Daily Revolt

December 18, 2007

U.S. Helps Turkey Hit Rebel Kurds In Iraq

Making a quagmire more so. The support for the Turks over the Kurd separatists only complicates an already complicated mess:
The United States is providing Turkey with real-time intelligence that has helped the Turkish military target a series of attacks this month against Kurdish separatists holed up in northern Iraq, including a large airstrike on Sunday, according to Pentagon officials.

[...]Sunday's airstrikes provoked outrage in Baghdad, particularly among Kurdish members of the country's leadership. Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish regional government, which administers three northern Iraqi provinces, called the attack "a violation of Iraq's sovereignty." He blamed the U.S. military, which controls Iraqi airspace, for allowing Turkish warplanes to cross the border. The Iraqi parliament also condemned the attacks yesterday.

The American role in aiding Turkey, a NATO ally, could complicate U.S. diplomatic initiatives in Iraq, particularly efforts to push Iraqi political leaders to enact legislation aimed at promoting political reconciliation.

The cooperation with Turkey also places the United States in the position of aiding a country that refused to allow U.S. forces to use its territory to open a northern front against the government of Saddam Hussein in 2003. It also alienates Iraq's Kurdish minority, whose leaders strongly support the U.S. troop presence in Iraq.

But persistent attacks in Turkey by PKK rebels operating from bases in the Qandil mountains have presented a thorny dilemma for U.S. policymakers. Turkey has threatened to mount a full-scale, cross-border incursion to clear out PKK camps in northern Iraq. That could effectively open a new front in the Iraq war and disrupt the flow of supplies to the U.S. military in Iraq, which receives 70 percent of its air cargo and a third of its fuel through Turkey.

Read entire Washington Post article...

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