Nabi Sensoy, Turkey’s ambassador to Washington, is complaining that Kurdish guerillas staging cross-border attacks into Turkey from Northern Iraq are armed with American weapons that were supplied to the Iraqi army. Sensoy also accused the U.S. of not applying enough pressure on Kurds in the Iraqi government to rein in the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has been fighting for an independent Kurdistan since the 1980s.
Turkish officials are promising retaliatory military strikes against the PKK in Iraq, which will further destabilize the country. Turkey’s military chief, Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, is prodding the government to set political guidelines for an incursion into northern Iraq, if the U.S. and the Iraqi governments cannot stop the cross-border attacks.
Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul confirmed that detailed plans for an incursion into Northern Iraq were in place, and an anonymous senior U.S. diplomatic official tells The Associated Press that military action against PKK rebels in northern Iraq in the days before the July 22 elections in is very high.
Officials with the Pentagon and the State Department said such an incursion would not be “helpful.”
U.S. Brig. Gen. Perry Wiggins, deputy director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also points out that we can do only so much, seeing as “our military’s focus is on Iraq and the situation in Iraq.” In other words, there is no strategic military gain to be made from diverting our soldiers to the relatively calm region of Northern Iraq from Baghdad and other areas that are hotbeds of insurgent activity and sectarian violence.
And, with all due respect to Turkey’s importance as an ally in the War on Terror – an unreliable ally, it should be noted, as its government has repeatedly threatened to cut off access to Incirlik Air Base if Congress adopts H.Res. 106/S.Res. 106 (”the Armenian Genocide Resolution“) – there is little political gain to pissing off our Kurdish allies in the Iraqi government by going after the PKK.
[Editorial Note: Instead of griping about U.S. inaction against PKK rebels in Iraq, Turkey’s ambassador might explain why two Turks, Mehmet Yilmaz and Mehmet Resit Isik, were funneling foreign insurgent into Iraq for al-Qaida operations – until they were killed by coalition forces in late June.]
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