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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
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word “hallway” must have a nautical name. Why didn’t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet he’d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands they’d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you don’t belong to, that doesn’t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isn’t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members — because ocean life pays better than money! — who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Rank of Detroit among major U.S. cities whose residents give the largest portion of their income to charity:
A South Dakota researcher concluded that only scant blood spatter results when chain saws are used to dismember pigs.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature