never quite apply. But there is something extraordinary about these diplomatic activities."

He reminds Asia Times Online readers that, "United States President George W. Bush revealed on October 17 [2007] that he's "told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them [Iran] from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon".

"Man has never before in his bloody history waged preemptive war against the spread of knowledge," he declares, adding: "The nearest he came was with the Inquisition when he insisted knowledge was heresy. But when Bush warns of preemptive war, it must be taken seriously. With a world war on its doorstep, Turkey is coming under enormous pressure to take sides."

To read more of Mr. Bhadrakumar's analysis, please see "Iran looms over Turkey crisis diplomacy.

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Tehran Times: 'U.S.-Turkey Conflict Not Addressing the Real issues'

Hassan Lasjerdi, a Tehran Times commentator, told the publication's readers October 23, 2007, that, "A dispute is developing between Turkey and the United States that will greatly influence the course of events in the Middle East and could lead to serious developments in the coming days."

image "Both countries have serious plans on their agendas, while any misstep will have serious repercussions for Ankara-Washington ties," he contends.

If you're interested in Mr. Lasjerdi's analysis of the crisis, see "U.S.-Turkey conflict not addressing the real issues.

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October 23, 2007

Kurdish Aspect.com: Turkey's Hidden Agenda

U.S.-based Kurdish Aspect.com, which offers "Kurdish news and points of view," published a  Kurdish National Congress of North America press release dated October 24, 2007, that states that:

Since Turkey’s establishment, its pseudo-democratic policy has been discriminatory and inhumane towards all non-Turkish populations in Anatolia, including the Kurds.

Under the pretext of fighting terrorism, the Turkish military has used every violent mean to suppress Kurdish rights. At times Kurds have been led down a path of violence that only has hurt the Kurdish cause. The violence had given Turkey the ammunition it needs to do its dirty deeds against the Kurds, who have tried to resolve their situation by political means.

To read more, see "Turkey’s Hidden Agenda.

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Can Iraq Meet Turkey's Demands Regarding the Kurdistan Workers Party?

The Turkish publication Today's Zaman reported October 24, 2007, that "NATO allies Turkey and the US [United States] have almost simultaneously signaled that a joint US-Turkish strike against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) based in northern Iraq could soon be placed on the agenda." See "Turkey and US bring up potential for joint action."

On the other hand, The Christian Science Monitor notes in an October 24, 2007, dispatch from Istanbul, Turkey, headlined "Why Turkey is wary of Kurdish rebel trap."

As Turkey sends military convoys to its southeast border with Iraq, diplomatic efforts are intensifying to head off a cross-border incursion aimed at crushing the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

On Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan traveled to Baghdad and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in London to increase pressure on US and Iraqiimage forces in northern Iraq to halt a surge of attacks that peaked Sunday with the most lethal guerrilla strike in a decade. Twelve soldiers were killed and eight went missing.

The Turkish publication Sabah said the Turkish delegation "communicated Turkey's six demands regarding fight against the terrorist organization. Babacan asked for prevention of PKK's use of Iraqi land, halting logistic assistance to the organization, stopping PKK's activities, limiting its movement capacity and land, arresting the PKK leaders and submitting them to Turkey and closing PKK camps," the publication said. See "Six ultimatums for Iraq."

The Independent of London's Patrick Cockburn, writing October 24, 2007, from Arbil, northern Iraq, notes that, "The Iraqi government said it would shut down operations of the Kurdish guerrillas from Turkey based on its soil in order to avert the invasion of Iraq by the Turkish Army. But it is doubtful if the Baghdad government is capable of expelling the rebels from hide-outs in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan," Mr. Cockburn writes.  See "Baghdad may be unable to stop attacks by PKK fighters."

Sabrina Tavernise of the New York Times News Service  reported  October 23, 2007, that the PKK "said in the statement yesterday [October 22, 2007] that it was willing to stop fighting." See "Kurdish militants reportedly open to cease-fire."

"We extend the hand of peace once again," said the statement, posted on the website of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the political party of Iraq's president, Jalal Talabani, who is a Kurd," Ms. Tavernise reported.

She said, "The site gave as its source the Firat News Agency, an online service that often carries statements from the Kurdistan Workers' Party."

image "We are ready to discuss the issue," the statement said, according to The Times report.

Meanwhile, the Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA)  says, "Turkey's recent threats to invade Kurdish areas of northern Iraq in retaliation for rebel attacks on its border troops have thrown a spotlight on Israeli ties to the Kurds." See "Israel reassures Turkey over Kurds.

"Since the Saddam Hussein regime was overthrown in 2003, there have been high-profile reports of Israeli sponsorship of Iraqi Kurdish forces, either in the form of private military training or as an intelligence proxy for monitoring nearby Iran," JTA reported October 23, 2007.

"But Israel, which has carefully cultivated defense and trade relations with Turkey, denies that it supports Kurds fighting Ankara's rule from Iraqi bases. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was scheduled to meet his Turkish counterpart, Tayyip Erdogan, in London on Tuesday [October 23, 2007] to discuss the issue."

According to an October 23, 2007, report in Today's Zaman, "Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will bring the issue of Israeli experts' training of military forces in the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq to the agenda in his talks with his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Olmert, scheduled to take place today in the British capital." See "PM Erdoğan to press Olmert to give up supporting Iraqi Kurds."

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October 9, 2007

Is U.S. Supreme Court Saying Torture Is Ok?

As National Journal.com/The Gate noted in an October 9, 2007, post, "The Supreme Court [of the United States]today refused to take up the case of Khaled el-Masri, a German national who is trying to sue the U.S. government for allegedly kidnapping and torturing him in an Afghanistan prison for months beginning in late 2003." 

As the NJC notes, "The justices rejected the case without giving a reason, but the move is being interpreted as a de facto agreement with the Bush administration's contention that hearing the case could compromise national security."

Now who is surprised by that? I'm certainly not. To read more, see "SCOTUS Won't Hear Rendition Case.

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