Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Turks Shell Kurdish Rebels in Iraq

So the Iraqi government reports at least:

The Iraqi government said Turkish artillery and warplanes bombarded areas of northern Iraq on Wednesday and called on Turkey to stop military operations and resolve the conflict diplomatically.

The claim occurred amid rising tension and Turkish threats to strike bases of the Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK, which has been launching attacks against targets in Turkey from sanctuaries in Iraq.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told The Associated Press that the morning bombardment struck areas of the northern province of Dahuk, some 260 miles northwest of Baghdad.

Col. Hussein Kamal said about 250 shells were fired into Iraq from Turkey. He added that there were no casualties on the Iraqi side of the border.

This is pretty much not a positive development. The Turks are very upset about Kurdish rebels allegedly using Kurdistan as a staging point for attacks into Turkey. But the Kurdish rebels have legitimate grievances against the Turkish government, and their Kurdish brothers in Iraq are naturally sympathetic. Kurdistan is also the only thing approaching a success story that we have out of the mess that is Iraq, and it's in our interests (and it's also the right thing to do) to protect the Kurds as best we can. Proponents of full-scale withdrawal argue reasonably that no purpose can be served by leaving any U.S. troops in Iraq, but there is a possibility that they could serve a role in deterring Turkish incursions and preserving Kurdish autonomy and security. We should consider saving that which we can in Iraq, and our troops may have a role in protecting the Kurds and stabilizing northern Iraq.

1 comment:

adam said...

I agree completely. In the limited mission, along with training and logistical support for the Iraqi army and counterterrorism operations against Al Qaeda, we need a residual force to help prevent for foreign invasion. I can't believe the Turks are doing this at all.