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  1. #101  
    Quote Originally Posted by whmurray
    "Those who cannot let go of history are condemned with those that do not know it."
    Then there are the willfully ignorant with conveniently selective memories.

    Turkey threatens incursion after Iraq talks fail

    SIRNAK, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan threatened to order an incursion into northern Iraq against Kurdish guerrillas on Saturday after diplomatic talks with Iraq aimed at averting a cross-border raid failed.

    "The moment an operation is needed, we will take that step," Erdogan told a flag-waving crowd in Izmit. "We don't need to ask anyone's permission."

    Turkish-Iraqi talks collapsed late on Friday after Ankara rejected proposals by Iraqi Defense Minister General Abdel Qader Jassim for tackling Kurdish guerrillas based in northern Iraq as insufficient. The Iraqi delegation left on Saturday.

    Turkey has massed up to 100,000 troops, backed by fighter jets, helicopter gunships, tanks, and mortars, on the frontier for a possible offensive against about 3,000 rebels using Iraq as a base from which to carry out deadly attacks in Turkey.

    The United States, which was also represented at the talks, opposes a major incursion, fearing it could destabilize the relatively peaceful north of Iraq and the wider region.

    The outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) took up arms against Turkey in 1984, demanding an ethnic homeland in the southeast. More than 30,000 people have been killed in the conflict. In recent years the PKK has pushed for greater cultural and political rights.

    Erdogan also took a swipe at western countries on Saturday for not cracking down on PKK members, and said calling the group a terrorist organization, as the United States and European Union do, was not enough.

    "We want action, and if you can't show action, you fail the sincerity test," he said. "Those who overlook terrorism are in cooperation with terrorism," he told a conference earlier.
  2. #102  
    Focusing exclusively on this Armenian genocide resolution completely misses the primary problem on the ground in Turkey / Kurdistan.

    The problem there is not with Armenians who were driven from Turkey awhile ago.

    The problem is with some Kurds who are not satisified with the half loaf they effectively have received.

    A less incompetent gang than junior's would have understood the interest of both Turkey and Kurdistan in making a deal. They would have used diplomacy to find a solution that would have made the Kurdistan government of northern Iraq an "ally" of the Turks in fighting against the PKK -- (much as Ireland was an ally of sorts with the English against the IRA.)

    The vast majority of Kurds want to accept the homeland that they have sought for centuries -- and not to provoke a war with Turkey.

    Many of the PKK have a more specific agenda in regards to their former leader now jailed for life by the Turks. (and who was apparently ready at one time to make peace himself -- though that's a different and more complicated question that I don't know enough about). They want him freed -- and are willing to provoke a war to that end by attacking and capturing Turkish troops.

    Ironically, the (semi islamic) govt of Turkey is being taunted into responding militarily by their secular opposition parties.

    It will be hard for the Turks to sit by silently.

    The situation is somewhat like the Israelis faced after their soldiers were kidnapped by Hezbollah from Lebanon. The population of a strong power (lead by a weak government) demand action against a weak attacker -- disregarding the horrible possibilities that can grow from it.

    (I have not had a chance to keep up with this thread earlier, I've just read the last 20 posts, so this may have already been spoken of)


    A Missed Moment In Iraq
    Washington Post By Henri J. Barkey October 27, 2007

    The Bush administration has only itself to blame for the quandary it faces with Turkish forces poised to intervene in northern Iraq. The Turks want to retaliate against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), whose insurgents killed 12 Turkish soldiers Sunday. A massive retaliation would be a major misfortune for Turkey, Iraq and the United States...

    ...Sadly, this crisis was predictable and predicted. U.S. officials have long known that a Turkish incursion was just one terrorist event away. As tensions mounted, the administration had numerous opportunities to engage in preventive diplomacy. A combination of lack of imagination, incompetence and sheer lack of knowledge at the State Department has caused this impasse.

    ...Turks blame the United States and Iraqi Kurds for their lackluster approach to the PKK's terrorist infrastructure in areas they control. Considering that Washington is engaged in a "war on terrorism," their complaint hits a nerve...

