Saturday, December 1, 2007

Iraq: An Irresistible Invasion Magnet

Iraq has the mysterious magnet to attract sovereign nations to invade to their own peril. Once America invaded it, surged it and now emptied its own treasury and depleted the military to "conquer" Iraq, Turkey decided mulish roving bands of independence-minded PKK rebels was worth crossing their border into Iraq's Kurdish territory. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's gave a television address to announce his military decision after the Turkish cabinet authorized this a month ago. No politician in the US who voted for the Iraq Debacle or championed it with fake vials trotted out to the UN, is in much of a position to say Iraq is a sovereign nation - Turkey cannot invade. International irony on military parade.

Catastrophic failure of diplomacy results from not building any leverage points for negotiations, so really big armored stuff that kills innocents and terrorists alike is seen as the ultimate final solution. Since this is a hot zone right now, the US's fashionista Secretary of State is globetrotting off to Ethiopia, then Brussels next week. That Middle East diplomatic whatever in Annapolis, MD, last week got a collective yawn around the world while Bush tried to make it the new new cornerstone of his crumbled legacy with Rice's able assistance in appointing a new ME envoy with tons of shiny stars from his military career. During Katrina, Dr. Condoleeza Rice was in New York City stocking up on Ferragamos and attending the Broadway play Sir Spamalot! She's not exactly the FedEx of Diplomacy - getting there on time and stuff. But Diplomacy would have to be a premium tool used by the US first and this is a prime example of a loss of America's moral authority. Turkey is a member of NATO and an ally - sheesh, one can imagine just how US enemies are now trembling and cowering in fear. Osama's latest YouTube submission put paid to that.

Soon after, the Turkish government secured parliamentary approval for cross-border military operations into northern Iraq. The United States and the Iraqi government are keen to avert a large scale incursion.

Ankara nevertheless made it clear that it would be keeping its options open and refused to rule out a military response to any PKK activity.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Ankara and much of the international community, has waged a 23-year armed campign for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey's southeast. The conflict has claimed more than 37,000 lives.

"It is an operation against a very precise target and this is not a surprise given that Turkey has said and repeated (sic) that it was going to crack down on terrorists in northern Iraq," Kuloglu told television channel NTV.

Turkey, for right now a moderate Muslim power, invades northern Iraq under the control of Kurds who now have some of the richest oil deposits in the world plus people on both sides of the border that want an independent state; Kurdistan, carved out of both nations. There are 100,000 angry and anxious Turkish troops sitting on the Iraqi border after losing 12 men in rebel sniper attacks and having 8 captured. Last month, George Bush pledged to share the USA's intelligence (er, um, cough, nevermind...) on the PKK rebels with Turkey. The ironic pancake flipside to that is Turkey has a map courtesy of the US to hit the Kurdish rebels with military strikes after instituting a no-fly zone in the 1990's to protect that area from Saddam Hussein.

Blood and Belief: The PKK and the Kurdish Fight for Independence is from Aliza Markus, an award-winning Boston Globe reporter with 8 years invested in covering the PKK and its origins.

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