Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Another inconvenient view

A Kurdish Iraqi, writing in the Jordanian paper AlGhad, says the Turkish government is looking for a way to balance the expected diminution in American military cooperation against the PKK (an expected result of the "withdrawal" agreement with Baghdad). And he says in order to do this, the Turkish strategy will likely be to try and strike a deal directly with the Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq (with its American leanings), rather than with the Iranian-oriented government in Baghdad. This is so, even though the Kurdistan regional government has been demanding "recognition" as its price for that kind of cooperation against the PKK.

The writer, Sami Shroush (apparently a former minister in the Kurdish regional government), stresses how helpful the Americans have been to the Turks in recent months, for instance with intelligence about PKK guerilla movements and tacit okays for bombing raids. He notes that after January 1, approval for these raids would have to come from Baghdad, an unlikely event. More promising would be some kind of agreement between Turkey and the Kurdistan regional government. Hence the appeal of the latter kind of agreement, even if it means "recognition".

He concludes his essay:
The fact is that Ankara is looking to ease these fears (about the PKK continuing to use Iraqi Kurdistan as a base) by moving in the direction of normalization of its relationship with the Iraqi Kurds, and entering in to a period of discussion and cooperation with the Kurdistan regional government. It is true that the Kurds are demanding as their price the official recognition of their regional government, in return for protecting the border areas from the illegal activities of the PKK. But according to a number of journalistic, political and academic reports in Turkey, it would be best to balance the absence of American military forces with a political and military alliance with Iraqi Kurdistan.

And it seems probable that Washington has advised Ankara to move in this direction. Even so, in spite of this conviction that the best option available will be to prioritize improving cooperation with the Kurds (American) in order to stabilize the situation on their southern border, over cooperation with Iraqi government (Iranian)--[over and above this conviction] there are still big concerns in Turkish political circles about the implications of the post-agreement situation.
This writer's basic idea is that post-"withdrawal", Turkey will probably prioritize direct negotiations with the Kurdistan regional government, over negotiations with Baghdad, and morever, it seems likely that is what the Americans have advised them to do. This would be an important feather in the Kurdistan regional government's cap, and it would seem to be consistent with the Biden plan, something the Washington suits seem to have banned from polite conversation; just as it is inconsistent with their preaching about American exercise of "strategic leverage" in the service of pan-Iraqi political reconciliation in Baghdad. But of course the polite thing right now seems to be: keep your mouth shut, the Iraq story is over.


Blogger badger said...

completely off-topic my own post, but someone on another blog noticed Blagojevic's bail ($4500) was less than the current e-bay bid for an Illinois senate seat ($5100). Something wrong there.

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:47 PM  

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