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The ground war in Iraq Has Started?
by BBC
Wednesday Dec 4th, 2002 1:17 PM
Wednesday, 4 December, 2002, 11:01 GMT
'Clashes' in northern Iraq

Fierce fighting has erupted in northern Iraq between the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Muslim militants believed to be linked to al-Qaeda, it is reported.
Fighters from a group known as Ansar al-Islam (supporters of Islam) took two PUK hilltop positions near the city of Halabja, close to the Iranian border, according to the Associated Press news agency.

The agency quotes a PUK commander as saying 20 of his fighters were killed or injured in the fighting.

Battles between the PUK and Ansar al-Islam have intensified over the past year in eastern parts of Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq.

The Ansar are largely made up of Iraqi Kurds belonging to several Islamic groups which merged late last year.

They are also believed to include Arab fighters formerly based in Afghanistan, and thought to have links with the al-Qaeda network.

No rest

The Ansar fired heavy artillery as they charged the Kurdish positions, PUK commander Sheikh Jaffar Mustafa told AP.

He said the Ansar had succeeded because the PUK had sent some of its forces on leave for the Muslim holiday of Eid el-Fitr - which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

"They took advantage of the situation," Mr Mustafa said.

"Everywhere in the Muslim world people usually stop fighting for Ramadan," he added.

The PUK controls the eastern part of the autonomous zone in northern Iraq. Western areas are controlled by its rival, the Kurdistan Democratic Party.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

The US gave gas to Hussein to kill Kurds, now the US is trying to kill even more by making the Kurdish portion of Iraq the front lines in a new war. Turkey opposed the war until now since Turkey wanted to make sure teh Kurds couldnt come out free. The second Gulf War will be a Kurdish Holocaust.

"On Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis said Turkey would open its airspace and air bases to the U.S. military - "
by Radian
Wednesday Dec 4th, 2002 2:04 PM
Iraq made its own gas from chemicals and equipment imported from western europe and the us. Its easier to make it locally than ship it. Your logic sucks Pakistan gave nuclear technology to N. Korea so if N. korea nukes s, korea its pakistans fault? Same as the fatasses who want to sue mcdonalds, always someone elses fault...Blame the evil empire. If kurds die it will be like how they normally die at the hands of their muslem peace loving brothers.
by NYT
Wednesday Dec 4th, 2002 2:18 PM
Reagan Aided Iraq in War Despite Use of Gas
By Patrick E. Tyler
New York Times | International

Sunday, 18 August, 2002

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 -- A covert American program during the Reagan administration provided Iraq with critical battle planning assistance at a time when American intelligence agencies knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war, according to senior military officers with direct knowledge of the program.

Those officers, most of whom agreed to speak on the condition that they not be identified, spoke in response to a reporter's questions about the nature of gas warfare on both sides of the conflict between Iran and Iraq from 1981 to 1988. Iraq's use of gas in that conflict is repeatedly cited by President Bush and, this week, by his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, as justification for "regime change" in Iraq.

The covert program was carried out at a time when President Reagan's top aides, including Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Defense Secretary Frank C. Carlucci and Gen. Colin L. Powell, then the national security adviser, were publicly condemning Iraq for its use of poison gas, especially after Iraq attacked Kurds in Halabja in March 1988.

During the Iran-Iraq war, the United States decided it was imperative that Iran be thwarted, so it could not overrun the important oil-producing states in the Persian Gulf. It has long been known that the United States provided intelligence assistance to Iraq in the form of satellite photography to help the Iraqis understand how Iranian forces were deployed against them. But the full nature of the program, as described by former Defense Intelligence Agency officers, was not previously disclosed.

Secretary of State Powell, through a spokesman, said the officers' description of the program was "dead wrong," but declined to discuss it. His deputy, Richard L. Armitage, a senior defense official at the time, used an expletive relayed through a spokesman to indicate his denial that the United States acquiesced in the use of chemical weapons.

The Defense Intelligence Agency declined to comment, as did Lt. Gen. Leonard Peroots, retired, who supervised the program as the head of the agency. Mr. Carlucci said, "My understanding is that what was provided" to Iraq "was general order of battle information, not operational intelligence."

"I certainly have no knowledge of U.S. participation in preparing battle and strike packages," he said, "and doubt strongly that that occurred."

Later, he added, "I did agree that Iraq should not lose the war, but I certainly had no foreknowledge of their use of chemical weapons."

Though senior officials of the Reagan administration publicly condemned Iraq's employment of mustard gas, sarin, VX and other poisonous agents, the American military officers said President Reagan, Vice President George Bush and senior national security aides never withdrew their support for the highly classified program in which more than 60 officers of the Defense Intelligence Agency were secretly providing detailed information on Iranian deployments, tactical planning for battles, plans for airstrikes and bomb-damage assessments for Iraq.

Iraq shared its battle plans with the Americans, without admitting the use of chemical weapons, the military officers said. But Iraq's use of chemical weapons, already established at that point, became more evident in the war's final phase.

Saudi Arabia played a crucial role in pressing the Reagan administration to offer aid to Iraq out of concern that Iranian commanders were sending waves of young volunteers to overrun Iraqi forces. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, then and now, met with President Saddam Hussein of Iraq and then told officials of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency that Iraq's military command was ready to accept American aid.

In early 1988, after the Iraqi Army, with American planning assistance, retook the Fao Peninsula in an attack that reopened Iraq's access to the Persian Gulf, a defense intelligence officer, Lt. Col. Rick Francona, now retired, was sent to tour the battlefield with Iraqi officers, the American military officers said.

He reported that Iraq had used chemical weapons to cinch its victory, one former D.I.A. official said. Colonel Francona saw zones marked off for chemical contamination, and containers for the drug atropine scattered around, indicating that Iraqi soldiers had taken injections to protect themselves from the effects of gas that might blow back over their positions. (Colonel Francona could not be reached for comment.)

C.I.A. officials supported the program to assist Iraq, though they were not involved. Separately, the C.I.A. provided Iraq with satellite photography of the war front.

Col. Walter P. Lang, retired, the senior defense intelligence officer at the time, said he would not discuss classified information, but added that both D.I.A. and C.I.A. officials "were desperate to make sure that Iraq did not lose" to Iran.

"The use of gas on the battlefield by the Iraqis was not a matter of deep strategic concern," he said. What Mr. Reagan's aides were concerned about, he said, was that Iran not break through to the Fao Peninsula and spread the Islamic revolution to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Colonel Lang asserted that the Defense Intelligence Agency "would have never accepted the use of chemical weapons against civilians, but the use against military objectives was seen as inevitable in the Iraqi struggle for survival." Senior Reagan administration officials did nothing to interfere with the continuation of the program, a former participant in the program said.

Iraq did turn its chemical weapons against the Kurdish population of northern Iraq, but the intelligence officers say they were not involved in planning any of the military operations in which those assaults occurred. They said the reason was that there were no major Iranian troop concentrations in the north and the major battles where Iraq's military command wanted assistance were on the southern war front.

The Pentagon's battle damage assessments confirmed that Iraqi military commanders had integrated chemical weapons throughout their arsenal and were adding them to strike plans that American advisers either prepared or suggested. Iran claimed that it suffered thousands of deaths from chemical weapons.

The American intelligence officers never encouraged or condoned Iraq's use of chemical weapons, but neither did they oppose it because they considered Iraq to be struggling for its survival, people involved at the time said in interviews.

Another former senior D.I.A. official who was an expert on the Iraqi military said the Reagan administration's treatment of the issue -- publicly condemning Iraq's use of gas while privately acquiescing in its employment on the battlefield -- was an example of the "Realpolitik" of American interests in the war.

The effort on behalf of Iraq "was heavily compartmented," a former D.I.A. official said, using the military jargon for restricting secrets to those who need to know them.

"Having gone through the 440 days of the hostage crisis in Iran," he said, "the period when we were the Great Satan, if Iraq had gone down it would have had a catastrophic effect on Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and the whole region might have gone down. That was the backdrop of the policy."

One officer said, "They had gotten better and better" and after a while chemical weapons "were integrated into their fire plan for any large operation, and it became more and more obvious."

A number of D.I.A. officers who took part in aiding Iraq more than a decade ago when its military was actively using chemical weapons, now say they believe that the United States should overthrow Mr. Hussein at some point. But at the time, they say, they all believed that their covert assistance to Mr. Hussein's military in the mid-1980's was a crucial factor in Iraq's victory in the war and the containment of a far more dangerous threat from Iran.

The Pentagon "wasn't so horrified by Iraq's use of gas," said one veteran of the program. "It was just another way of killing people -- whether with a bullet or phosgene, it didn't make any difference," he said.

Former Secretary of State Shultz and Vice President Bush tried to stanch the flow of chemical precursors to Iraq and spoke out against Iraq's use of chemical arms, but Mr. Shultz, in his memoir, also alluded to the struggle in the administration.

"I was stunned to read an intelligence analysis being circulated within the administration that `we have demolished a budding relationship (with Iraq) by taking a tough position in opposition to chemical weapons,' " he wrote.

Mr. Shultz also wrote that he quarreled with William J. Casey, then the director of central intelligence, over whether the United States should press for a new chemical weapons ban at the Geneva Disarmament Conference. Mr. Shultz declined further comment.
by asdfasdf
Wednesday Dec 4th, 2002 2:27 PM
In 1987, Hussein intensified his fight against ethnic Kurds for their support of Iran during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, bulldozing some 4,000 villages and using a combination of nerve agents, mustard gas and possibly biological weapons on several towns. The 4 million Kurds living in northern Iraq have a different culture and language from Iraqi Arabs and have fought for independence for decades.

