ISRAELIS REPORTEDLY TRAINED KURDISH FORCES

The BBC reported on September 20 that it has obtained evidence that Israeli commandos have been training Kurdish forces in northern Iraq. The BBC television program “Newsnight” showed footage of Israeli forces providing military training to Kurdish soldiers, and presented an interview with an unidentified former Israeli soldier who said the Israeli forces’ mission was to train Kurdish troops to protect the new international airport in Irbil. He indicated that the commandos had entered Iraq from Turkey in 2004 and that they also trained 100 peshmerga fighters for “special assignments,” including how to shoot militants in a crowd. Israeli security experts who spoke with the BBC said the Israeli forces could not have been active inside the Kurdish region without the knowledge of Kurdish authorities. “Newsnight” also revealed that an Israeli security firm, Interop, was among the main contractors providing security fencing and communications equipment for the Irbil airport. Kurdish officials refused to comment on the report and Israel denied any involvement, but the Israeli government said it would open an inquiry into the BBC report.

www.strategicanalysis.i-blog.gr Analysis

Israel has a vital interest in supporting the Kurds in order to check the balance between Iran and Syria as well as keeping a close eye on the Iraqi developmets. The Kurdish guerilla now-The ones of PKK- are eager to take a foothold in Southern East Turkey where the majority of the Kurdish population lives in distress mostly. So it is not surprising to read and hear reports on that issue. The delicate point is the Israeli-Turkish “Axis” as some have calle dthe special relation between those countries from 1995 and onwards. The 2003 Iraqi war has changed significantly the relation between them since the Kurdish independence movement is getting stronger and Israel wants to benefit from it by establishing enough political resources in that state and thus being able to excert pressure in Iran and Syria. The most possible outcome would be for the turbulence in Turkey to continue until a sort of autonomy-Limited albeit- is granted to the Kurdish populous of that country.

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