[Marxism] Sy Hersh on Israel and the Kurds
Johannes.Schneider at gmx.net
Mon Jun 21 04:40:16 MDT 2004
by SEYMOUR M. HERSH
As June 30th approaches, Israel looks to the Kurds.
Issue of 2004-06-28
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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