International Pol.

Israel and the Kurds

According to this article in the New Yorker, Israel is operating hundreds of Mossad agents within the Kurdish areas of Northern Iraq. The hope being to have influence with the Kurds in the likely event that they seek greater autonomy or independence. This is due to their outlook on the future of Iraq:

The former Israeli intelligence officer acknowledged that since late last year Israel has been training Kurdish commando units to operate in the same manner and with the same effectiveness as Israel’s most secretive commando units, the Mistaravim. The initial goal of the Israeli assistance to the Kurds, the former officer said, was to allow them to do what American commando units had been unable to do; penetrate, gather intelligence on, and then kill off the leadership of the Shiite and Sunni insurgencies in Iraq. (I was unable to learn whether any such mission had yet taken place.) “The feeling was that this was a more effective way to get at the insurgency,” the former officer said. “But the growing Kurdish-Israeli relationship began upsetting the Turks no end. Their issue is that the very same Kurdish commandos trained for Iraq could infiltrate and attack in Turkey.”

The Kurdish-Israeli collaboration inevitably expanded, the Israeli said. Some Israeli operatives have crossed the border into Iran, accompanied by Kurdish commandos, to install sensors and other sensitive devices that primarily target suspected Iranian nuclear facilities. The former officer said, “Look, Israel has always supported the Kurds in a Machiavellian way; as balance against Saddam. It’s Realpolitik.” He added, “By aligning with the Kurds, Israel gains eyes and ears in Iran, Iraq, and Syria.” He went on, “What Israel was doing with the Kurds was not so unacceptable in the Bush Administration.”


Interesting interview with Vincent Cannistraro on some of the background events of the 1980’s and terrorism from Frontline.

Fallujah: In The Hands Of Insurgents


The mujahed named Mohammed who detained us is a stocky, handsome man in his early 20s from a well-to-do Fallujah family. He had been studying foreign languages at Baghdad University when the U.S. military toppled Saddam Hussein last year, and he says he initially supported Saddam’s overthrow, but “the Americans should have left Iraq immediately [after the war].” When the Marines invaded last month, Mohammed was one of hundreds of neighborhood men and teenagers (including many former Iraqi soldiers) who answered the call to arms from local mosques. “How would you feel if French soldiers or Arab soldiers invaded your city, and killed your friends, your family?” he asks as he and his brother serve us kebab, pita and tea on the richly carpeted floor of a cousin’s spacious home. “We fought in the streets, in the houses, on the rooftops. Even the Marines’ tanks and helicopters could not stop us. My closest friends died beside me.” He says that his mother and his brother were shot dead by Marine snipers, and he scoffs at the portrayal of insurgents as “terrorists.” Mohammed and his comrades tell us that the prisoner-abuse scandal wasn’t a surprise. “We knew what was going on inside Abu Ghraib all along,” claims one young fighter with a badly burned hand. “You Americans can’t do anything good.”

Shots in the dark

I like making predictions to myself, which is especially satisfying due to my intense and general cynicism. Prediction: I think Israel will use the recent deaths of eleven Israeli soldiers as an excuse to step up the conflict and fully annex the Gaza Strip. This could also remove some attention from the US torture scandal.