Iraq said Turkish forces shelled a mountain stronghold of Turkish Kurd rebels in the north of the country on Sunday, a day after it urged Turkey to use diplomacy to resolve rising tensions in the region.
While residents say Turkey shells the area almost daily, the latest attack came days after Turkey moved tanks to its border and speculation mounted that Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s government is planning a military incursion. ~Reuters
The Iraqi prime minister on Saturday urged Turkey not to stage a military incursion into the northern Kurdish territories, saying his government will not allow the relatively peaceful area to be turned into a battleground. ~The International Herald-Tribune
Maliki is a funny fellow. His government “will not allow” it? If anyone is going to try to stop the Turks’ incursion, it will be peshmerga militiamen, who do not really answer to Maliki. Of course, any direct clash between Turkish forces and our allegedly allied Iraqi Army would be a fairly disastrous outcome. (The only good news might be that the Iraqi Army will probably be so ineffective that it will break and run as soon as it engages the Turks.) Any direct clash between Americans and Turks would be something of a nightmare scenario. If for no other reason, avoiding any such conflict is an excellent reason to get American forces out of Iraq. We cannot be allied with two or three mutually hostile forces all at the same time without either shooting at our allies or betraying one or more of these allies. There is no way for America to come out of this looking terribly good. Getting out before we have the irretrievable situation of Americans killed by Turks or Turks by Americans seems imperative.
By the standards applied to Israel and Lebanon last year, the Turkish air force should be allowed to bomb Baghdad at will and target whatever infrastructure that remains in Iraq. This double standard might irritate the Turks, but they should appreciate how double standards have worked for them in the past. After all, when they were brutally suppressing a Kurdish insurgency and tens of thousands were killed, Washington was not terribly concerned. Later, once Iraq was out of favour in Washington, its suppression of Kurdish revolts was taken as evidence of the supreme malevolence of the Hussein regime and one of the reasons why he should be deposed. Some more excitable people spoke of “genocide” and the plight of the Iraqi Kurds was suddenly a cause celebre. Turkish Kurds, of course, didn’t matter quite as much to most of these same pro-Kurdish enthusiasts, since Turkey was a “democratic” country and an ally. It’s amazing how easily “genocide” can become a reasonable respone to internal security problems…provided that your government is on the right side internationally.