News Release

Perspectives on Iraq, Turkey and Kurds


Professor at American University, Ghareeb is author of several books including The Kurdish Question in Iraq and The Kurdish Nationalist Movement. Ghareeb can assess the strategic interests of the various political operators.
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An Iraqi Kurdish doctor and academic now living in the U.S., Sayadi is an activist and closely monitors Kurdish media. She stresses the human impacts of the conflict.
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Professor emeritus and former dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, Bagdikian is most widely known for his book The Media Monopoly. He is also author of Double Vision: Reflections on My Heritage, Life, and Profession, which is in part about his Armenian heritage — Bagdikian’s family survived a massacre in present-day Turkey.

He said today: “The face-off with Turkey over their decades-long fight against their own independence-seeking Kurds, has become a multi-sided dilemma for all parties. Kurds have lived for centuries in the mountains that straddle the Turkish-Iraqi border. In Iraq, the Kurds are among the U.S. Army’s most stable friends, and also occupy the other end of Iraq in its oil rich region. Dilemma No. 1. But Turkey hates the Kurds and hints it might stop cooperating with the U.S. Dilemma No. 2. Turkey needs U.S. help to enter the European Union. Dilemma No. 3. But the U.S. needs the big Turkish airfield to supply Iraq. Dilemma No. 4. Bush has threatened Iran if it does not stop nuclear development and Cheney has raised the threats of military action against Iran. But Iran has oil and is Shiite. Dilemma No. 5. In Iraq various Shiites are our ‘friends.’ But so is Israel a U.S. friend. Dilemma No. 6. If we move militarily against Iran, it has missiles it can send into Israel. Israel could fire back. Dilemmas 7 and 8.

“It is a mess with no way to satisfy all the conflicting problems created when Bush decided he would try to dominate the entire Middle East.”
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Available for in-depth interviews, Saeedpour is editor of Kurdish Life and director of the Kurdish Library. She said today: “The notion that the PKK [Kurdistan Workers Party] is inaccessible is simply ludicrous. Scores of Western journalists have visited their mountain retreats. …

“Ironic. The PKK is on the State Department’s terrorist list; the U.S. claims it doesn’t ‘talk with terrorists.’ But the U.S. — and Israel — aids and abets the PKK through local Iraqi Kurds. And why? The PKK arm, Pejak, attacks Iran. For services rendered, while the PKK attacks Turkey the administration winks and has kept the Turkish military from retaliating. …

“For giving safe haven to the PKK/Pejak, for doing Washington’s bidding in Baghdad, [Massoud] Barzani and [Jalal] Talabani have been more than amply rewarded. In 2003 the U.S. military facilitated their takeover of ‘security’ in Kirkuk and even in Mosul. Now, under the pretext of fighting al Qaeda, units of the U.S. military have been joining Kurdish fighting units (veiled as members of the ‘Iraqi’ military) in ethnically cleansing ‘contested areas’ of non-Kurds in advance of a referendum that will determine under whose jurisdiction these parts of Diyala and Nineveh provinces will fall.

“Perhaps it all depends on who’s doing the cleansing. In 1992 Armenians in Nagorno Karabagh aided by the Republic of Armenia ethnically cleansed Red Kurdistan, the largest and oldest Kurdish community in the Caucasus — 160,000 Kurds simply disappeared. With few exceptions, Kurds elsewhere said nothing. Kurdish Life did a detailed report on the issue and distributed it to members of Congress, not least Rep. Tom Lantos, Sen. Ted Kennedy and Sen. Joe Biden, all still in office. President Bill Clinton did nothing. Instead, Armenians were rewarded with direct U.S. foreign aid.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167.