Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bad For Business

You'll remember the series of articles I flagged a few weeks ago about tensions on the Turkish border with Iraqi Kurdistan. Since then, according to this Jamestown Foundation article, the Iraqi Kurds have reinforced their side of the border with Peshmerga units re-deployed from Mosul, heavy anti-aircraft machine guns, and armored vehicles:

Although most Turks and Kurds within their respective governments are eager to de-escalate and to resolve many issues through dialogue, a dangerous momentum may be building that both Turkey and the Iraqi Kurdistan region may not be able to resist if actions by both sides remain unchecked.

Fortunately, there remain significant disincentives to war on both sides. For the Turkish, the European Union accession process, which exposes them to a high level of scrutiny. And for the Kurds, the fact that the status quo works greatly in favor of their strategic calculations.

In addition, as the article points out, Turkey has found another method of exerting pressure on the Kurds. Namely, by re-routing their commercial traffic from the Kurdish frontier to Syria, thereby denying the Kurds of significant revenue in the form of collections tolls.

Which might go a long way to convincing them to crack down on the PKK, as Turkey has been demanding. Because as Laura Rozen's recent Mother Jones article made clear, more than anything else, the Kurds are businessmen.

Posted by Judah in:  International Relations   Iraq   

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