Let’s You and Him Fight

While Turkey prepares to invade Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish separatists who been raiding Turkey from bases in Iraqi Kurdistan:

ANKARA, Turkey – Syria’s president said Wednesday that Turkey had a right to stage a cross-border incursion into northern Iraq to chase separatist Kurdish rebels as the Turkish parliament began debating the issue.

Turkish leaders have stressed that an offensive against the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, would not immediately follow the motion authorizing the incursion.

Hours before the vote, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called his Turkish counterpart asking that diplomacy be given a chance before Turkey sends troops across the border to pursue separatist Kurds in mountain hide-outs, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.

Al-Maliki said Iraq was “determined” to end PKK activities on its territory and had given “strict instructions” to the regional Iraqi Kurdish administration in Iraq’s north on the issue, Anatolia said.

Al-Maliki asked that Iraq be given more time and said it he was sending a delegation to Turkey to discuss cooperation, Anatolia said.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded by saying Turkey could “not tolerate losing any more time,” the agency reported.

the national Iraqi government has said it doesn’t have much interest in dealing with the “Kurdish rebels” themselves (or, presumably, in preventing the Turks from invading):

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — The Iraqi army has no plan to deploy its soldiers near the rugged Turkish-Iraqi border to take on the Kurdish rebels targeting Turkey, and Iraqi authorities are satisfied with the efforts by the Iraqi Kurdish regional authorities to deal with the militants there, a top Iraqi military official told CNN

“It’s a mountainous area, difficult terrain and our troops are not trained for that,” said Lt. Gen. Nasier Abadi, Iraqi Armed Forces deputy chief of staff.

Iraqi officials have been taking all-out diplomatic efforts to keep Turkey from carrying out cross-border assaults against Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK rebels, in northern Iraq.

U.S. officials fear such a Turkish move would undermine the stability of the American-backed government in Baghdad and jeopardize the supply lines that support U.S. troops in Iraq.

In an agreement signed in late September, Iraq has agreed to crack down on the PKK, which the United States and the European Union consider a terrorist organization.

But Abadi said it is in the interest of the Kurdish Regional Government to deal with the Kurdish rebel problem because of its economic relationship with Turkey.

“They can’t afford the PKK to spoil it,” he said.

The problem with this view is that it presumes that the Kurdish Regional Government values its trade with Turkey more than it does the PKK, a far from sure proposition. Can the Kurdish Regional Government tolerate Turkish incursions into Iraqi Kurdistan? Apparently, the Iraqi national government thinks it can.

Who’ll be the losers in an armed conflict between Turkey and the PKK in Iraq? My picks: the Kurds and the U. S.

Who’ll be the winners in an armed conflict between Turkey and the PKK in Iraq? My picks: the Turks and Iraqi Sunni Arabs.

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