    ...Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is the party that has come closest to starting a process of reconciliation between Turks and Kurds. It faces two big hurdles. The first is its own military establishment, which is at odds with the mildly Islamic AKP and considers it anathema to its hard-line secularist principles. The civil-military discord has hampered Turkey's Iraq policy. The AKP government, having recently been rewarded at the polls for its successful governance, finds itself on the defensive on northern Iraq and the PKK, its Achilles' heel. Sensing its reluctance to intervene, the secular establishment has marshaled tremendous pressure on the AKP.

    The other hurdle is the PKK itself. With its leader, Abdullah Ocalan, in prison, the organization has become nothing more than a cult intent on using the passions of Turkey's Kurds to find a way of getting him released.

    The irony is that both Iraqi Kurds and the AKP government directly or indirectly signaled the Bush administration that they were interested in a deal. I know that senior Iraqi Kurds have forwarded ideas to U.S. officials. The AKP, on the other hand, sought to test the waters first by sending its intelligence chief two years ago to talk to the Kurds ...

    ...The Bush administration missed an opportunity when it failed to see and support the desire for such dialogue and use its good offices to construct a "grand bargain" between the Iraqi Kurds and Ankara. At minimum, such a bargain would have required the Iraqi Kurds to dislodge the PKK from Iraq and for the Turks to offer guarantees on trade and security to the Iraqi Kurds.

    For the United States, this would have meant the consolidation of northern Iraq; paradoxically, a Kurdish north at peace with Turkey is the best antidote to separation from Iraq. In short, this would have been a winning situation for all.


    The best the administration can hope for now is to persuade the Turks to engage in a limited cross-border military operation. That might contain public anger and assuage a vitriolic press.

    The only other thing to hope for is bad weather. With the onset of winter and dwindling military activities, Washington will perhaps have the diplomatic window of opportunity it almost closed. Three years late, it will be much harder to succeed.
    Last edited by BARYE; 10/28/2007 at 10:42 AM.
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  3. #103  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    .............The only other thing to hope for is bad weather. With the onset of winter and dwindling military activities, Washington will perhaps have the diplomatic window of opportunity it almost closed. Three years late, it will be much harder to succeed.
    I cannot be the only one to remember that we went to war in Iraq when we did because summer was coming; a delay would have cost us a year (and perhaps our excuse).
    Last edited by whmurray; 10/27/2007 at 10:45 PM.
  4. #104  
    Quote Originally Posted by lifes2short View Post
    While I may take some issues with her as Speaker, I would challenge anyone to specify what role she had in this resolution coming to a House Foreign Affairs committee vote. Overtly generalized apologia will be gladly ignored as there is a more appropriate anti-Pelosi hatred thread readily available.
    With due respect to Tom Lantos, the timing of this is all about having a Speaker of the House from California. Without Pelosi, Lantos would still be biding his time. Any Speaker from outside of California would have slapped him down. A Republican Speaker from California would have served as well as Pelosi. The timing of this is all about [the power and money of the Armenian constituency in] California. This is pay-back time.
  5. #105  
    Quote Originally Posted by whmurray View Post
    With due respect to Tom Lantos, the timing of this is all about having a Speaker of the House from California. Without Pelosi, Lantos would still be biding his time. Any Speaker from outside of California would have slapped him down. A Republican Speaker from California would have served as well as Pelosi. The timing of this is all about [the power and money of the Armenian constituency in] California. This is pay-back time.
    To not recognize Turkey for what it was, is, and likely, shall be, is the height of irresponsibility, given that the US has no other allies in the region, even at this tepid level. As anyone can tell, if they are keeping themselves informed, Turkey has their own agenda which does not run parallel with that of the US's highest values. Make blithe political hay of this if anyone likes, but while you're busy with that esteemed goal, a new enemy of the US is spreading its wings in the same way it has for centuries while the US government looks the other way.
  6. #106  
    Does anyone really believe that the the congressional resolution -- no matter how much of a headache it is -- is anything more than a headache in the context of much larger and more pressing, contemporary issues between Turkey, The Kurds, and northern Iraq ??

    does anyone believe that except for the symbolic Congressional opinion about the Turk's historic Genocide of Armenians, that the Turks would not be planning to attack Kurdistan ??
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  7. #107  
    Quote Originally Posted by lifes2short View Post
    To not recognize Turkey for what it was, is, and likely, shall be, is the height of irresponsibility, given that the US has no other allies in the region, even at this tepid level. As anyone can tell, if they are keeping themselves informed, Turkey has their own agenda which does not run parallel with that of the US's highest values. Make blithe political hay of this if anyone likes, but while you're busy with that esteemed goal, a new enemy of the US is spreading its wings in the same way it has for centuries while the US government looks the other way.
    Please do not infer that I favor this mischief.

