Too important a story not to front page. This is why I came to the liberal blogs in the first place — to find vital, critical stories like this that no one in our self-censored American news media is either willing or able to tell. Steven D
Do you recognize this organization? It could very well be the spark that triggers the beginning of the end, an incredibly devastating and destabilizing war in the greater Middle East. And you and I are paying for it.
Is that an exaggeration?
I sure hope it is.
The acronymn PJAK stands for Partiya Jiyana Azad a Kurdistanê, (which means “Party for Free Life in Kurdistan). Have you ever heard of the PKK or Kongra-GEL? The PKK/K-GEL is the terrorist (or freedom fighter) organization of Kurds fighting for a homeland in Turkey.
PJAK is the Iranian branch or equivalent of PKK/K-GEL.
First some basic facts about Iran. It is a country of approximately 70 million people. But only about HALF of those people are Persians or what we call “ethnic” Iranians.
Half of the country is ethnic Persian/Iranian but nearly the entire political and power system (theocratic rulers, military, politicans, etc) are ethnic Persian/Iranian.
One quarter of the country is Azerbaijani (or Azeri). About 8% or one in 12 citizens of Iran are ethnic Kurds. If Iran were the United States, there would be 9 million Kurds. Quite a lot! Ethnic Arabs come in around 3%.
What this means in short is that one ethnic group has a slim majority in terms of population but an absolute majority in political power. And while the Kurdish tongue and Kurdish ethnicity is SIMILAR to Iranian/Persian, the Kurds are not the same. And with Iraq being in the condition it is in today, with a completely safe zone for Kurds in the north, the independence/autonomy struggle for Kurds in Iran, Turkey and Syria has intensified.
I bet most people have never heard of PJAK. But here’s an article from summer 2006:
In 2005, according to the Iranian government, PJAK killed at least 120 Iranian soldiers in Iran. In 2006, PJAK may exceed this total. Already, it has launched dozens of attacks both from its camps in Iraqi Kurdistan and from its underground cells in Iran itself.
In one of its latest attacks, PJAK troops killed four Iranian soldiers on May 27 in a clash near the town of Mako in Iranian Kurdistan, the PKK’s Roj TV reported. PJAK, however, regards its military operations as merely complementing its wider effort to build a new Kurdish national identity among the four million Kurds who make up seven percent of Iran’s population. PJAK has around 3,000 troops based in northern Iraq, but claims tens of thousands of activists working inside Iran.
PJAK is quite literally conducting a war on the Iranian state and is launching attacks from bases in Iraq. These guys are fell funded. The governments of Turkey and Iran met last year to coordinate the fight against the PJJ/PJAK.
The AP just ran an informative article on PJAK by reporter Kathy Gannon, who spent 2 days with these guys (which she calls PEJAK):
The PKK and its affiliates are spread through a region of some 35 million Kurds that straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. PEJAK, the newest group, claims to number thousands of recruits, and targets only Iran – a mission which has made PEJAK the subject of intense speculation that it is being used to undermine the radical Islamic regime of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In the Nov. 27 issue of The New Yorker magazine, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh wrote that PEJAK was receiving support from the U.S. as well as from Israel, which fears Iran’s nuclear ambitions and Ahmadinejad’s call to wipe the Jewish state off the map.
PEJAK says it regularly launches raids into Iran, and Iran has fired back with artillery. In October, the English-language Iran Daily, published by Iran’s official news agency, said Iran accused PEJAK of killing dozens of its armed forces in insurgent attacks.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, a longshot Democratic presidential hopeful who claims the White House is overplaying the Iranian threat, last year wrote to President George W. Bush expressing concern that the U.S. was using PEJAK to weaken Ahmadinejad.
What is undisputed is that Turkey is going to hold both presidential and parliamentary elections this year. Turkish politicians and the Turkish people are pushing for some kind of action to curtail PKK/K-GEL attacks from Iraqi bases. See this article about what Turkish PM Erdogan had to say on the matter. The Turkish parliament has been meeting behind closed doors to decide what to do.
PJAK was not created directly by the United States but it seems clear they are benefiting from American assistance, either covertly in the sense of funds/weapons or indirectly by the American’s non-intereference with PJAK bases and training camps in northern Iraq.
I should also state that there are unverified reports that the pilot-less drone spy aircraft being used over Iranian airspace may be either controlled by PJAK or monitoring sites identified by PJAK operatives.
Here’s another article by a western reporter who managed to “embed” with PJAK in their training camps. And here’s an interesting quote indeed:
Most of the freedoms Turkish Kurds have been eager to spill blood over have been available in Iran for years; Iran constitutionally recognizes the Kurds’ language and minority ethnic status, and there is no taboo against speaking Kurdish in public. The PJAK Kurds want more: They want secular democracy, they say, and they want the United States to go into Iran to deliver it to them…
…The Iranian Kurds in Qandil are eager to do the same against Ahmadinejad and the ayatollahs in Tehran–first by working with other Sunni [Arab] minorities to destabilize the central government’s hold on Kurdish areas, then by waiting for Washington to come in and help it make Kurdish autonomy official.
I also found a third western reporter who got to embed in with PJAK. How is it that three western reporters can embed in with an avowed militia whose public goal is overthrowing the government of a neighboring state? It’s because PJAK has no need to hide its bases, goals or objectives. They’re supported by the Kurds in northern Iraq and they are supported by the United States.
Iran has officially declared PJAK a terrorist group yet the United States is doing absolutely nothing to stop or hinder their operations. If that is not deliberate proof that the destabilization of the Iranian government is one of the options “on the table”, I don’t know what is.
The PJAK is just one terrorist group, along with others like the MEK (whose members are ethnic Arab) to the BLA (ethnic Baloch) who are being funded, supported and/or trained by the United States to foment unrest inside of Iran, scout out potential military targets and perhaps sow the seeds for war or a coup.
The goal of the United States is nothing less than complete hegemony over all of the oil-producing regions of the Middle East. And while we sleep and read and eat our breakfasts, these terrorist groups are slipping into Iran to kill and sabotage the internal security of that nation.
In my mind, all I can see are the words “blowback” and “mujahedeen” and “Osama bin Laden”. I sure hope we can avoid repeating this historical mistake but I sincerely doubt it.