Thursday, April 12, 2007
Rock? Meet Hard Place.
Two new developments on the border between Turkey and Iraq. First, a Turkish general publicly called for cross-border incursions into Iraq to flush the PKK out of their mountain bases:
"An operation into Iraq is necessary," Gen. Yasar Buyukanit said, pushing for permission to raid northern Iraq to fight Kurdish guerrillas despite strong opposition from the United States and Iraq against such unilateral action.
The call raises the pressure on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to take a harder line against Kurdish guerrillas and against the Kurdish leadership in northern Iraq, where the rebels are based and train.
And second, the American press seems to have caught wind of what's going on over there, since the above quote is taken from an article in USA Today. As for what's at stake, here's another quote from the same article:
"The PKK has huge freedom of movement in Iraq," Buyukanit said. "It has spread its roots in Iraq."
But Iraq's government is barely able to control its own cities. U.S. commanders, who are battling the Iraqi insurgency in the middle of the country, are stretched too thin to take on Turkish Kurds hiding in remote mountains near the frontier.
Washington repeatedly has cautioned Turkey against staging a cross-border offensive, fearing that it could destabilize the region and antagonize Iraqi Kurds, who are allied with the U.S.
Of course, that's not entirely true. Iraq's government might be barely able to control its own cities. But the Kurdish authorities haven't had much trouble keeping their own in line. The PKK is just a problem they haven't been too keen on addressing. And we need the Kurds too much to put their feet to the fire on it. So file this one under "Things That Haven't Gone Majorly Wrong In Iraq But Still Could".