Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Turkey Bombards Northern Iraq

By Cernig

According to the AP, the Iraqi government are saying Turkey has bombed and shelled villages in Northern Iraq.
BAGHDAD (AP) - The Iraqi government said Turkish artillery and warplanes bombarded areas of northern Iraq on Wednesday and called on Turkey to stop military operations and resort to dialogue.

The claim occurred amid rising tension and Turkish threats to strike bases of the Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK, which has been launching attacks against targets in Turkey from sanctuaries in Iraq.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told The Associated Press that the morning bombardment struck areas of the northern province of Dahuk, some 260 miles northwest of Baghdad.

Col. Hussein Kamal said about 250 shells were fired into Iraq from Turkey. He added that there were no casualties on the Iraqi side of the border.

``We have received reports that the Turkish government and the Turkish army have bombed border villages. The Iraqi government regrets the Turkish military operations of artillery and warplanes bombing against border cities and towns,'' al-Dabbagh said.

``The Iraqi government calls for ceasing these operations and resorting to dialogue,'' he said, insisting that Iraq wants ``good relations with Turkey.''
While Bush and his cronies insist on staying the course in Iraq, there are several external factors that might decide their course for them by the year's end. A long-brewing Turko-Iraqi war is just one of those. Another is Maliki's precarious perch which might be upset soon by a coalition of Iraqi politicians from across the sectarian spectrum determined to have the UN withdraw the mandate for U.S. occupation in December.

The Bush administration may call their strategy many different titles as they work through several powerpointed documents designed to suggest they are reacting to events while not doing any such thing. But the correct title for the White House strategy is "The Nero Option".

Update Eric Martin performs his usual excellent analysis work:
one of the rationales given by those who support maintaining a residual force of some 50,000 soldiers in Iraq for several decades is that such a vastly reduced contingent could prevent a larger regional conflict (in addition to performing its training and al-Qaeda hunting duties). Someone has to explain to me how 50,000 troops are going to be able to accomplish these rather prodigious feats when 160,000 appear unable to greatly alter the tragic arc of events.

Still waiting for that explanation.

Also, can we stop talking about Kurdistan as a viable destination for any such ill-advised residual force? We would be putting ourselves in a massive lose-lose situation - stuck, hapless, in the middle of a conflict that would pit a NATO ally against our potential patrons (and part of the country we just "liberated"). If we side with our NATO allies, the Kurds won't be the most hospitable of hosts. Yet if we side with the Kurds, we would alienate a country that is far more essential to a wide range of US interests - beyond its NATO status even.

Neither side would really accept neutrality either, especially inaction from such proximity. This counts moreso for the Turks, who we would be relying on to provide routes of re-supply for our Kurdistan garrisoned troops (already a shaky proposition given Turkey's likely anger at our decision to move north regardless). If not for the Turkish routes, the re-supply would have to run through Iran (uh, not gonna happen), or up through the entire expanse of Iraq (where we would have just left due to the difficulty of occupation).

Not to mention the fact that our presence would likely inspire the Kurds to overreach in connection with controversial issues like the status of Kirkuk - and even PKK-related activities in Turkey and/or Iran.

Come to think of it, it would be such a colossally bad decision that I fully expect the Bush administration to make it. Kurdistan, here we come.

No comments: