[Marxism] Sy Hersh on Israel and the Kurds

Johannes Schneider Johannes.Schneider at gmx.net
Mon Jun 21 04:40:16 MDT 2004

As June 30th approaches, Israel looks to the Kurds.
Issue of 2004-06-28
Posted 2004-06-21
In a series of interviews in Europe, the Middle East, and the United 
States, officials told me that by the end of last year Israel had 
concluded that the Bush Administration would not be able to bring 
stability or democracy to Iraq, and that Israel needed other options. 
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s government decided, I was told, to minimize 
the damage that the war was causing to Israel’s strategic position by 
expanding its long-standing relationship with Iraq’s Kurds and 
establishing a significant presence on the ground in the semi-autonomous 
region of Kurdistan.
Israeli intelligence and military operatives are now quietly at work in 
Kurdistan, providing training for Kurdish commando units and, most 
important in Israel’s view, running covert operations inside Kurdish areas 
of Iran and Syria. Israel feels particularly threatened by Iran, whose 
position in the region has been strengthened by the war. The Israeli 
operatives include members of the Mossad, Israel’s clandestine 
foreign-intelligence service, who work undercover in Kurdistan as 
businessmen and, in some cases, do not carry Israeli passports.
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.
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.
Senior German officials told me, with alarm, that their intelligence 
community also has evidence that Israel is using its new leverage inside 
Kurdistan, and within the Kurdish communities in Iran and Syria, for 
intelligence and operational purposes. Syrian and Lebanese officials 
believe that Israeli intelligence played a role in a series of violent 
protests in Syria in mid-March in which Syrian Kurdish dissidents and 
Syrian troops clashed, leaving at least thirty people dead. (There are 
nearly two million Kurds living in Syria, which has a population of 
seventeen million.) Much of the fighting took place in cities along 
Syria’s borders with Turkey and Kurdish-controlled Iraq. Michel Samaha, 
the Lebanese Minister of Information, told me that while the disturbances 
amounted to an uprising by the Kurds against the leadership of Bashir 
Assad, the Syrian President, his government had evidence that Israel was 
“preparing the Kurds to fight all around Iraq, in Syria, Turkey, and Iran. 
They’re being programmed to do commando operations.”


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