Friday, October 12, 2007

Patrick Cockburn: Turkey Threatens The Only Peaceful Part Of Iraq

As we noted yesterday, yesterday, Turkey on Wednesday bombed Kurdish positions in northern Iraq, and preparations are being made to launch a large-scale military intervention there, in the very near future. Such an attack would threaten the only part of the Iraq that is still relatively at peace, according to Patrick Cockburn in The Independent:
An attack into Iraqi Kurdistan by Turkey would be deeply embarrassing for the US because the five million Iraqi Kurds are the only Iraqi community which fully supports the US occupation of Iraq.

Given the rebels' knowledge of the terrain and the lack of roads, the PKK could disappear very easily. The Turks would probably use helicopter-born[e] troops to try to surprise them.

The impact on the region of a Turkish attack, if it takes place, will depend on the extent of the intervention. If it is confined to the mountains on the frontier, where there are only a few villages, then the KRG would be unlikely to respond. Turkish incursions by 35,000 to 50,000 troops in 1995 and 1997 failed to achieve anything. But if Turkish forces advance into important towns and cities then Kurdish troops would be bound to respond.
And if that happens, things could get very nasty very quickly.

You can read more from Patrick Cockburn here (or here), and we'll be keeping an eye on this situation as it deteriorates.