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“The bombings are continuing by land and by air; the clashes are becoming heavier.” This was a Turkish military source quoted in a story today in the Guardian, referring to his country’s incursions into northern Iraq yesterday to pursue militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Hundreds of soldiers and rebel troops have died since fighting began last week. (I previously discussed last December’s attack by Turkey into Kurdistan.)
The Turkish offensive, which has been green-lighted by the Bush administration, was criticized by the Iraqi government. “We know the threats that Turkey is facing, but military operations will not solve the PKK problem,” a government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, told The Guardian. Meanwhile, Kurdish anger towards the United States is growing. “We are their friends and we thought we were their allies,” the newspaper quoted Muhammad Qadir, a shopkeeper in Irbil, as saying. “We don’t support the PKK, but we are angry that the Americans are allowing the Turks to wage war against our fellow Kurds.”
A former U.S. official who works in northern Iraq emailed me to say:
The United States is being skillfully handled by the Turks, who are dragging the U.S. into a policy disaster in Kurdistan. The Kurds have moved a lot of fighters and equipment quietly into the area, and are prepared to strike the Turks. Massoud [Barzani, the Iraqi Kurdish leader] has issued all the press comments he can to publicly warn that Kurdish patience is gone. The United States is either ignoring the signals or missing them…The Kurds can and will bloody the Turks badly in a fight.
This former official is close to Kurdish officials and hence an interested party, but his previous reports from the ground have been well-informed.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”