    On the other hand, it would be a little much to hope that the agenda of the successors to the Ottoman Empire should "run parallel with the US's highest values" when we, ourselves, have become a rogue state. If our "national security" justifies invading sovereign nations, torture, warrantless surveillance, and imprisonment without trial, who are we to lecture the Turks? One very good reason for nations to behave well in the world is so that they can demand it of other nations.
  8. gojeda's Avatar
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    #108  
    Alarmism aside.....

    As much as Turkey might want to have it out with the PKK, there is one thing that Turkey wants even more: admission into the EU.

    I think it is a reasonably safe bet that Ankara will not do something stupid to put that process in jeopardy.
  9. #109  
    Quote Originally Posted by moderateinny View Post
    Nothing like a little piling on to spice up a thread.

    As strongly as I feel about Pelosi being the wrong choice as speaker I'd still take her any day over the rubber-stamp GOP robotrons that preceded her.
    Admittedly, Speaker Hastert did not do some obvious things that the people wanted him to do. On the other hand, among the things that he did not do was interfere in foreign policy and diplomacy. Let us not forget that this is not the first time that Speaker Pelosi has interfered in diplomacy. Let us not forget the infamous trip to Damascus.

    There are some unwritten rules that history teaches are necessary to our ability to govern ourselves. One of those rules is that legislators do not engage in diplomacy. Another is that partisanship ends at the waters edge. We ignore those rules at the risk of becoming ungovernable.

    We have become so partisan that we risk the necessary consent of the governed. The governing class realizes this; that is why they are becoming increasingly coercive and controlling. We have become so partisan that we may be ungovernable.
  10. #110  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    Does anyone really believe that the the congressional resolution -- no matter how much of a headache it is -- is anything more than a headache in the context of much larger and more pressing, contemporary issues between Turkey, The Kurds, and northern Iraq ??

    does anyone believe that except for the symbolic Congressional opinion about the Turk's historic Genocide of Armenians, that the Turks would not be planning to attack Kurdistan ??
    See #109 above. Standing by itself, it is as you say. I suggest that it is part of a larger pattern. It is part of a pattern in which the authority and role of men is replacing the Rule of Law. While protesting his commitment to the Rule of Law, the President insists that, at least "in time of war," it does not apply to him. Speaker Pelosi is a lose cannon on the deck of the ship of state.
    Last edited by whmurray; 10/28/2007 at 08:39 AM.
  11.    #111  
    Quote Originally Posted by whmurray View Post
    Admittedly, Speaker Hastert did not do some obvious things that the people wanted him to do. On the other hand, among the things that he did not do was interfere in foreign policy and diplomacy.
    Tough to know what he would do had Gore won. But I'll grant you that since I agree, Pelosi has gone too far in this respect.

    Let us not forget that this is not the first time that Speaker Pelosi has interfered in diplomacy. Let us not forget the infamous trip to Damascus.
    Agreed. Again, as this thread and another shows, I'm not a fan of hers. I think she was hoping to fill the obvious gap the Bushies have created in terms of a lacking foreign policy. That said, it was misguided - just as this Turkey vote is/or will be.

    There are some unwritten rules that history teaches are necessary to our ability to govern ourselves. One of those rules is that legislators do not engage in diplomacy. Another is that partisanship ends at the waters edge. We ignore those rules at the risk of becoming ungovernable.

    We have become so partisan that we risk the necessary consent of the governed. The governing class realizes this; that is why they are becoming increasingly coercive and controlling. We have become so partisan that we may be ungovernable.
    It is sickening isn't it? I'm tired of it all myself and would love to see a unifying ticket this coming election. While it won't be a cure all, I think it could go a long way toward healing the wounds of the nation. In short, I'd love to see a real "uniter" this time around versus a pretend one that is a "divider".
  12. #112  
    Quote Originally Posted by gojeda View Post
    Alarmism aside.....

