In 1996, Iraqi troops smashed
huge CIA operation in Irbil
Nine years ago, there were interesting scenarios unfolding in Iraq of which the
public never heard or read about. Scant press articles gave conflicting reports
about Iraq supposedly crossing into the Kurdish "safe haven" in contradiction
of U.S. policy.
Clinton decried the troop movement and ordered a missile attack on the south
of Iraq. At the time, a few people asked, "If the troops moved into northern
Iraq, why was the south blasted?" only to receive no reply. The following
is an account from CNN News of September 3, 1996:
President Clinton said Tuesday that the U.S. missile attack against Iraqi
targets was in retaliation for Iraq's assault on a Kurdish-controlled city in
Navy ships and Air Force B-52 bombers fired a total of 27 cruise missiles
at "selected air defense targets" in southern Iraq for about a 45-minute
period beginning midmorning, the Pentagon told CNN.
"Our objectives are limited, but clear," the president said.
"To make Saddam pay a price for the latest act of brutality, and to reduce
his ability to threaten his neighbors and America's interests."
The attack in the south was to divert attention from what was really happening.
First of all, Iraqi troops were not assaulting a city. They were invited by
Barzani, a Kurdish leader, to help him in his fight against a Kurdish rival.
But, it goes much deeper than that.
The Iraqis discovered the largest CIA operation in the world in Irbil, northern
Iraq. Their military incursion included the toppling of the operation. Quisling
Allawi, whom nobody had heard about at the time, was in cahoots with the CIA
to oust Saddam Hussein. The previous year saw terrorist attacks in Baghdad that
killed more than 100 people and they were orchestrated by Allawi. Eventually,
the Iraqis found out that Allawi was behind them and he also was working with
the CIA in Irbil.
When the Iraqis captured the CIA operation, an anxious operative in Jordan
called to see what was going on. He had no idea the Iraqis had overtaken the
operation. When the phone rang, an Iraqi officer picked it up and when he realized
it was a CIA person on the line, he told him, "Gotcha!"
With the capture, the CIA left Iraq. Except for a few individuals over the
following years, this action kicked comprehensive CIA activities out of Iraq
until March 2003.
At the time, the only extrensive account of the incidents appeared in the magazine
that I published, The Alternative. Following is the article, written by Husayn
Al-Kurdi, president of News International.
CIA Coup, Iranian Invasions, Subversion of Kurds Covered Up
What really happened in Iraq
by Husayn Al-Kurdi
(Originally published October, 1996)
Among the items covered up or ignored in establishment media coverage of recent
events in northern Iraq were a failed CIA coup against Iraq and the end of an
extensive covert operation which cost at least $500 million. Events which were
barely reported included invasions of part of Iraq by Iran, which occurred shortly
before Saddam Hussein's Iraqi forces intervened at the behest of one of the
two major political factions in the north of Iraq. An entire CIA operation based
in the area was subsequently sent packing, leaving an estimated $20 million
worth of unspecified military equipment in its wake.
The two CIA-backed and funded factions, the traditionalist Kurdistan Democratic
Party (KDP), led by Massoud Barzani, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK),
an outfit which branched off from the KDP in the early 1960s and led by Jalal
Talabani, had been waging warfare against each other for over two years in their
respective bids to control the proceeds of smuggling and other economic activities,
ferociously repressing the Kurdish population in the process. These two parties
had taken turns selling their services to a variety of regimes while selling
OUT the freedom and rights of the Kurds in the process. Besides killing over
2,000 of each other's supporters over the last two years, they have attacked
a variety of Kurdish critics and people of differing persuasions, also victimizing
the Kurdish population in the "safe haven" area through extortion
and intimidation. They have collaborated with Turkish forces in attacking the
Kurdish liberation movement directed against Turkey and led by the PKK (Kurdistan
PUK leader Talabani has openly courted Israel, the United States, Saudi Arabia,
Iran, Saddam Hussein and Turkey, entering in a variety of "understandings"
with all of these states in recent times. Such machinations have earned him
the sobriquet "Everybody's Agent." The PUK has also earned a reputation
for ruthless killing — a car bomb reportedly planted by supporters of
the group killed over 70 people at one blast in a KDP-inhabited area of Zakho
in February, 1995.
Starting in late July, the PUK began facilitating the entry of Iranian armed
forces into internationally recognized Iraqi territory, at first to attack and
disperse a Kurdish organization resisting the Iranian occupation of one part
of Kurdistan and then joining the PUK in its attacks against its long-time rival.
The Iranian incursion penetrated up to 150 miles over the internationally-recognized
Iran-Iraq border. It was only after the PUK was joined by Iran in attacking
the KDP, and after the KDP leader pleaded unsuccessfully with the United States
government to intervene to halt the PUK/Iran onslaught, that Massoud Barzani
turned to Saddam Hussein to send his forces in to assist the KDP in gaining
the upper hand. The United States responded by letting matters take their course
in Iraqi Kurdistan. The U.S. government and President Bill Clinton made a show
of hitting Iraqi locations away from the north with 44 cruise missiles in early
September, just after the Iraqi-KDP victory over the PUK and its Iranian backers.
Only a month before, a CIA coup had been exposed and smashed by Saddam. The
coup involved senior Iraqi military officials, and may have been the last try
in a failed campaign to oust Saddam but retain a regime amenable to international
financial interests. The bombing and bluster were used as a coverup and a distraction
from the failed coup and the liquidation of an entire major destabilizing operation
conducted by the CIA in northern Iraq since the establishment of the "safe
haven" area following the U.S.-led war against Iraq in March, 1991. The
headquarters for the operation was in Zakho, with close coordination among U.S.,
Turkish and PUK/KDP "assets." The "Iraqi National Congress"
was the "oppositional" front serving the CIA's purposes. The only
parties in the "Front" with any substantial following were the two
News media got a glimpse of the CIA operation when two helicopters were mistakenly
shot down by "friendly fire" in April, 1994. Among the 26 people on
board who lost their lives were 15 U.S. citizens, including operatives from
the CIA and military intelligence services, three Turkish officers, one French
person, two British employees, and five Kurdish passengers. The establishment-dictated
"spectrum of opinion" which predominated in the news media centered
on the question of "how hard to hit and punish Saddam Hussein and Iraq."
Of course, the "safe haven" was praised as a "noble humanitarian
mission" to "save the Kurds" in most media accounts of the crash.
The wisdom of U.S. policies of intervention in the Middle East, involving such
acts as the war and the sanctions-induced genocide directed against the Iraqi
people, were not called into question. The failed CIA coup and the Iranian invasions
of Iraq were barely mentioned anywhere in mainstream or even alternative news
analyses of the situation. Instead, administration officials propounded ad mixtures
of aggressive bluster and "new speak" — now everything is a
"humanitarian mission" and/or in the interest of "peace and stability"
as they bomb and destabilize their way to their objectives. The lapdog press
dutifully regurgitated the "public relations gruel they were fed by government
spokespersons. Visible and vocal opposition to U.S. actions were scanty in the
United States, whose "progressive community" has been notoriously
unforthcoming in condemning aggression of non-Israeli Middle Eastern people.
The extent of U.S. taxpayer participation in the CIA operation in Iraq and
Kurdistan has only recently been confirmed: a minimum of $100 million in CIA
expenditures plus an additional officially acknowledged $350 million in what
is termed "humanitarian aid" in "Operation Provide Comfort,"
actually a cover for destabilizing operations against Iraq and the use of the
CIA puppet Kurdish gangster formations against more politically responsible
and determined Kurdish elements waging their struggle for freedom and liberty,
particularly against Turkey, which occupies over half of Kurdistan and has been
conducting a systematic genocide against the Kurdish population under its sway.
Kurdish Museum Director Vera Beaudin-Saeedpour, a highly-respected campaigner
for Kurdish rights residing in Brooklyn, New York, accurately identified the
role that the PUK and KDP were assigned to play when she noted that, "Protected
by the allies, the Kurds of Iraq will be the buffer to keep 25 million Kurds
Turkey had over $7 billion of its foreign debt forgiven as a condition of participation
in Desert Storm in 1991, and gets close to $1 billion in "official"
U.S. foreign aid yearly, a figure surpassed only by two other major CIA government
players in the region, Israel and Egypt. Turkey has signed two major military
cooperation pacts with Israel this year as the two belligerent states come on-line
as the overseers for the New World Order in the Middle East. Turkey is occasionally
touted as being more "progressive" and "democratic" than
Iraq and other countries in the region. Actually, many more Kurdish people have
been killed by government design by Turkish forces than by the other states
occupying or "administering" Kurdistan. Kurds did not even enjoy very
basic cultural rights, such as the right to use their own language and to give
their babies Kurdish names, until the 1990s. Under the ferocious rule of Kemal
Ataturk, over one million Kurds were killed. Most of Turkish-occupied Kurdistan
was closed off to outsiders until the 1960s.
Turkish-occupied Kurdistan today resembles El Salvador during the 1980s. Imprisonment,
torture, group punishment, summary executions and the destruction of whole towns
and villages are carried out routinely by the Turkish state. In one two-year
period, roughly corresponding to the calendar years 1993 and 1994, some 1,390
Kurdish villages were evacuated and destroyed by the Turkish army, two million
Kurds were displaced, with some five or six million pushed out of Kurdistan
toward western Turkey and more than 2,000 Kurds were killed by death squads.
At least 22,000 have died during the PKK-led struggle against Turkey, which
started in 1984. During an airborne offensive against Kurds around Mr. Djoudi
in 1989, Turkey was reported to have used napalm and defoliants, along with
toxic gas and nerve gas.
Kurdistan, occupied by Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria, and rich in oil, water,
gas and other precious resources, constitutes over 30 million people and a highly-defined,
very recognizable geographical area, has been denied self-determination by New
World Order policy makers and their precursors dating back to the aftermath
of World War I. At that time, Kurdistan was divided among various states set
up in the area. Kurds have suffered genocide at the hands of a variety of regimes
ever since. Council on Foreign Relations author Gidon Gottlieb pronounced the
"multinational corporation" line when he said, "The Kurds can
at best hope for an internationally protected, internationally guaranteed, and
internationally recognized autonomy within nominal Iraqi sovereignty,"
necessitating the repudiation "of any claim to the territory and provinces
of Turkey, Iran, and Syria." Of course, Gottlieb adds the proviso that
the Kurds "will have to demonstrate their effective control of Iraqi Kurdistan"
by aiding Turkey in its drive to "restrain the violence of the Kurdish
PKK rebels in Turkey."
Colonel Richard Wilson, in charge of the "safe haven," claimed, "These
mountains can't sustain a viable country. To survive, Kurds must be part of
a larger government." The mania for "larger government" entail
suffering and pain for both Kurds and Americans, who are being swayed by what
disguises itself as "their" government to underwrite policies they
would not condone if they were informed of the facts of the situation. To correct
the situation, Americans must mobilize to resist the drive for "big government"
at home, in part by curtailing the odious activities of the entity that poses
as "their government" abroad.