Tuesday :: Dec 18, 2007

Kurdistan simmering

by Turkana

If there is any small chance of Iraq surviving as a single nation, the Kurds will have to participate. This is obvious to anyone with even the most simplistic understanding of Iraqi history and politics, which doesn't seem to include the Bush Administration. As I wrote, yesterday, amidst continuing political instability in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Bush Administration just helped Turkey bomb it. As Ken Silverstein reported, for Harper's, there would be blowback. It's begun.

From the BBC:

The head of Iraq's Kurdish regional government has refused to meet the US secretary of state because of the US position on Turkish cross-border raids.

Massoud Barzani had been scheduled to meet Condoleezza Rice in Baghdad, but withdrew "as a sign of protest" after several villages were bombed on Sunday.

Some 2000 Kurds are reported to have fled their homes, because of the Turkish operations. The Kurdistan Regional Government's Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, said:

It is unacceptable that the United States, in charge of monitoring our airspace, authorised Turkey to bomb our villages.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad denies involvement, but admits it was informed of the operations. Given that the U.S. controls the region's airspace, that answer comes across as just a tad disingenuous.

And just in case anyone thinks this is about to end, Reuters today reported:

Turkish troops crossed into northern Iraq overnight and carried out a small-scale operation against Kurdish separatists, the Turkish army said on Tuesday.

The raid was launched after a group of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants was spotted near the border, and the troops "hit a heavy blow" at the PKK after advancing a few kilometres into Iraq, a statement on the army Web site said.

The Kurds see it a little differently:

"We condemn this incursion. Turkey wants to transfer the problem onto the territory of Iraqi Kurdistan," said Fouad Hussein, head of Barzani's office.

The invasion of Iraq has been a disaster on so many levels, but the most dangerous possibility has always been that the war will expand, and there are so many ways, and so many directions, in which that could happen. This is one of them. Even if this violence doesn't escalate, the political reaction of the Kurds does not bode well; and who can blame them for that?

Stay tuned.

Turkana :: 4:16 PM :: Comments (7) :: Digg It!