    As much as Turkey might want to have it out with the PKK, there is one thing that Turkey wants even more: admission into the EU.

    I think it is a reasonably safe bet that Ankara will not do something stupid to put that process in jeopardy.
    though my European prognostication talents are somewhat over rated, I don't foresee the Turks getting into the EU any time soon -- and I suspect neither do the Turks.

    (we could debate whether or not that's the right course for Europe)

    As such its a what the hell kind of moment -- the EU carrot has quite probably passed its "eat by" expiration.

    2 questions:

    Are the PKK going to release their Turkish captives because they're asked ??

    Those 100,000 Turkish troops at the border -- are they having an old fashioned jamborree ???
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  13. #113  
    Quote Originally Posted by whmurray View Post
    Admittedly, Speaker Hastert did not do some obvious things that the people wanted him to do. On the other hand, among the things that he did not do was interfere in foreign policy and diplomacy. Let us not forget that this is not the first time that Speaker Pelosi has interfered in diplomacy. Let us not forget the infamous trip to Damascus...
    The Damascus trip was valuable and productive -- and ought have been done by Rice years earlier.

    (BTW -- when Saint Bill was Prez, the gingrich gang routinely waited for Clinton to make a foriegn trip to unleash a new attack, accusation, or investigation.)
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  14. #114  
    Quote Originally Posted by moderateinny View Post
    .......It is sickening isn't it? I'm tired of it all myself and would love to see a unifying ticket this coming election. While it won't be a cure all, I think it could go a long way toward healing the wounds of the nation. In short, I'd love to see a real "uniter" this time around versus a pretend one that is a "divider".
    It may be sickening unto death.

    You know, for decades we have been nominating and electing (often Southern) governors. They run as "outsiders" and as "non-politicians," and come to Washington with little beyond ideology and cronies. They do not know where the handles of power are. Now that the parties have dwindled in power, they cannot form a government, and they know almost nothing about the rest of the world.

    We rarely nominate legislators, in part because "they have never run anything" and in part because it is difficult for them to justify their voting records in the messy process of legislation. On the other hand, they have lived the history, built consensus, and know who can govern.

    I admit that I am impressed by both Governor Hucakbee and Governor Richardson. I find them experienced, competent, and less ideological than most. Richarson had both Washington and foreign relations experience before becoming governor. I could vote for either but prefer Richardson because of his foreign relations experience.

    However, I would like to suggest that it is time to break the mold and elect a legislator. I like Senators Biden and Dodd. They enjoy the loyalty of Washington and the party elite, come with ideas rather than ideology, and have decades of foreign relations experience. Most of all, they are consensus builders.
    Last edited by whmurray; 10/28/2007 at 10:58 AM.
  15. #115  
    Quote Originally Posted by whmurray View Post
    On the other hand, it would be a little much to hope that the agenda of the successors to the Ottoman Empire should "run parallel with the US's highest values" when we, ourselves, have become a rogue state. If our "national security" justifies invading sovereign nations, torture, warrantless surveillance, and imprisonment without trial, who are we to lecture the Turks? One very good reason for nations to behave well in the world is so that they can demand it of other nations.
    The "successors" were essentially the warmongering "victors", similar to that which took place in the Balkans. I've said it before, and it remains true, that to make impractical, heavily incented deals with Turkey is the same short-sighted misstep the US has historically taken in Iraq (1950-1960s), Argentina, Venezuela, Nicaragua and on and on. Repeating history doesn't change its outcome. After we've used Turkey for our one-sided purposes, what cost outside of the deals which allowed the US access are we to pay in this easily radicalized region or domestically after Turkey has been insanely compensated? Funding enemies of the near-term future is the apex of stupidity.

    Do you believe the people of the US are ultimately to blame for not being wise enough to remain engaged outside of election cycles? When Lobbyists define themselves as the method in which the People "petition the Government", is there not at least 1 smoking gun that should be eradicated from our system? Similar to cutting off the economic spigot funding terrorism, should not this conduit be terminated?

