Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 4 Issue: 17


On Friday, June 1, the Turkish military announced that plainclothes troops operating inside of northern Iraq were harassed by Kurdish forces in the city of Sulaymaniyah and that, as a result, the acts would receive a response “at the highest level” (Journal of Turkish Weekly, June 4). The previous day, Turkey’s chief of staff, General Yasar Buyukanit, confirmed that the Turkish military was prepared for an offensive in northern Iraq if it received orders to deploy (Journal of Turkish Weekly, June 4). In response to the continued escalation, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates again cautioned Turkey against conducting military operations in northern Iraq: “We hope there would not be a unilateral military action across the border into Iraq.” Separately, Turkish newspapers have criticized the U.S. military’s monitoring of Turkish troop formations on the border. According to a May 27 report in Turkey’s Milliyet, columnist Fikret Bila claimed that “U.S. military personnel in Zaho [Iraq] are monitoring the reconnaissance flights of the Turkish military planes in helicopters.” Bila pointed out that there are “serious reports that the United States used drones to gather information along the border and that the drones crossed the border into Turkey from time to time.” Turkish concern over the operations of the U.S. military demonstrate the country’s growing apprehension over the threat from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the possibility of the Kurdistan Regional Government attaining control over the thriving oil city of Kirkuk.


Following the stoning of Doaa Aswad Dekhil, a Yazidi Kurd who converted to Islam, in northern Iraq on April 7, a series of revenge killings have occurred with unidentified gunmen—likely Sunni Muslims—killing unarmed Yazidis (al-Jazeera, May 20). In response, a group of Yazidis announced the creation of a new brigade of Yazidi fighters who will protect their people from attacks by Sunni Muslims (, May 25). According to the report, the new brigade is called the Angel Peacock Troops and its main objective is to “protect the land and sacred places of the Yazidis in Iraq and Kurdistan.” The statement also warns Yazidis not to “sell or rent any property (residential or agricultural) to any person who is not from the area of Ba’shiqi and Bahzani. Anyone who disobeys this order will be severely punished, especially the owners of real estate offices.”


As the stand-off continues between the Pakistani government and the clerics of the Islamabad-based Lal Masjid mosque, prayer leader Maulana Abdul Aziz warned authorities that he had access to more than 10,000 suicide bombers available on the mosque’s grounds, and more than 100,000 across Pakistan (The News, May 31). According to Maulana Aziz, “We consider suicide attacks right in Pakistan in few circumstances, while we consider them as absolutely justified in the context of Afghanistan and Iraq.” He warned that the “suicide attackers are ready to operate anywhere/anytime in Pakistan.” This is the second time that Maulana Aziz has threatened to use suicide bombers against the Pakistani authorities, with the first threat leveled less than two months ago. The Taliban-supporting clerics from Lal Masjid have taken a series of radical measures since January, and the Pakistani authorities have had difficulty countering them (Gulf News, May 25).