Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Kurdish Hellions, Turks screaming "Rebellion!"

Turkey, apparently feeling diplomatic pressure from all sides, has entered a deal to cooperate with the Iraqi government to confront the Kurdish problem. This has bought both Iraq and the U.S. valuable time to alleviate tensions, but the harsh rhetoric continues.

Most interesting are the words of Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan who flatly stated that “Ceasefires are possible between states and regular forces - the problem here is that we're dealing with a terrorist organization". This is telling because 9 years ago Turkey showed us that a ceasefire with a “terrorist organization” was not only possible, but that they would enter into one. They brokered an agreement with the PKK that brought relative peace to the region, until 2004 when the violence resumed.

This option has been taken off the table because Turkey no longer views such an agreement as viable, and it appears they are not only prepared but downright giddy with the thought of military intervention. By show of hands, who sees a diplomatic resolution to this issue? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller? …it will not work and the tensions in the region will continue to escalate militantly.

Luckily, it looks like Iraqi forces will be utilized to close the PKK camps in the North, possibly with Turkish assistance. This is excellent news for the U.S. because increased involvement in Kurdistan would be viewed with suspicion in Ankara and, to be honest, the U.S. military has more pressing problems further south (and east, and south east too) . However, I am not inclined to believe that Turkish, Iraqi, or a combination of Turkish and Iraqi forces are capable of effectively engaging the PKK. The Iraqi military has consistently underachieved and the Turkish forces have seen only moderate success against the determined rebels. Oh me of little faith.

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