    Quote Originally Posted by whmurray View Post
    See #109 above. Standing by itself, it is as you say. I suggest that it is part of a larger pattern. It is part of a pattern in which the authority and role of men is replacing the Rule of Law. While protesting his commitment to the Rule of Law, the President insists that, at least "in time of war," it does not apply to him. Speaker Pelosi is a lose cannon on the deck of the ship of state.
    In an administration where State has taken on the same level of marginalized, absent authority as the EPA, should legislators (in general terms) simply look the other way? I agree with your fundamental premise, but there must be limits to "inaction" in order to preserve the sanctity of this unique Union.
  16. #116  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    The Damascus trip was valuable and productive -- and ought have been done by Rice years earlier..........
    Perhaps. Lose cannons sometimes fire in the right direction. That does not make them any less dangerous.

    (I am a "Teddy" Bear; I believe in overwhelming power, the ability to project it at a distance, and quiet dialogue and rhetoric. I am certainly not a fan of the Cheney-Rice-Bush foreign policy.)
  17. gojeda's Avatar
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    #117  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    The Damascus trip was valuable and productive -- and ought have been done by Rice years earlier.
    Pel00si playing Kissinger in Damascus was not only unproductive and nutty, it was dangerous.

    First, she lied on behalf of Olmert so egregiously that the PM had to issue an official press release rebuking her revelation that Israel was, somehow, changing its policy towards Syria.

    Secondly, she lied when she said that Syria was ready to resume the peace process, as if to deliever a breakthrough that Warren Christopher, in 22 trips to Damascus, could not.

    So much for Pel00si's attempt at a shadow presidency. The only good thing that came out of that trip is that it alerted a great many to the fact that the woman is not playing with a full deck of cards.
  18. #118  
    Quote Originally Posted by gojeda View Post
    Pel00si playing Kissinger in Damascus was not only unproductive and nutty, it was dangerous.

    First, she lied on behalf of Olmert so egregiously that the PM had to issue an official press release rebuking her revelation that Israel was, somehow, changing its policy towards Syria.

    Secondly, she lied when she said that Syria was ready to resume the peace process, as if to deliever a breakthrough that Warren Christopher, in 22 trips to Damascus, could not.

    So much for Pel00si's attempt at a shadow presidency. The only good thing that came out of that trip is that it alerted a great many to the fact that the woman is not playing with a full deck of cards.
    had junior and his gop gangsters not preemptively attacked and undercut Pellosi they might have had a productive secondary door to real negotiation.

    But thats not what they're all about.
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  19. #119  
    Quote Originally Posted by lifes2short View Post
    ............In an administration where State has taken on the same level of marginalized, absent authority as the EPA, should legislators (in general terms) simply look the other way? I agree with your fundamental premise, but there must be limits to "inaction" in order to preserve the sanctity of this unique Union.
    I agree. I note that legislative action takes longer than executive action; that is why we assign diplomacy, not to mention defense, to the executive. As I do not want Mr. Bush to substitute his judgement and preferences for the decisions of the Congress, I do not want the leaders of the legislature engaged in diplomacy or defense.

    It is not a matter of who is right in an existential sense, but who is playing his proper role. However desirable dialogue with Syria may be, it is not the Speaker's role. Even if Ms. Pelosi achieved some kind of agreement she could not implement it.

    Mr. Bush's problem is that he is doing things that he was not elected to do. Ms. Pelosi's problem is that she is not doing what she was elected to do. My preference is, without regard to their effectiveness, for each of them to stay in the box that the founders constructed for them. Perhaps if Ms. Pelosi tended to her knitting, she would be more effective in passing laws that the President could not successfully veto.
    Last edited by whmurray; 10/28/2007 at 11:49 AM.
  20. #120  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    had junior and his gop gangsters not preemptively attacked and undercut Pellosi they might have had a productive secondary door to real negotiation.

    But thats not what they're all about.
    She was kibitzing, playing in a game in which she did not have a seat with chips that were not hers to lose. Even if the kibitzer knows the rules and the situation better and could play the hand better than those at the table, that does not justify the interference or change the outcome in a positive way.

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