Turkish operation on Kurdish rebels in Iraq is matter of timing: minister

File photo showing Turkish soldiers on patrol. (Reuters)
Updated 04 June 2018
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Turkish operation on Kurdish rebels in Iraq is matter of timing: minister

ISTANBUL: Turkish forces are waiting for the right time to carry out an operation in northern Iraq’s Qandil region where high-ranking members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) are located, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Monday.
The militant group frequently carries out attacks on Turkey from its camps in the Qandil mountains, a remote region of Kurdish-run northern Iraq.
“Qandil is not a distant target for us any more. Right now, a lot of positions have been seized there (by Turkish forces), especially in the northern Iraq region,” Soylu told the Anadolu state news agency in a televised interview.
“Timing is what is important for us right now.”
Turkey has conducted frequent air strikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq. It previously carried out cross-border operations in the region in the 1990s and 2000s.
“Qandil will be made into a safe place for Turkey, no one should doubt that,” Soylu said.
The PKK has waged an insurgency in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast since the 1980s and some 40,000 people have been killed in clashes. It is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.


Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US ‘terrorist’ acts

Updated 23 April 2019
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Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US ‘terrorist’ acts

  • President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps a foreign terrorist group
  • Tehran reacted to the designation by naming the US Central Command a terrorist organization

DUBAI: Iran’s parliament passed a bill on Tuesday requiring the government take firm steps to respond to “terrorist actions” by US forces, state TV reported, retaliating against Washington’s blacklisting of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist group, in an unprecedented step that drew Iranian condemnation and raised concerns about retaliatory attacks on US forces.
Tehran reacted to the designation, which took effect on April 15, by naming the US Central Command (CENTCOM) a terrorist organization and the US government a sponsor of terrorism.
“The bill authorizes the government to take firm and retaliatory measures against terrorist activities of American forces that endangers Iran’s interests,” TV reported.
“The government should use legal, political and diplomatic measures in response to the American actions.”
Highly loyal to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the IRGC is a powerful force which controls much of the Iranian economy and wields political influence in the country’s faction-ridden clerical establishment.
The semi-official Tasnim news agency said some 168 lawmakers out of 210 present at the parliament voted for the bill.
Tensions have been on the rise between Tehran and Washington since last year, when Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers and reimposed sanctions on the country.
In recent years, there have been periodic confrontations between the IRGC and US military in the Gulf.
The new chief commander of the IRGC Hossein Salami, appointed after the US blacklisting, has warned in the past that Iran could use its cruise and ballistic missiles and drones, mines, speedboats, and missile launchers in the Gulf area to confront the United States.
The Trump administration, which has taken a hard line on Iran, said in a statement on Monday that the president has decided not to reissue waivers in May allowing importers to buy Iranian oil without facing US sanctions.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the heightening economic pressure on Iran showed that Washington was in panic.
“Escalating #EconomicTERRORISM against Iranians exposes panic & desperation of US regime — and chronic failures of its client co-conspirators,” Zarif Tweeted on Tuesday.
A commander of Iran’s IRGC said on Monday that Tehran would block all exports through the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf if Tehran is barred from using the waterway, where a fifth of global oil consumption passes on its way from Middle East producers to major markets.