The Turkey-Iran Pact

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A hot war has been raging in northern Iraq since mid-July, and despite the casualties and the drama, it has gone virtually unreported by the international media.

The war was launched on July 16 by Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) troops in an effort to crush Iranian rebel Kurds who have sought refuge in the 12,000 foot high Qandil mountains that form the border between Iran and Iraq.

It began with cross-border shelling by Iranian artillery, air strikes, and several attempted ground incursions into Iraq by Iranian forces. But within ten days, NATO-ally Turkey openly joined the fray.

On whose side did Turkey fight? On behalf of the secular, pro-Western Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK), whose bases in northern Iraq were under assault from the Islamist regime in Tehran? Think again.

The Turkish military sent 20 tanks into Iran at the invitation of the Iranian regime to support the flailing Iranian attack against the rebel Kurds. They also dispatched 300 Turkish Special Forces troops to Iran to conduct intelligence missions into the Qandil mountains using Heron surveillance drones purchased from Israel.

PJAK leader Rahman Haj Ahmadi told me that the Turkish drones were the most effective weapon the Iranian military used against them. “This limited our ability to move, but it didn’t matter much since most of our positions were underground,” he said.

The Turkish incursion marked just the latest instance of Turkey’s ongoing military and strategic alliance with Iran, an alliance that ought to give NATO allies pause, starting with the United States.

I first learned of the Turkey-Iran military alliance while on a reporting trip to PJAK bases in the wild mountains of northern Iraq four years ago. As we gazed up at an Iranian Revolutionary Guards base set atop the 12,000 foot peaks of the Qandil mountains, a PJAK guerilla told me that Iran and Turkey had established a joint military headquarters in Urmiyeh, Iran, to coordinate their military strikes against the Kurds.

“The goal of the Iranians is to drive us from the border area,” rebel leader Biryar Gabar told me. “They want to turn this area into a no-man’s land, so they can use it to smuggle weapons and Islamist guerillas into Iraq to fight the Americans.”

Despite all the help from Turkey, the IRGC has suffered a dramatic rout at the hands of the PJAK fighters, who repeatedly attacked IRGC bases inside Iranian Kurdistan in response to the Iranian attacks on their bases inside Iraq. Except for the initial onslaught, in which eight IRGC were killed, the IRGC troops were badly mauled.

According to accounts in the local media, PJAK fighters killed more than three hundred IRGC troops during the clashes. They even managed to kill the commanding general of IRGC troops in the region. We know this because he was given a public burial in Qom along with several other officers. The Iranian state-run media acknowledged they had been killed in the fighting.

After two weeks of running battles, PJAK was claiming victory. “Now everyone can see how powerful PJAK has become,” Ahmadi told me. “For Kurds, Qandil has become like Mecca, a sacred place. This is where we have shown our strength.”

Earlier this month, PJAK announced a unilateral ceasefire and called on the Iranian regime to negotiate their demands for Kurdish rights. PJAK is seeking to establish a democratic federation in Iran, not a separate state or separate province for the Kurds, as PJAK secretary general Rahman Haj Ahmadi told me when we met in Stockholm this summer.

The response from the IRGC was almost immediate. Instead of a ceasefire, they launched repeated shelling of PJAK bases and villages inside Iraq, killing three fighters, including the deputy commander of all PJAK forces. PJAK claimed its forces killed 107 IRGC fighters and destroyed two tanks, 5 vehicles and 1 bulldozer in counter-strikes against IRGC bases inside Iran. The shelling continues even as I write these words.

During the latest round of fighting, PJAK showed off NATO-issue weapons they claimed they had taken from dead Iranian troops, including Western-made night vision goggles, GPS systems, anti-tank missiles, and BKC guns. PJAK has claimed for some time that Iran’s ally Turkey has provided NATO weaponry to Iran that has been turned against the Kurds, in direct violation of the North Atlantic Treaty.

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  • turkp

    Blah Blah Blah.. You are making propaganda of an organization that is considered as terrorist by your government. It is no different than making al Qaida propaganda. You are giving comfort to a terrorist organization, that makes you a terrorist.

    • john

      nice try, now go an get ready to see if you can back your talk when the HAMAS attempts another stupid flotilla,,,crickets are chirping…

    • Attila the hun

      The truth is that The Turks have been killing Kurds since Ataturk. If there is one group of people who deserve their own state are The Kurds. Once Obama pulls out of Iraq all bets are off. If you turkp think Turkey will survive in her current form you and all the Turks are dreaming Sooner than latter Turkey along Iraq will disintegrate.

      • turkp

        Kurds are equal citizens of Turkey. Palestinians have been ethnically cleansed from their own lands.

        Kurds are by and large happy in Turkey. Kurds in Iraq would rather join Turkey. When Kurds joined Turks to fight the Brits, it was Churchill who ordered the first gassing of Kurds. Before necons conned the clueless potus to shock and awe defenseless iraqis, it was turks who have been protecting iraqi kurds. if US leaves we will still protect them.

        turkey will not remain in its current form. it will get larger. israel on the other hand is on its way out. with UN recognition, it will be charged for palestinian genocide. that will kick start the disintegration.. the only unknown in the equation is whether the current fascist government will survive to see the beginning of the end

  • SHmuelHaLevi

    Allow me to add some other items that Turkey has that also could end up in Iran.
    During the Cold War days NATO and the US in particular pre positioned 90 nuclear bombs in Turkey. B61 gravity type, Strategic not tactical.
    Our research shows that the bombs are still stored at the INCIRLIK Turkish Air base, under NATO and US SUPERVISION. Securit details secure the bombs. About 400 operatives.
    Unconfirmed information says that the bombs are defused.
    The Security detail is hardly enough to stop as small number of determined Turkish or Iranian or others troops.
    It would take months to re set the ALL the bombs following US NA Protocols.
    It would take a couple of weeks to do it using suicide teams.
    Why are the bombs still there?

  • Sam

    Believe it or not IRGC is part of Iranian army and is responsible for almost all borders. The idea of making a Kurdish vatikan in part of Iran, Iraq and turkey is basically ridiculous and meaningless. I suppose the aim of such an state is weakening the current countries. I like to draw you attention to this fact that there are a variety of ethnic tribes in Iran like Kurds, Turks, balouch, mazani, fars, arab and so forth which the all side by side are forming Iran. personally i won’t get surprised if the author come with the idea of forming a country for each iranian authentic tribes. It really naive to believe in such a terrorist groups like Pejak or PKK (both are just the same) and I think after what happened to the other us made terrorist group(al ghaede) even these group can not trust west’s alliance.

    I think it’s time to for the author to put the enimity aside and open his/her eye open to the real matters in the region, if you have problem with Iranian government and you should not welcome every sanity and criminal acts which are against them. People hurt in these clutter and at the end they should pay for your political games.

    • john

      funny that I have friends that are Zoroastians and they will tell you different of this Iranians of all stripes side by side as one united Iran. Time for you pro-Iranian colors to be fully displayed in your failed arguements

    • ami

      just see the author 's name "Timmerman " another jew Zionist who wants to make hero out of bunch of mountaineer terrorists who are killing their own citizens regardless if it is turkey or Iran to these Zionist supported terrorists, is all about money to destabilize steadfast run government of Iran and Turkeye

      • Julian Tepper

        Timmerman, as you no doubt know, is not Jewish.

        And, in case you are wondering, I am.

        Julian Tepper
        Placitas, NM/Bethesda, MD

      • kiumars

        Ami you are right, he is zionist.
        In 1995, Timmerman founded the Foundation for Democracy in Iran with Peter Rodman, Joshua Muravchick and Iranian opposition expatriates to attempt to topple the Iranian government.

        Read the full biography on Wiki.

        • ami

          Kumarz, that lady is a shill herself, so what your are a jewish we have jewish ,kurds,fars lur , arab … in Iran with equal rights. i prefer Ahmadi over these PNAC zionists who plan to dissect the ME for better control and plundering their wealth. these policy makers in US are delusional about Persians. we are not taliban . you cant beat these ragtags. ahmadinejad represents mind set of 80 million Iranians and united to defend their counry against evil doers. you may corrupt a minority uneducated like kurds, but majority in Iran are more sophisticated than these avg. American rednecks sheeple who are getting rear ended by the minority 2% zionist war mongers who are leading them to destruction

    • sam000

      You said
      " there are a variety of ethnic tribes in Iran like Kurds, Turks, balouch, mazani, fars, arab and".

      I am Iranian, and I have never heard about the existence of an ethnic called "mazani"!

  • Flipside

    Revisionist history. The “poor Kurds” aka “Saddam Hussein’s own people,” people that prominent neoconservative Jews in the Bush war cabinet told us were innocents being gassed to death by Hussein-Hitler, but really were fighters in the PKK terrorist group who slipped into Turkey to kill our Air Force Intelligence field director. Poor nationalist socialist PKK aka PJAK, and poor, corrupt and feeble Nouri al Maliki, puppet dictator of Iraq, when prominent neoconservative Jews wanted Ahmed Chalabi, who would have swindled Iraq properly.

    • UCSPanther

      Once again, you fail with your whacked out conspiracies, blaming the Iraqi Kurds for the ethnic cleansing and attempted genocide that they suffered at the hands of the Hussein regime.

      Now if that ain't revisionism, of which you are the one doing, I don't know what is.

      • Flipside

        Whatever. The recent cancellation of US drone shipments to Turkey were fight the “poor Kurds.”

  • StephenD

    Knowing the Kurds have stated openly that when the US pulls out they will be decimated, I have serious misgivings as to what should be our roll. I know at least our roll should be to tell the world we know what Turkey is doing and the penalty is "they must be punished" (as they call for punishment of Israel). We should cease all aid in every arena toward that country. It threatens our friend Israel with impunity. Why we would continue to be silent is beyond me. Now they assist Iran in their attacks on the Kurds and we stay quiet. Money still talks…even with these war lords. We should make it cost them

    • Orhn

      bring it on then, Turkey & Iran vs US, lol you can't even fight in Afghsanistan, let alone against those two regional key playing Nations..

      • StephenD

        Did I call for war? I merely said we ought to stop funding them or providiing any other aid. What didn't you get from the words I wrote?

  • msmii

    Quietly Obama does a few things in relation to Syria

    Let’s recap the situation;
    For six months Baher al-Assad has been slaughtering sunni muslims
    At month five, Obama has said next to nothing about Syria while touting his success in Libya
    In contrast, he signed an executive order banning financial transactions, business deals between the US/US Persons and the government of Syria
    Yesterday the State Department tells US Citizens to leave

    Is this plausible deniability?

  • ze-ev ben jehudah

    Two,of the so many,genocide loving dictators who think they can concour
    the world by killing all the Jews living on this planet,have fallen in love with
    each-other like beelzebub loves satan,and the rest is looking the other way.

  • Dan

    There is no bias in this story at all. (sarcasm intended)

    • StephenD

      Am I "Biased" to call for light instead of equal amounts of darkness? Of course there is bias. To side with truth tends to lead away from falsehood. Do you have something against the truth? If there are falsehoods presented, name them. If not we shall consider you weighed in the balance (which you like) and found wanting.

  • Omar

    Dear Mr. Timmerman

    I have The Greatest respect for FP and its writers and contributors. I read it everyday and almost entirely from the beginning to the end. I have been doing so for some years now. I consider me as a conservative secular, Pro-Western but first and foremost, Pro-Israel Kurd.
    Needless to say, I am certainly not a fan of either Erdogan or Ahmadinejad.

    I don't intend answer to or point out the every and each horrible, misguiding facts, direct mistakes and misjudgment in your post here and now, because lack of time and room.

    But Mr. Timmerman! Turkey and Iran are not allied anymore. Turkish generals and military were not and are not deployed in Urmiya neither they cooperate with Islamic Iran Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran). But PJAK have had several offices in Urmiya and other Kurdish cities until recently. This is a well known knowledge to every Kurd in all four parts of Kurdistan especially in the Iranian part. Nobody can deny this fact. PJAK has always had free passage into and out Iranian Kurdistan. PJAK is not and has never been an independent Iranian Kurdish party. It has right from the very beginning been the PKK's wing in Iranian Kurdistan. Overwhelming of their members are not even Iranian Kurds. They are Turkish Kurds, PKK members at the same time. PJAK IS PKK. No more no less.
    Now, I am not saying that PJAK and Iranian regim love each other. Not at all. But they share both two main and very important agenda ; Nomber one, The Kurdish Regional Government ( KRG ) in Iraq – the very first experience in the Kurdish People history that has som support and sympathy from West – must not succeed at any price. This experience is a deadly dangerous one both to Turkish Sunni Brotherhood Islamists and Iranian Shia Islamists. They both have significant Kurdish minorities. Number two, Turkey has after many years turned his back to Syria and want to become The Islamic super power in the Middle East and lead the "Arab Spring" to an entire Brotherhood region. Of cours it is not acceptable to Iranian Shia Muslims. Mullahs in Iran know very well that after Syria it is their turn and they too know very well that without Syria and Hizbulla as forefront they have no protection anymore and is in direct confrontation with West. So if Turks can create danger to Iran they too can put Turkey in a fragile situation by helping and arming PKK. To me as a Kurd, it is a very simple equation. It is not acceptable but understandable. In fact it is very tragic. The whole kurdish history is about central governments in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria helping the Kurds ( in the other side ) against own Kurds. As simple as that. PKK (there were no PJAK then) repeatedly announced at the time of Iraqi Freedom when almost entire Kurdish People all over the world supported US and UK, that they were ready to send 100 000 (!) armed guerrillas to confront "Americans imperialists". Since then PKK and now PJAK too have done everything in their power to topple the KRG. They have continuously and recklessly claimed that Barzani ( KDP ) and Talebani ( PUK ) are traitors and and Americans spies. Every single Kurdish individual or Kurdish party who is not with them are against them, this is their policy. PJAK CAN NOT AND DOES NOT EXIST WITHOUT PKK. If they just could explain how it is possible that PKK leader in Imrali prison in Turkey since 1999 is allowed to meet his attorneys twice a week and yet freely send messages to PKK members how to do or not to do, what policy they must or must not adopt, announces ceasefire or breaking it? Isn't he high security prisoner in "racist, fascist, Islamic, bla bla" Turkish regim?
    I am deeply sorry that non Kurdish readers of this post get a very incorrect and false description of the real situation on the ground in the region and more important about the Kurdish People in Iran. I really expect more sufficient and correct posts at FP in coming numbers.

    Your sincerely
    Kurdish Origen Swedish citizen

    • freeloader Omar

      Omar you are a moron and terrorist by supporting pjak and pkk , that is why you are in Sweden ? Free loader scumbag taking it from Swedish tax payer under guise of political asylum act

      • Omar

        Am I supporting PKK and PJAK?
        Do you honestly have read my comment? I really don't think so. You must have certainly reading someone else's comment, not mine. Try to read MY comment again. Just try, but read it carefully and slowly.

        GOOG LUCK

        • swedesee

          "I consider me as a conservative secular, Pro-Western but first and foremost, Pro-Israel Kurd. "
          may be you are not a terrorist but definitely a Kissa$$

      • DuncanIdaho

        Your reading comprehension is so bad I know who the real moron is. What, is Omar’s post too many words for you freeloader?

        • freeloader Omar

          Whole freaking Kurdish terrorists including the no. 1 terrorist head of pkk and its offspring pjackass are living in my country and freeloading on us as a real citizens and all are leeching under pretext of political hardship in Iran, ducanidahooo. since you are ignoramus and moron too

        • Jojo

          ducanidaho, it seems your the one being retard . once he said he is pro- Israeli Kurd , he undersocores as a terrorist supporter and you are the one has problem with reading.

    • Kiumars

      Omar, what do you expect from Kenneth R. Timmerman who founded the Foundation for Democracy in Iran in 1995 to topple the Iranian government? Would a person that wants to topple a regime say anything good about that regime?

      By the way, I am sorry that you are pro-Israel because I expect someone who has suffered from injustice, homelessness, occupation and all other things that you mentioned in your post, would sympathize with other people that are suffering the same injustice.  
      Yours truly,

      I am a Shia Iranian Kurd that loves his religion and country and Iranians that defend Iran and fight the enemies of Iran wherever they live on this planet.

      • sam000

        you prove that we have the traitors inside the KURDS, TOO.

        Without the existence of the traitors and spies among the Kurds, how do you want the regime to continue his massacres in Kurdistan?

