The Stable North of Iraq

Things may be a disaster between the Shi’ia and the Sunnis in the south of Iraq, but at least the Kurdish north is stabilized. Think again (Traynor, Ian, “Upsurge in Kurdish Attacks Raises Pressure on Turkish Prime Minister to Order Iraq Invasion,” The Guardian, 9 October 2007):

Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, came under intense pressure last night to order an invasion of northern Iraq following the deadliest attacks for over a decade on the Turkish military and civilians by separatist Kurdish guerrillas. Mr Erdogan, who has resisted demands from the Turkish armed forces for the past six months for a green light to cross the border.

Mr Erdogan, who has resisted demands from the Turkish armed forces for the past six months for a green light to cross the border into Iraqi Kurdistan, where the guerrillas are based, called an emergency meeting of national security chiefs to ponder their options in the crisis, a session that some said was tantamount to a war council.

A Turkish incursion is fiercely opposed by Washington since it would immensely complicate the US campaign in Iraq and destabilise the only part of Iraq that functions, the Kurdish-controlled north.

And Turkey isn’t the only country with a Kurdish problem. Iran has a Sunni Kurdish population in its northwestern region with which it has engaged in numerous clashes. Iran is already operating in Iraq in support of the Shi’ia and both Iran and Turkey have conducted simultaneous attacks on Kurdish rebels and a few cross-border artillery attacks.

I would say that the notion advocated by Democrats of drawing down U.S. forces in Iraq to maybe 50,000 massed primarily in the Kurdish north is no solution.

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