Friday, May 18, 2007
Hope The Brakes Don't Give Out
Here's a pretty decent summary of what's driving the tensions, and what's at stake, on the border between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan. Something we often forget:
Cracking down on radical Kurdish elements, however, would be difficult for the K.R.G. [note: Kurdish Regional Government] to pursue since it is far from a unified governing force. The K.R.G. itself is divided between the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (P.U.K.) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (K.D.P.), with each group commanding its own separate peshmerga forces. If the K.R.G. were to attempt to move against its own, it could result in the fracture of the Kurdish movement and the return to the violent infighting that has characterized recent Kurdish history in northern Iraq.
I'd add that the two major dissuasive influences on a Turkish military intervention, ie. US influence and EU membership negotiations, have both weakened considerably of late. The first due to Turkey's sense that America has not taken its regional interests to heart, or seriously pressured the Kurds to rein in the PKK. The second because of the growing perception (one reinforced by Sarkozy's election) that despite years of negotiations, promises, and Turkish concessions, the EU is going to welch on admitting Turkey after all.