Kurd Fighter in Iraq Destroys US-Made Turkish Helo With Russian-Model Missile

There’s no past in Washington. There is no sense that actions taken today will exist past today, even though in reality they often echo for decades.

A video making the rounds online shows a fighter from a Kurdish group known as Kurdish Workers Party, or, more commonly, the PKK. Using what appears to be a Russian model shoulder fired portable air-to-air missile, the fighter is shooting down a Turkish military, American-made Cobra attack helicopter.

The attack helo is made by the United States and supplied to NATO ally Turkey.

The missile is of Russian design but could have been made and could have come from nearly anywhere in Eastern Europe. However, such weapons were flooded into the Middle East after the United States deposed Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. Many such weapons simply entered the black market when the Libyan army more or less dissolved, but many appear to have been sent into the Middle East by the CIA as part of a broader anti-ISIS strategy. Some say one of the functions of the CIA station overrun in Benghazi was to a facilitate that process.

Turkey and the United States official consider the PKK a terrorist organization. Many believe the U.S. surreptitiously supplies the PKK weapons in their fight against Islamic State. Turkey is a US NATO ally who is engaged in active war against PKK.

The US supports Kurdish forces in their fight against Islamic State. The PKK is not officially supported, but anyone who believes the PKK and the “official” Kurdish militias are not coordinated parts of the same entity is either a fool or works in Washington. Or both; the Venn diagram is nearly two overlapping circles.

The primary motivator of the Kurdish fight against ISIS is to push them out of northern Iraq and Syria to help create an independent nation of Kurdistan. This would dissolve the nation now known as Iraq. One of America’s stated goals is to preserve a unified Iraq.

The US supports NATO ally Turkey in a fight against Islamic State. Turkey allows the US to fly drones and other aircraft out of its air bases, but also allows ISIS foreign fighters to cross its border into Syria one way, and ISIS oil to reach market by crossing the border the other way.

If you can understand how all of those things can be simultaneously both true acts of the foreign policy of the United States, you are not a fool and you do not work in Washington. Or both; the Venn diagram is nearly two overlapping circles.

Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement during Iraqi reconstruction in his first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. His latest book is Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99 Percent. Reprinted from the his blog with permission.

4 thoughts on “Kurd Fighter in Iraq Destroys US-Made Turkish Helo With Russian-Model Missile”

  1. The reality of the Kurdish situation is actually quite complicated. There has always been overlap between the two main powers in the Kurdish movement, Abdullah Ocalan’s PKK and the Barzani clan’s Peshmerga, but there has also always been a great deal of contention. In the nineties it even came to blows between the PKK allied PUK and the Peshmerga in a civil war. These tensions persist and its more then just a tribal rivalry.
    The PKK has long maintained ties with Syria and Russia but has remained consistent when it came to who there real enemies were- Turkey, Iraq and NATO. They have also always maintained a clear, if evolving ideology that has grown from the New Left style Revolutionary Marxism popular in the seventies to a unique take on modern anarchism formed through Ocalan’s pen pal friendship with famed American anarchist/ecologist Murray Bookchin. The PKK and there allies in the Syrian YPG now favor a form of stateless autonomy that could afford Kurdish independence without Disintegrating the Middle East. In Syria they call this stateless society Rojava.
    The Barzani clan has always been more or less for sale. They are more of a mob family then a political movement and have done business with everybody and anybody willing to pay, The US, Saddam, The Shah, Israel, whoever. The Barzani Peshmerga continue to push for old school Kurdish Nationalism which would stir the kind of regional chaos only the US and Israel could benefit from.
    My theory is that the US is secretly attempting to usurp the YPG/PKK/PUK factions by training and arming Peshmerga and sending them into Rojava as a kind of Trojan horse to keep Ocalan’s stateless experiment from succeeding and spreading throughout the region thus making it impossible for the American Empire to co-opt traditional nation states with there lawyers, guns and money. Just a theory. But I’m still rooting for Rojava.

    1. Barzani

      I read that as ‘Barzini’ at first, apparently they are similar characters.

      Interesting stuff, I know so little about Kurdish politics aside from the fact that some of them are tentative allies of the US government and are in conflict with the Turks. Ocalan’s stateless society is very interesting to me; from what I have read Afghanistan is and has always been a ‘weak’ state which is what makes it so hard to conquer. A Kurdish state would only come into being at the will of the US/Israel/Saudi/Turkey and wouldn’t last as they would probably decided they wanted to carve it up for themselves like they are trying to do to Syria.

    2. Thats a great comment! Personally I love Erdogan because he is no ones puppet. I’m Syrian and like most Syrians we love a rich cultural Syria but the Kurds are like Israel, they want a state just for them at the expense of others! Israel is investing allot with kurds hoping to get access to oil!

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