Human Rights Watch estimates that 500,000 to 100,000 people died during the campaign. But the assault on Halabja and other Iraqi repression received little attention from the administration of then-President Ronald Reagan, which backed Iraq over Iran.

"The Western countries in 1988 didn’t do anything against the Iraqi regime, " said Dr. Adil Karem, director of the Halabja Martyrs Hospital.

"Now they use the Halabja issue for their own benefit," he added, referring to Bush’s citing of the incident.
by Dr.Nazad Hawramany
Wednesday Dec 4th, 2002 2:32 PM
Amidst the ongoing efforts about building an alliance under the leadership of United states to effect a regime change in Iraq by all means, and as an Iraqi Kurd, somehow I have unease about the way the representatives of the American administration are trying to depict the post-Saddam build in Iraq, one hears repeatedly the assertions of the territorial integrity of Iraq after any regime change without mentioning the legitimate solution of a federated Kurdistan with the rest of Arab Iraq, the American foreign secretary did not mention any thing about the Kurds in his testimony to the Senate, and the vague condemnations of the Iraqi Dictator who gassed his (own) people without mentioning the Kurds by name and the mixed signals of deputy defense minister during his visit to Turkey lately about the American commitment to the territorial integrity of Iraq without mentioning the Iraqi Kurds with a single word, although its the atrocities that Saddam committed against Kurds which constitute the backbone of the arguments for regime change by the American administration, the silence of the American administration towards the provocative threats of Turkey to intervene in In Iraqi Kurdistan and occupy parts of Kurdistan to prevent any Kurdish entity whether its independency, federation or autonomy as if the Iraqi Kurds belong to the long buried ottoman Dynasty, all these among many other attitudes and statements raises a genuine suspicion that the Americans are probably ready to betray the Kurds again as they have done repeatedly without any remorse in 1975, 1988 und 1991, this time to appease its ally Turkey, a country with shameful history of treating Kurds in north Kurdistan within the boundaries of present Turkey or to comfort Arab nationalists within the Iraqi opposition.

The American administration must learn from its previous mistakes in dealing with legitimate issue of Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan and other parts of Kurdistan, the refusal of the successive Iraqi regimes to recognize the Kurdish aspirations and their resort to military force, assimilation and genocide to suppress the Kurdish uprisings did actually push Iraq into three bloody wars during the reign of Saddam Hussein alone, the internal war against Kurds and Shiites,the Iraq-Iran war and the first Gulf war, the Kurds in Iraq are, really without any exaggeration the key to stability in Iraq, they will continue to be a key to the stability in the post-Saddam Iraq, because they are the only force that have taken real steps to build democracy and a civil society which can serve as a model for future federated Iraq with its ethnic and religious diversities.

The American administration must restrain the Turks and forbid them from threatening and intervening in the affairs of Iraqi Kurdistan, because the Kurds are a democratic force which is grateful for the American protection in Kurdish safe heaven and are looking forwards to cooperate with Americans, as long as they guarantee their legitimate rights of self-determination in post-Saddam Iraq.

The Kurdish political leaders must abandon their good heartedness or naivety and ask the American administration for unequivocal written commitments, which they don't shy to mention to the entire international community and especially to the uneasy neighbors of Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkey. In the Western world spoken words are forgotten quickly,
only written and signed statements can withstand the test of time. Without such commitments and clarity the Future of Kurds and other Iraqis in the Post-Saddam Iraq looks gloomy.

Dr.Nazad Hawramany
by PKK
Wednesday Dec 4th, 2002 3:02 PM
23 Nov 2002 11:48
Turkish soldiers, Kurd rebels clash in north Iraq


TUNCELI, Turkey, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Turkish soldiers have pursued Kurdish separatists across the border into northern Iraq, but the death toll from three days of clashes was not yet clear, a military official said on Saturday.

Members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) told the Mezopotamya News Agency they had killed seven Turkish soldiers and four intelligence agents, but the official denied the army had suffered any losses.

He said "a great number of PKK were killed" after the army used ground forces and helicopters to track PKK fighters in a rugged mountain area bordering Turkey's Sirnak province.

The Turkish army regularly enters northern Iraq, where it keeps a military base, to fight PKK guerrillas who have waged an armed struggle for an ethnic homeland in southeast Turkey since 1984. More than 30,000 people, mainly Kurds, have been killed.

Fighting has dropped off sharply since the 1999 capture and sentencing of PKK commander Abdullah Ocalan, who ordered his followers to withdraw from Turkey into northern Iraq.

Europe-based Mezopotamya, closely linked to the PKK, carried a statement from the separatists saying Turkish soldiers began attacking rebel camps across the border on Wednesday and that fighting continued.