  • sam000

    & Iraqi government who is Pro-Ahmadinejad are anti KURDISH Autonomous government of ERBIL (Capital of Iraqi Kurdistan).

    Iran is shelling permanently the Iraqi Autonomous Kurdistan.

    Turkey is very well known to be the EXTERMINATOR of the KURD.

    If the FP readers want to understand who is who,
    Iran of the Mullahs = German NAZI
    Turkey = Austria of WWII, the birth place of Hitler.

    Now, in this kind of HELL for the kurds, you can find all types of poor kurds.

    What Timmermen has omitted is that all the Kurdish parties of Turkey and Iran are listed terrorist in the FTO list of State Dept.

    This FTO list of USA provides the best pretext for Turkey and Ahmadinejad to genocide this poor people.

    The only LEADER who were beneficial and Bienfaiteur of the KURDISH PEOPLE were GWB and General Gardiner.
    General Gardiner was the first Iraq Commander for only 3 weeks.

    General Gardiner is always on service in Pentagon.

  • Winston

    Regime change in Iran will stop all this madness

    • SAM000

      Absolutely right.

  • Anamah

    Evil is running free there…

  • 9-11 Infidel

    No doubt "the enemy of my enemy is still my friend in the ME. The Kurds seem to be everyone's enemy, except for maybe the US and Israel. Gee, why is that? Kurds getting "even" with the Turks and Iraqis and Mahdi-ists for one massacre of their people after another? Or is all the consternation really that jihadist swine consider the Kurds to be apostates and Kulaks worthy of a dirt nap?
    If anyone in State had any brains (Not on Hillary's watch), they'd ally themselves with the Kurds and The Green Party and take down the Mahdi-ist dogs in Tehran. And Turkey? Looks like they have decided to sleep with al-Shatain. Sowing to the wind must be a brisk business (no pun) in Islam these days.

  • Mark

    The problem is the U.S. involvement in anything to do with Islamic regimes.You can not and never will be able to rationalize,communicate or settle differences amoungst fanatical ,pro-violence,anti-American,religiously totalitarian groups.They want no help unless they need weapons,financing or are losing.They have no intention of creating democratic governments,peaceful societies or stable governments .They hate each other,other religions and countries.They use ignorant governments like the US as scapegoats to blame for their aggressions.
    Stop funding them,arming them and giving them credit for being human.You can not beat insanity with gunsmoney or logic.Only Israel has earned assistance and respect.

    • orhn

      lol Isreal killed 31 US Sailors at the USS liberty attack… Passing US technology to Chinese for $$.. Getting American aid and support at the jewish lobby..US citizens taxes are going to waste.. how worse can it get ? should i go on? you americans are really dumb sometimes, did you even noticed that your economy is shrinking ? wake up

  • KKKK

    with all due respects, FrontPage, i believe that the Kurds should align with America and with Israel to protests this growing dangerous alliance of Turkey-Iran-Iraq

  • Fred Dawes

    Next stop the third world war.
    "People get your butt to some good place for your kids".

  • Jim

    Dictator and the dictator

  • Ben

    To all Muslim commentators.Kurdes,called terrorists never fight against women and children and even against Turks.They kill Turkish militaries.We know the methods of Muslim terrorists who not only murder but tortured civilians.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    Will NATO members wake up to the “new” Turkey in their midst, intent on advancing the Islamist cause, even to extent of providing military support to the Iranian regime?

    In America surely not until Obama has been defeated in the upcoming elections.

  • Lujack Skylark

    Iran and Turkey are in the Ezekiel 38:2-6 list of nations. Check out this prophecy at Rapture Forums and don’t send your soldiers to fight with the Russians.

  • sam000

    The politics in the region is under 2 strings;
    1 – Islamism of the Iranian Mullahs
    2 – USA

    If one side is loosen, the other side will pull up.

    Turkish politics follows this principal of 2 strings.

    During GWB Turkey was leaned towards Israel, because GWB was rough on Iran.

    During Obama Turkey changed direction and leaned towards the Mullahs, because Obama was very soft towards Ahmadinejad and Obama appeases the Mullahs.

    That is why the people believe strongly that USA is the reason of the Islamism of M.E.